The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is the penultimate episode of the long running Twilight series which saw Robert Pattison plucked from his place as a supporting character in the world of Harry Potter and turning him into a megastar in his own right, setting aflutter the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world in the process.
The blockbuster films are based on the books by Stephenie Meyer and Breaking Dawn, Part 1 sees Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattison) finally tie the knot and enter into married bliss. We reviewed the film way back when and our guest reviewer gave it a healthy four stars.
Speaking personally I’ve grown up expecting my vampires to be expressions of soulless and relentless evil so the idea of family units of vampires expressing feelings and having meaningful relationships is a deeply challenging one for me, much to the disdain of my teenage daughter. I’m also pretty sure that middle-aged family men aren’t the target audience for either the books or the films so to help me provide a more complete opinion I took my life in my hands and recruited my wife plus a pair of teenage Twihards by bribing them with Chinese food, sweets and ice cream in an attempt to lift the clouds of my Twilight ignorance.
I do have some form with fantasy sagas as I first read Lord of The Rings in my early teens and loved the films; I’ve read and seen everything to do with Harry Potter and my adherence to the original Star Wars series is a matter of public record so I really am not averse to engaging in epic series. My conundrum was whether an old lag such as me with fond memories of vampire movies starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing would be able to bond with these nu-Vampires or would it be a bridge too far.
The film started well enough with an angry werewolf, who I’m reliably informed was called Jacob, transforming and rushing off into the woods in a cloud of VFX. That was the prelude to the wedding preparations which then moved quickly into the wedding itself, which is apparently what Jacob was upset about.
“Werewolves imprint on their soul mates” said one of our Twihards by way of explanation and then referred to Bella “She’s not his soul mate” with an air of finality.
There was a hint of a bachelor party for Edward and a conversation that led to a pre-wedding nightmare for Bella which began with.
Edward – “I haven’t told you everything about myself”.
Bella – “What you’re not a virgin?” <Twihards giggle>
His dark secret was revealed but the level-headed Bella seemed able to take all adversity in her stride.
“And now they’re going to snog” said a Twihard through a mouth full of noodles.
After the wedding, my favourite part of which was Bella’s father’s speech for its dry humour, they moved swiftly on to the honeymoon which was set in an idyllic shoreline location in Brazil however one thing that became an issue fairly early on was that there was an awful lot of kissing. From when Edward and Bella get married about fifteen minutes in until about approaching halfway through there was much giggling from my left as the Twihards became inordinately preoccupied with the Chinese food as a way of demonstrating that they weren’t embarrassed by the amount of “snogging” going on,
“It didn’t seem as much in the cinema.” said one Twihard to the other.
The whole honeymoon section did introduce some humour though as the housekeepers carried out the remains of the broken honeymoon bed (vampires being blessed with extreme physical prowess) though to maintain its 12A rating it was all done with the utmost directorial restraint.
The honeymoon progresses rapidly into Bella’s pregnancy which leads to a massive fallout between the vampires and werewolves as Bella’s life ebbs away because of the child/creature/mythical being growing within her.
“My favourite scenes from this film are the ones with the wolves” says a voice from the sofa as the werewolves split into factions and begin to fight each other.
“Seth’s cool. I like Seth. He’s cooler than Jacob. Shall we try explaining to her how they turned into werewolves in the first place?” one said referring to my wife, and immediately launched into a long description of werewolf lore involving something called Soulwalkers that lost me completely.
The film concludes in a pleasingly dramatic and unexpected way (if you haven’t read the book) and sets the stage for Part 2, the first image from which we have here.
As the final credits rolled we drew our conclusions.
“Four out of five” said one, “Four and a quarter” said the other. My wife pursed her lips.
I tried to return to my original question of whether the film was accessible to an outsider such as myself.
“If you haven’t read the books or didn’t have us here to explain it then it doesn’t make much sense” one admitted. I had to agree with her there. If you’re familiar with the books or the films then it’s highly likely that you’ll want to have this latest film in your collection but if you’re like me then you’ll want to go back to the first film and work your way through as I suspect a lot of the nuances of the film were going over my had.
As for target audience our teenage Twihards were right in the middle of it while my wife mused that it was likely to appeal to women of a certain age.
“I noticed at least one guy in Eclipse” volunteered a Twihard helpfully but I felt inexorably drawn towards a conclusion that if I saw a middle-aged man in HMV buying Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part 1 then he would probably be doing so for his daughter. It’d be a worthwhile purchase though as she’s likely to be very happy with it.
The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 1 is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 12th March, 2012
Twihard rating (4/5)
My rating (1.5/5)
None of the special features were available on the review copy but are listed below.
Audio commentary with Bill Condon
UK premiere footage
DVD 2 disc limited edition as above plus:
Jump to… Edward, Jacob
Filming The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 1
A New Beginning
Blu-ray includes DVD extras and:
Jump to… Edward, Jacob
Bella and Edward’s Personal Wedding Video
Jump to… The Wedding and Reception, The Honeymoon, Bella’s Pregnancy, The Wolf Pack and The Cullens.