A lot has happened since the advent of Twilight. Well, some things have changed, and so many more of them remain the same. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson still do an awful lot of angst/love/anxiety/awe staring at each other. Their relationship is still creepily obsessive (especially as illustrated by the kiss at their wedding where all of the guests suddenly disappear), and Bella’s decision-making is still highly questionable (such as demanding physical action despite risking injury to herself). Anna Kendrick and Billy Burke are still the most natural on screen. The score is still cloying. The dialog is still schmaltzy. The make-up and effects, are in many scenes, still … questionable.
Thus I find it hard to believe that people walked out of the theater saying, rhetorically, “How good was that?” Because it was not. Not good at all. Perhaps, though, what has really changed is my own affinity for the saga. Or perhaps, it’s just that it was easier to hold on through this first rocky section of the final book, but much more difficult to accept the film translation’s handling of the internal conflicts involved.
For example: how would you illustrate the concept of imprinting? If you’re director Bill Condon you do it through a visual flash-forward, voice-over flash-back, and by having the concept re-explained by Edward in the very next scene. As in the novel, we jump into Jacob’s story during Bella’s pregnancy. This twist in perspective is just as jarring here as it is in the text, but is ever-so-much-more problematic in the film as it’s largely telepathic, and therefore extremely difficult to explain on screen without alienating audience members that may not have previous insight into the story, or becoming terribly repetitive to those who do.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the fourth film in The Twilight Saga. There are so many things that should have evolved in this series. The technical filmmaking techniques and overall storytelling. The acting. But worse that that, none of the characters have truly evolved. Not Bella, who is still wants what she wants and screw what anyone else thinks. Not Edward, who ties his own life to that of a stubborn teenager’s existence. In fact, the only person who has evolved is our dear wolf friend, Jacob, who by the end of the film has split from his pack and moved on from his unrequited love for the vampire bride. True, the fault here may actually lie with Stephenie Meyer’s source material, but ultimately, responsibility for Breaking Dawn‘s cinematic failure lies with the filmmakers. Filmmakers who seem to have invested a whole lot of time and money into creating a supremely sub-par product.
Will the word that Breaking Dawn is disappointing prevent legions of fans from storming the box office this weekend? Of course not. Does this put me off wanting to see Part 2? Again, no. Because the end has got to be better than the beginning of the end. One can only hope.