Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1 Review

*This review contains full spoilers.  You are warned!*

Greetings, Internet!

This evening I had the "pleasure" of seeing the fourth film in the Twilight "Saga," Breaking Dawn Part 1.  I'd like to begin this discussion by giving a bit of background with regards to my "relationship" with the films (see what I'm doing there??).  I haven't read a single sentence from any of the Twilight books.  To be honest I had never heard of the franchise until the first film was about to release...and after having seen all the films so far I have absolutely no desire to read them.  I saw two of the films at their respective midnight releases and the other two a bit after.  Those two midnights were the absolutely worst movie-going experiences I have ever had.  The first film was, for me, barely watchable.  The second, mildly better.  The third, completely pointless.  The "characters" end up in the same place essentially in both the second and third films.  I think its safe to say that I wasn't necessarily chomping at the bit to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 (BD1)...and now I've seen it.  And frankly, I'm much more than underwhelmed.

I have much to say about BD1 but I'll try to not rant as much as some of my other reviews.  I'll start with the overall plot.  I won't go into explicit detail for the sake of boring you all (I'm sorry...its just so hard to make fun of these films).  The first half of the film deals with Bella and Edward's wedding and all of the "emotions" Bella is going through.  Frankly I was bored and frustrated during this first half.  The pre-wedding set-up was fine, as was the ceremony itself.  They just existed.  They sat there on screen and gave me no real reason to feel any emotion.  I hate to be picky but the couple's vows were too short.  These two are SO in love, yet they rush right to the end.

Jacob shows up late..oh wait, I forgot to mention the part where he childishly runs off into the woods, all angry-like, after receiving his wedding invitation.  He made sure to take his shirt off first.  Why does he take of his shirt?  Why not his pants?  Jeans are more expensive than $5 K-Mart shirts.  What am I missing here?  The Hulk (pardon my French) don't give a fuck when he hulks out.  Shirts, purple pants, the Hulk doesn't care.  Why does Jacob?  He loses a nice pair of jeans, boxers, socks, and shoes every time he transforms.  But those shirts are just toooo valuable to lose.  But I digress.

I thought I said I wasn't going to rant....anyway, they get married and bang.  This "sex" scene was built up to be like, I don't know, earth-shattering.  There wasn't anything PG-13, let alone sexy, about this so-called "sex" scene.  I'd be totally okay showing this to a young child.  They'd probably have no idea what's happening, and the same goes for us.  Barely any moans, definitely no thrusts, but there was stuff getting ripped up.  Which we see in the morning.  Afterwards.  Boooooring.  I was given no reason to think that this was "the greatest moment of my (Edward's) life."  Then Bella mopes some more, as does Edward.  "Waaaa I gave you some bruises now I won't have sex with my wife."  Puh-lease.  Bella didn't give a crap about a wrecked room or some bruises.  She wanted her man (finally).  And now he doesn't want to touch her!  Seriously?!  And apparently Edward has Superman sperm because he magically gets her preggers.  Which isn't supposed to happen.  They rush back to the medical care of Carlisle and the Cullen clan to deal with the pregnancy.

At this point I actually kind of started to care and enjoy some aspects of the film.  Jacob is still moody and whiny.  Edward is still moody and sad.  Bella...looks like death.  The vampire baby is literally sucking the life out of her and by the end of the film she looked so terrible that I thought I was watching Lord of the Rings.  There were definitely plot issues peppered throughout, but the second half was fairly enjoyable.  There were things that I wish would've happened differently, or not happened at all, but it is what it is.  Vampire half-breed is born, Jacob gets all up in some werewolf's faces, and Bella comes back to life just before the credits.  Just as I assumed.  It was alright.  Not exactly terrible..but not really great.  There are worse films out there (Beastly and Jonah Hex, I'm looking at you).

Onto the acting itself.  Its bad.  Its just..so...terrible.  You'd think after four directors and four films the actors would, I don't know, have changed?  When one looks at the Harry Potter series of films the children obviously aged over time but so did their acting abilities.  Every film contained increasingly good acting.  The Twilight series does not.  Kristen Stewart is just as bland as always, Robert Pattinson is just as...bland as well, and Taylor Lautner is just as pouty and whiny as he's ever been.  Obviously these are reflections of the source material, but damn.  The first half of the film is pretty hard to watch in terms of acting.  Line delivery is stilted and emotionless.  I suppose Bella is going through a lot emotionally..getting married, consummating her impending marriage, becoming a bad-ass (oh wait, there aren't any bad-ass vampires in a series about vampires) vampire...but she always just seems to have a blank stare on her face, even when she is smiling.  Look, these characters really haven't changed over the course of the films.  They're pretty much the same they were from the beginning, and unfortunately the acting itself follows suit.  When almost the entire supporting cast is better and more enjoyable to watch than the three leads, you have a problem.  I will say that Taylor Lautner's performance in BD1 was better than his in this year's Abduction.  Definitely no Oscar noms for this crew...

I'd like to touch briefly on the CG in the film.  To be honest I felt that the werewolves looked the best of the series, with a good bit a screen time devoted to them psychically conversing and fighting.  The final showdown of Cullens+Jacob and two cronies vs. all other werewolves was pretty enjoyable to watch.  However, the scene itself takes place at night and thusly the action is kind of hard to follow at times.  The CG throughout the rest of the film, with regards to vampire super-speed, was a mixed bag.  Edward speeding around the bedroom packing up in Rio was pretty good but the rest really wasn't.  There's a nighttime scene just before the consummation which features Edward and Bella in the ocean.  The whole thing was just...odd.  Either I saw the worst implementation of green screen (as Ed's walking to the ocean) in film or that's just how the ocean looks at night.  Overall the CG was passable at best.

I guess that really sums up all my feelings about the film.  I really didn't like the first half at all.  I was bored.  Not invested at all.  After the pregnancy came into play I actually found myself able to have a bit of enjoyment.  Overall, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is not a very good film.  The acting is atrocious, the plot mediocre, and choice of music was very distracting.  Waaaay too many songs with lyrics and not enough instrumental.  Then again when an instrumental piece is introduced its played for too long and drew me out of the experience enough to comment about it.  If you are a Twihard then you'll eat this right up.  This film isn't for me.  Transformers, Star Trek, Batman, Watchmen..those films are for me.  And I understand that.  But at the end of the day not a single Harry Potter film is intrinsically bad.  The same cannot be said for the Twilight franchise.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 was...mediocrely watchable.  And a bit boring.

Bearded Bullet out.

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