Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
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Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

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Fans of the ‘Twilight Saga’ have finally reached the penultimate film in the series created by Stephenie Meyer. It see ms to be a growing trend to take the last novel and stretch out the movie revues by splitting it into two films. It was recently done with the seventh and final book of Harry Potter and continued here with this set of unusual monsters. One mitigating factor does justify the trend beyond the obvious fiduciary imperatives is the last novel in a series is significantly longer than the previous ones in order to tie up all the loose strings. Splitting it into two parts actually demonstrates a level of respect for the loyal fans that have poured their allowance money into the studio’s coffers. In the case of the ‘Twilight Saga’ Ms Meyer created a rich universe filled with variation on some familiar creatures of the night. She redefined the folk lore and mythology for vampires and werewolves. While this has been done many times before but there was a notable downside to the trend she popularized. Vampires have been sensual predators for decades with their classic formal evening wear and old world charm. In a similar fashion werewolves have been seen as the dichotomy between animal behavior and human sensibilities. The one element that had remained fairly consistent is the brutality of these creatures. No matter how attractive their veneer their ultimate goal is to viscously drain the life from his victims. 0What happened to these perennial monsters in the Myers world is they have been reduced to bad relationship choices. There was a time when the romantic aspects of a story provided a girl the choice between the rugged jock, brainy nerd or leather jacketed bad boy. At most a father only had to worry about teen pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease, not recruitment into the unholy legions of the undead. The choice between the bad and the solid student has been replaced by one between necrophilia and bestiality. One part of this overly romantic view of monsters is the introduction of vampires that sparkle in the sunshine and werewolves with six pack abs and an aversion to wearing shirts. Lon Channey Jr. and Bella Lugosi would be revolted by what the horror archetypes the helped to create have been reduced to; pin ups in a tween girl’s locker.

After three movies filled with more teen angst than I thought possible this fourth installment of the franchise begins at the reception following the long awaited nuptials of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her glittering vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). I guess the vows had to be reworked since that whole death do you part clause is not applicable when the groom has been dead for the better part of a century. Shortly afterwards Bella is visited by her lycanthrope-Native-American friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). This conversation provides a little exposition for the audience. Well, at least those not familiar with the books. Bella and Edward are waiting for their honeymoon before they consummate their union. Proponents of abstinence can rejoice, she may have married a blood sucking vampire but she waited until after the weeding to lose her virginity, way after the wedding by most accounts. The couple retreat to a South American estate owned by the Cullens and the magical night finally arrives. Bell receives some bruises during the act resulting in vowing never to have sex with her again. Really, has Edward seen any of the previous three flicks? Bella is constantly being attacked, beaten and slice so a few bruises should be nothing in the larger scope of things. No matter what the girls in gym class say you can get pregnant from a vampire during the first time. Before the projectionist can switch to the next reel Bella is pregnant and about to deliver. This franchise is fundamentally a soap opera so it should come as no surprise that the pregnancy is greatly accelerated, the day time stories have been pulling out this ploy for decades. There is the usual quandary over whether to keep the baby heaping the angst on deeper than usual. The pregnancy becomes a new issue in the eternal feud between werewolves and vampires. One hirsute faction what mother and child dead while Jacob enlists his pack into protection detail. The daughter is born and named Renesmee, considering the circumstances nobody expected; Tiffany’. Bella had to take up drinking blood while carrying the child, prenatal nutrition is important for the fetal vampire. They almost loose Bella during the birth forcing Edward to finally turn Bella into a vampire. Just to make the cliffhanger a bit more interesting Jacob forms a werewolf bond of protection with Renesmee. This means by lycanthropic law no one in the pack may harm the infant.

One of the main things the Potter films had over the ‘Twilight Saga’ are there was the same screenwriter throughout the franchise who worked closely with the author. This made the consistency incredibly tight. This film also has a different director but at least he’ll return in part two. The film covers the material fairly well but the pacing is uneven mostly due to a few factors inherent to its construction. For example the need to stop everything to insert a tense anguish filled moment. They also had to save all the big action scenes for the conclusion. There are a few explosive segments and special effects used but mostly it a tease. The film will mostly appeal to the diehard fans particularly those identifying themselves as ‘Team Edward. Personally I’ll keep my ‘Team Nosferatu’ jacket handy. You might want to wait until part two comes out and watch them together in a mini marathon.

Posted 01/30/12

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