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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Action stops, another book split in two

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 25, 2011 -- Based on a portion of the popular teen romance book “Breaking Dawn” this slow-moving film has long periods of inaction and generates little suspense, making it the worst film in the “Twilight Saga” films so far. This movie seems to be a mere multimillion dollar bookmark, marking time until the overarching story is finally concluded in the last film. Short on plot developments and long on inaction, the characters spend much of the film waiting for something, anything to happen.

This third film in the Twilight Saga opens with the marriage of the human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) to the vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). This is followed by the honeymoon in South America. A good deal of time is spent in transit to and from South America. Although a private jet is involved in this trip, most of the traveling scenes are in cars or limousines. These are awkward sequences where nothing really happens. When the newlyweds finally have sex, the act is underplayed, and not repeated during the honeymoon. Once again, the chastity theme comes to the fore as the husband broods over the safety of his wife and his wife's bruises resulting from his partial loss of self-control during sex.

So the bride and groom are on their honeymoon on a fancy island resort, but they are still waiting for something else to happen, namely the act of turning Bella into an vampire. Why they don't just go ahead and get it over with isn't explained very well. When Bella's other boyfriend, Jacob the werewolf (Taylor Lautner) finds out about this human-vampire honeymoon idea, he thinks it is crazy. While everyone is waiting for Bella to become a vampire, something else happens. Bella becomes pregnant. This, of course, requires more waiting to see what happens with the pregnancy.

After more limo scenes, the bride and groom head back to the family compound in Washington where they spend the rest of the film waiting to find out what happens with the baby. More waiting, more interminable chastity. Just like any marriage. There is a brief flurry of action at the end of the film when another battle between the vampires and werewolves starts to flare up, for no good reason, by the way. During all this, amazingly, nobody bothers to tell Bella's father that she might be dying, or that she has decided to join the undead vampires anyway, even if she survives the birth. Instead, Bella lies to her father, telling him she is at a spa in Switzerland. I guess everyone decides that Bella's father has no right to be at his daughter's side as she fights for her life. This is just heartless and wrong, but it is just one of many wrong things in this twisted story.

I'm not going to go into the film's ending, but almost all of the plot and what little action there is in the film is back loaded into the last few minutes of the film. The film's running time of nearly two hours is overlong. It is more like one hour of plot padded out to two hours. Surprisingly, the one character who undergoes much of a change in the film (until the last second of the film) is Jacob. While most of the characters in the film are passive and childlike, Jacob actually grows up and becomes an adult in the film. He takes a stand against the leader of his wolf pack and starts his own pack. Unfortunately, this doesn't last long. He reverts back to passivity because of something called “imprinting” and once again loses his will. Completing the image of loss of will, he even falls to his knees as if he were worshiping the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

I get the feeling this film is similar to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One.” It seems to be an artificial creation, manufactured to make an additional $700 million that the studio would not have gotten if they had just made one “Breaking Dawn” film instead of two. If you are going to make movies of a series of books and you plan to make the movies true to the books, then do that. Don't try to manufacture additional movies by splitting a book in two. It doesn't work. At least it hasn't worked with the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises. This film rates a D.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2011 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)