First and foremost, it must be acknowledged that Oscar-winning director Bill Condon, who directed and wrote the screenplays for praiseworthy films such as “Gods and Monsters” and “Dreamgirls,” appears to have attempted cinematic suicide.
Agreeing to direct a screenplay adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s hugely successful vampire series is the equivalent to standing on a high bridge above a near frozen river; presenting this latest installment of “The Twilight Saga” is the equivalent to jumping into the icy water.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” starts off in an unusually comedic way. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg made an effort to add in mildly amusing lines, breaking the routine stone-cold drama fans have grown to “ad-Meyer.” Adding to the newfound quirkiness, the highly anticipated wedding scene is immediately shown in the beginning of the film, quickly satisfying the audience’s vampiric matrimonial blood thirst.
Despite the wedding, there is more chemistry between Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) than Bella and her new husband. On that note, when it comes to acting ability, Lautner’s performance hints at the early stages of action star supremacy. For what this film is worth, Lautner not only owned his role as a sharp-tongued, understandingly sensitive yet brawny wolfman, but steps into the male lead as well.
Robert Pattinson, on the other hand, does a great job of playing the role of a fly on the wall. But wait a minute, isn’t Pattinson supposed to play the part of a fearless vampire? Apparently, the “reality” of marriage and pregnancy has freaked his charcter Edward out to the extent that he decided to turn into a meek mute. There is not one line in this film that resonates from him. His delivery is enough to make a viewer stand and shout up at the projection room, “Turn the volume up. I can’t hear what Edward is saying.” For the majority of the scenes, he just stands there as the pale elephant in the room, no offense to elephants.
Stewart, also known as “the sun” because everything seems to revolve around her, plays the exceedingly naive Bella, who quite honestly doesn’t change much in the film except for the fact that she gets quite ugly, exceedingly fast. Credit is owed to Stacey Panepinto and the rest of the makeup masters on the set; this is easily her most gruesome role ever. Bella quite rapidly turns into the antithesis of her namesake and doesn’t fail to candidly stun viewers with her remarkable hideousness.
As for the rest of the cast, the most one can say is they’re all present. And they seem to be nicer to each other, because surprise, surprise, they’re one big happy family now. Thus, dozens of family tradition related clichés are scattered throughout the film, hoping to present themselves as valid reasons for teens to give into immature selfishness and grow up too fast only to discover their biggest “I told you so” nightmares are coming true.
The main nagging annoyance throughout the film is there is no sense of passage of time. For example, viewers don’t realize the lethargically “happy” couple have been on their honeymoon for half a month until a calculatedly filmed box of tampons indicates something is not right. Additionally, blatantly expressed dialogue that literally spells it out for viewers incapable of translating what is obviously implied gives an amateur feel to the production as a whole.
A highlight of the film: Anyone wanting to see the most disappointing, shortest, roughest, G-rated missionary sex ever presented on the big screen should definitely go see this film, keeping in mind the emphasis on G-rated, and remembering this film is cautiously rated PG-13 as a whole.
Romanticizing the notion that sex should be physically harmful in an effort to display affection is a terrible idea aimed at young girls. Also, promoting the faux glamorization of teenage marriage, followed by instant teen pregnancy is enough to blame Meyer for corrupting such a vulnerable generation. But then again, all the fans know full well this is make-believe, right? So what is there to worry about?
Ultimately, it’s not about Team Jacob or Team Edward anymore, it’s about Team Condon. Let’s root for him to regain his cinematic brilliance, which he has tragically failed to present in this flaccid film. Will he be able to resuscitate from his fall? Only “Part 2” will tell.