From the very beginning, the “Twilight” franchise has been dead in the water due to shoddy story, flat characters and unkind and inane twists on vampire mythology. Inaptly called a “saga,” the entire point of Stephanie Myer’s source material and Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay adaptation seems to be to crudely thrust the importance of abstinence on preteen girls, and to strip them of the idea that they could ever possibly survive in this world without a handsome, brooding and somewhat pale and sparkly man at their side.
While the continuing story of “Twilight” may be indecipherable to most non-readers—something about a rival between vampires and werewolves over something, and something else about a sort of evil vampire council—surprisingly, part one of the fourth entry, “Breaking Dawn,” takes a break from what the previous movies have been babbling about and sees blushing bride Bella (Kristin Stewart) and her vegan vampire fiancé down the aisle and off on their Brazilian honeymoon.
While together, that special moment that Bella and her undead spouse have been waiting for arrives, only to be interrupted by a cut to black, and a fade in to Bella sleeping on a broken bed the following morning. What a buzz-kill! The scene this series has been building up to for what seems like forever, and then it cuts away just when it starts to get good? Typical.
After a few more rolls in the hay, Bella starts to get morning sickness and before long comes to realize that she is pregnant with a little bloodsucker, who starts to suck the life right out of her from the inside out. There’s more about how no one thought this to be possible, including Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the third-wheel werewolf who still has a thing for Bella. Bella’s honeymoon is then cut short so that the Cullen family can sort out a way to save Bella’s life from the baby growing inside of her.
As silly as it all might sound, “Breaking Dawn – Pt. 1” is probably the best of the movies so far. That is not saying much, but thanks to a cool score by Carter Burwell and few genuinely funny moments at the wedding reception—the first in the series— and one unintentionally funny scene of cartoon werewolves with horrible voice actors having a heated argument over something, the movie is not totally unbearable, although Lautner tries his best to make it so.
Director Bill Condon made the excellent “Kinsey” in 2004, and wrote the award-winning “Chicago” in 2002. Artistically, “Breaking Dawn” may mark a career low, as I would even rather watch his 1995 horror flick “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” before watching this again. “Breaking Dawn might be a high for “Twilight,” but it’s a low for Condon.
Make no mistake about it, Myer does not hold women in high regard, and her “Twilight” series reveals her own views of romance and eternal love to be as shallow as they are banal. All absurdity of dead person being able to procreate aside, Meyer’s story and Rosenberg’s script provide nothing really interesting for these one-dimensional characters to do.
Even so, you’d think that given a good director this material would work on some level. But it just doesn’t, which proves just how poorly conceived and unworkable the source novels must be. The previous chapters were disasters, so there is no base on which this movie can stand.
Part two of “Breaking Dawn” will be released next summer, and then we can all take a sigh of relief that this series is over—unless Meyer writes another damn book.