Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

The Blue Lagoon

One cannot deny that Twilight smells of serious money, and following the Harry Potter film franchise had its final book split into two for that extra injection into the coffers. But I had to admit that Breaking Dawn Part 1 isn't as dreadful as the other two films that followed the first film, since they were essentially rehashing a lot of the same themes with Bella (Kristen Stewart) still being indecisive about whether she prefers the vampire or the wolf, and finally made up her mind here in marrying one of them right from the start.

And oh the fuss about what Bella is wearing for her wedding, and how a vampire can consummate a wedding is all but answered in this installment, I think. Inviting friends and family and plenty of other support characters appearing over the course of the three films so far whom you probably care less about, a union between a man and a woman spelt a heartbreak for werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who disappered for the most part, but not before tearing off his shirt to offer Team Jacob fans a glimpse of his rock hard abs before a half a movie absence. So Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella journey to Brazil and to its offshore island to make love, and Stephanie Meyer's imagination with award winning director Bill Condon's vision explains how powerful a vampire's orgasm can be.

In which case Edward decides to stay celibate thereafter knowing his pleasure equates to Bella's physical pain, until they found out that they had never thought to use contraceptives. After all, an undead producing seeds for offspring? One has to get past that plot point, with nary an explantion, in order for Breaking Dawn to work. As a teen movie, at least it got it right to have its main characters abstain from sex until marriage, but seriously family planning was never part of any serious discussion between Edward and Bella, adopting very common attitudes such as "it'll never happen to us". Well, guess what?

Reality quickly sinks in post-honeymoon stage especially when the couple faces a huge problem, in this case the disbelief that Bella can get pregnant (Wolf boy is still a virgin, so no hanky panky here...) and the decision whether or not to keep the baby since it's growing at an accelerated pace, and could be a half human half vampire monster, eating his mom from the inside out. Research shows the baby will be born through the breaking of all critical bones in the human body, so therein lies the existential dilemma - keep the baby and the mom dies, or kill the baby so that mom lives. Plenty of excellent soul searching stuff here by humans, vampires and wolves with the latter determined not to let something unknown threaten their very survival and existence.

Compared to the other earlier films, I grudgingly admit this one boasted better makeup, especially in making Kristen Stewart look really ghastly and unappealing, and kudos to the actress to have had that bit of makeup and prosthetics assist her in dealing with the emotions and mood swings that come with pregnancy. This book was a little bit more mature in its dealing with heavier themes, and Condon found the right balance in introducing those themes without being overbearing or preachy about. For that, credit has to go where credit is deserved, and as an emotional journey, well this one was quite the relief given what audiences had to endure from the earlier films, but that still doesn't make this a romantic masterpiece, lacking in genuine emotion and feeling.

For the fans of Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner split into two different camps, well unfortunately your pretty boys didn't fare as well as the lass this time, turning from friends to foes to friends and back again so very often, you'd start to wonder just exactly who was being wishy-washy. Robert Pattinson seemed to have the least to do here, and became rather pedestrian, while Taylor Lautner's pedigree wolf bloodline sees him relegated to being just a guard dog outside of the Cullins family home in the forest and being told to get out when he snuck into the house without invitation, and who is to know he had actually held the key to short-changing the audience from one big finale battle between the wolf clan and the Cullens.

For completeness sake I will be watching the next concluding episode of the film so as to achieve closure. The dialogue in this one's pretty horrendous, the acting rather bland and has a soundtrack full of pop music and ballads that nobody's actively listening to. The most gruesome scene involves a makeshift operating table and the much talked about child birth, but trust me it was quite aesthetically and tastefully (pardon the pun) done without over-reliance on shock tactics. Adopting the expected, logical cliffhanger knowing what's next in store for Bella, the concluding film won't open until a year from now, and it's a tall order, but I'm really hoping for a fruitful conclusion.

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