The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One - Cinema Review

'Bill Condon's first stab at the franchise will be remembered in film history for its odd directing choices and poor storytelling'

On the evidence available here, splitting The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn into a Part One and a Part Two seems like largely a very wise idea. Despite the obvious reservations and limitations the split brings to this first part, there also seems like there's a long way to go when the final credits role and the thought of having to sit through a three and half hour Twilight film just doesn't bear thinking about.

Ultimately, although the split is handled fairly well, Bill Condon's first stab at the franchise will be remembered in film history for its odd directing choices and poor storytelling. Both of these elements are most prevalent in the film's final third where examples are numerous; Edward (Robert Pattinson) pauses to explain to someone (the audience) the rules surrounding a bit of wolf lore that have led to a key event. The wolves - telepathic - start having actual voices when in animal form for the first time in the series. Bella's (Kristen Stewart) infection is shown in CGI as a white substance taking over her red blood, you know, like something out of Outbreak.

A stronger storyteller would find ways round all of these problems that didn't involve his star explaining the rules one-hundred minutes in to the film, or his key CGI creations suddenly gaining a new power or an obvious piece of imagery which has featured in more vampire films than it is fully possible to name. Like the previous entries, Breaking Dawn - Part One is mired in poor directorial decision making and a script - from Melissa Rosenberg, writer of all of the previous entries - which barely gets above average and never escapes exposition. Did we really need yet another scene in which Jacob (Taylor Lautner), apparently calm and helpful, loses it with Bella and has to be turned away by Edward?

The good? Well, the wedding, long and mundane though it is, is shot well and sweet in nature. There's some good humour in Brazil before the event that finally kicks in the narrative drive behind Breaking Dawn - Part One begins to show itself. Really though, this is justifiably being seen as the weakest entry in the franchise so far and even the pop songs - hitherto very well used, occasionally innovatively so - seem crowbarred in ad nauseum, like a bad early-evening soap opera.

Look further...

'nothing’s worse than spending two hours in a house with dull people doing things you just don’t care about' - Duke And The Movies, 1.5/4


  1. That's the second time I've seen a picture of them playing chess.

    Do they play often? And who wins?

    Silly little jokes aside I think what disappoints me is the lack of 'adapting' with these. I've not read the novels and probably never will but the series scream to me that they need lots of trimming, better dialogue and better defined characters and not the stereotypes that are presented. Instead they're presented without any revisions and (from what I hear) improvements. I guess it's a franchise that doesn't particularly utilise the strengths of film apart from the (quite good) music choices.

  2. They seem to play it quite a lot in Brazil for reasons never explained. I won't spoil the result for you!

    I didn't realise before this one that its been the same screenwriter all the way through. Her previous experience is only in TV and I wouldn't be surprised if her brief was to retain as much as the book as possible. All of the scripts are horrendous and this one doesn't get any better. At one point a character actually says 'I'm good enough to look after myself', at which point another character replies 'the fact that you even think you are shows that you aren't'. It's like a cliche car crash.

  3. I'm curious to see how they made it, but my expectations are low.

  4. That's the same approach I've taken when I've gone in to the cinema for every one of these. Unfortunately, they've met my low expectations every time.