Published Nov 18, 2011At last. The release of the fourth instalment of the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, means the moment we've been waiting for has arrived: Bella and Edward finally do it! I mean, consummate their love. But not before getting married, of course, because Edward's not that kind of vampire; he has morals.
Breaking Dawn starts with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) shirtlessly storming out of his house in fury after receiving Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen's (Robert Pattinson) wedding invitation. The beginning of the film moves quickly, as soon it's the wedding day and 18-year-old Bella is set to walk down the aisle, seemingly nervous (or maybe constipated ― it's hard to tell given Stewart's stagnant facial expressions). But her wedding jitters vanish as soon as she sees the vampire she's eager to spend eternity with.
After the intensity of the ceremony, some much needed comic relief takes place during the reception, with speeches from various members of the party and swing dancing. Some of the best performances of Breaking Dawn take place here, particularly from Billy Burke, as Bella's dad, Charlie, who struggles with giving up his young daughter. And from Anna Kendrick, who plays Bella's jealous high school friend, Jessica, with a not-so-congratulatory, hilarious speech.
Following the blissful reception, which is momentarily interrupted by Jacob, who once again questions Bella's well being and leaves in a rage, the two lovebirds are off to their honeymoon on the remote Isle Esme, near Rio de Janeiro. Although the sex scene is cut rather short, the elements described in the book remain intact: a broken bed, floating feathers from torn pillows and a morning after, bruised Bella. But that's not the only consequence: she's pregnant.
Drama ensues upon their return, when Jacob discovers the half-vampire/half-human foetus rapidly growing inside Bella, threatening her life. A choice must be made and not everyone agrees with Bella's decision. Meanwhile, Jacob asserts his role as the rightful alpha of the Quileute werewolf tribe and vampire masters the Volturi are still keeping tabs on the Cullen clan.
Director Bill Condon had his work cut out for him, but does an excellent job maintaining author Stephenie Meyer's vision. Fanpires can be very particular and each of the pivotal scenes in Breaking Dawn is executed in perfect consistency with the book. The wedding scene is spectacular, in terms of set design, and while the sex scene was edited in order to receive a PG-13 rating, the birth scene is surprisingly more graphic than expected.
Breaking Dawn is light on action, however, which isn't Condon's fault. It is in Eclipse, the previous instalment, where the climax of the story is hit and it's mostly just downhill from there, in terms of plot. Breaking Dawn serves to tie up loose ends and explain what happens once Bella makes her decision to choose Edward over Jacob and commit her life to immortality.
The addition of the hybrid child does, however, make for some interesting moments, as Bella's maternal instincts take over and her life isn't just about Edward anymore. By the end, no one even questions that Breaking Dawn essentially advocates female dependency on a male counterpart (just like a modern day Donna Reed!), as well as teen sex and unplanned pregnancy. But putting a ring on it makes that entirely okay, right? (eOne)