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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner17/11/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Dull, plodding, penultimate instalment in the Twilight Saga that's extremely light on plot and fails to inject its few key scenes with any life thanks to a woeful script, poor direction and lacklustre performances, though fans of the franchise should be used to that by now.

What's it all about?
Directed by Bill Condon, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 opens with the preparations for Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward's (Robert Pattinson) wedding, the news of which causes werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to rip his shirt off and run into the woods within the opening 30 seconds of the film. After the wedding (which, boringly, goes without a hitch), Bella and Edward jet off to a remote honeymoon location where they finally consummate their marriage amid much breaking of headboards and agonising over various bruises acquired (shades of an extremely dodgy abuse metaphor – he hurts her, but she loves him so it's okay).

However, after two weeks, Bella discovers that she's pregnant and that the rapidly growing vampire-human hybrid baby inside her poses a serious threat to her life. When they return home, the news of Bella's life-threatening pregnancy angers the Wolf Pack because it violates the peace treaty between them and the Cullens, but Jacob vows to protect Bella at all costs.

The Bad
Splitting the book into two parts was probably a mistake, as the action moves painfully slowly (there's even more standing around and moping than in the previous films and that's saying something), while the dialogue is so dreadful that even the film's few key scenes (the marriage, the sex scene, the pregnancy, the birth scene) are rendered either laughably cheesy (the baby-naming scene is unintentionally hilarious) or stultifyingly dull.

Similarly, Bill Condon's direction feels shackled by the M rating, so the sex scene, the inevitable vampires vs wolves fight scene and the potentially gruesome birth sequence are all filmed in an extremely tame way with minimal gore and violence – the fight scenes are particularly pointless, since the franchise seems reluctant to actually kill off any of its sprawling myriad of characters.

The Worse
The surfeit of characters also means that no-one really gets a chance to shine (though fan favourites Anna Kendrick and Booboo Stewart do their best) and the performances are rather lacklustre as a result (though, to be fair, Lautner's acting has improved considerably). On top of that, the film frustratingly introduces some promising-looking new characters (played by Maggie Grace and MyAnna Buring), only to drop them immediately afterwards.

Worth seeing?
Easily the worst film of the franchise so far, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is hampered by some dodgy sexual politics, a thinly stretched plot, dreadful dialogue and poor pacing.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (M)
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Content updated: 14/11/2019 00:46

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