Review - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011), PG-13, 117 minutes - ...
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...now that you've had a few moments to get over the shock of my taking the time to review the latest installment of the Twilight series, please allow me a brief moment of explanation.  The reason for my blog has always been to share thoughts and opinions of newly released films with friends because I quite often get the question 'was such and such a movie any good?'.  When I'm in the habit of posting, I also try to post something about any new release I have seen.  And since I ended quite a long stretch of inactivity here on my blog last weekend, I feel that it's only fair that I continue what little momentum I built by writing about this weekend's movie viewing.  

Some of you who are more familiar with my movie tastes may know that a couple years ago I had rented the first Twilight movie from NetFlix.  I knew that I was by no means part of the film's target audience, but I was curious as to what the big deal was about this love story involving vampires and werewolves.  Boy was I terribly disappointed.  I could see the potential in the story, but the poor script, bad effects, and awful acting destroyed that potential.  In short, I felt that they rushed the film adaptation into production in order to capitalize on the popularity of the books (which I believe at that time were still being released).  I didn't bother watching the later releases because the first installment killed any curiosity in the series that I may have had.  Fast forward to now.  My girlfriend had read (and loved) the Twilight books, so naturally she has seen, and wanted to see, this first part of Breaking Dawn.  I still havn't read the books, but I did do my homework and played catch up by watching both New Moon and Eclipse so I would know what was going on.  It may not have been my first choice of a movie to see in the theater, but I found myself watching it on this opening weekend.  And oddly enough, it wasn't too bad.

Having caught up on the series (of movies), I feel that each installment was better than the one before it.  That goes for just about every aspect of the films across the board.  Luckily that trend continues in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.  There were still a couple of hiccups, but in general, it is a pretty watchable film.

I am still a firm believer that Kristen Stewart is an awful actress, but compared to the previous films, her performance was much improved.  The only problem is, I'm not sure if it is actually because of her acting, or because of extra help from the effects used to wither her away during her pregnancy.  There were really only two things that I had a real problem with:
1) The wolves communicating via telepathy when Jacob stands up to and breaks away from Sam and the pack.  It was just poorly executed - poor scripting and voice acting - and was laughably cheesy.
2) The scene in which the pack attacks the Cullen household after Bella has the baby was extremely dark visually.  I know that the scene was in the woods at night, but it was very difficult to follow what was going on.  

Taylor Lautner has finally grown up enough for Jacob to seem like an actual player in the story.  Whether that's as a threat to Edward (Robert Pattinson) for Bella's affections, or a character who is strong enough to stand firm in his opinion that differs from that of his pack.  He's still not the greatest actor, but he at least fits the role better and makes the Jacob/Bella/Edward dynamic much more believable.  After all, that's the main theme of the story right? 

Having not read the books, I felt the ending to this first half of the Breaking Dawn adaptation was a bit cliche and predictable.  But that comes strictly from the point of view of someone who has probably seen too many movies.  All in all Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is probably the best installment in the franchise yet.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually curious as to how it all ends up.  Ladies, I'm sure you'll love it just as much as you've loved the other Twilight Saga films.  And fellas, believe me, there are a lot worse movies that you could be 'forced' to see because it's your girl's turn to pick the movie.

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