‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1′ Review

Published 2 years ago by

Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 Bella Edward The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn   Part 1 Review

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

Two-part finales have become a go-to approach for studios to milk extra money out of fan-favorite young adult franchises – and arguably a way to give lengthier final book installments a bit more room to wrap everything up. While audiences were initially skeptical of the idea when it was introduced with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the success of the final two Potter films (both commercially and critically) seemingly justified the extra trip to the theater.

However, can the same be said for fellow-young adult fantasy series Twilight and the debut of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1? As the longest entry in Stephenie Meyer’s book series but is there enough material in the final chapter in the Twilight Saga to fill two feature length films?

Unfortunately, judging by the events unfolding in Breaking Dawn: Part 1, the answer is no.

At least half of the film is dominated by one melodramatic scene after another – in place of either interesting character interactions or exciting action – essentially laying ground for the (presumably) more stimulating Part 2. Even die-hard fans of the books will likely find that at least two of the more pivotal moments from the printed page do not translate well to the big screen – and, as result, once again reveal glaringly poor production values and uninspired direction in a film series that, cumulatively, has earned Summit Films over $1 billion worldwide.

Unlike the prior Twilight films, which offered self-contained and mostly engaging story lines (albeit still guilty pleasure melodrama), the first half of Breaking Dawn is a mishmash of moments that fail to build tension or further develop any of the fan-favorite characters. The basic plot follows the marriage of bloodsucker Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his bride-to-be Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) as they prepare for their nuptials. While the wedding is a grand and joyous affair, not everyone is happy; cast-aside Werewolf/ex-love interest Jacob (Taylor Lautner) attempts to deal with not just Bella’s choice to marry Cullen, but her decision to become a vampire as well. As the wedding bells fall silent, the newlyweds unexpectedly threaten the tenuous alliance between Cullen’s vampire family and Jacob’s Werewolf clan – causing former friends, as well as reluctant allies, to choose sides.

Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 Jacob The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn   Part 1 Review

Taylor Lautner returns as Jacob in 'Breaking Dawn Part 1'

In general, the events in Breaking Dawn – Part 1 are, simply put, underwhelming. While die-hard fans may find the extended honeymoon sequence cathartic – since the films and books have often been criticized for being too “tame” when it comes to sexuality – all of the lustful looks and “passionate” make-out sessions entirely derail any momentum and charm the film had coming out of the opening act. Instead of pulling in the cast of colorful personalities that have helped balance the book and film series with humor – in spite of all the melodrama from the three leads – Breaking: Dawn: Part 1 revels in spending all of its time indoors with characters arguing about what to do next, instead of actually doing anything screen worthy. While some fans will no doubt defend the film by saying Breaking: Dawn – Part 1 is just being true to the source material – it’s the responsibility of filmmakers to take a printed story and make it sing as a two-hour movie. This could have been accomplished by making a couple of the “action” sequences significantly more exciting, or a few of the pivotal character moments more convincing, in order to help break audiences out of the repetitive funk the storyline wallows in for the majority of the proceedings.

Instead of striving for a more competent film experience, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is simply pandering to the existing fan-base with almost nothing of value to anyone who isn’t already in love with the characters. Where more inspired filmmaking could have potentially found ways to thrill or engage a non-fan audience, the filmmakers of Breaking Dawn: Part 1 - specifically oscar-winning director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) – were overly eager to “give the people what they want,” which essentially amounts to a lot of Bella on Edward action and some combination of Jacob with his shirt off moping around. Potentially interesting character beats (such as an early admission by Cullen) have no gravity and are simply abandoned/glossed over in favor of warm embraces and pouty looks.

The Twilight films have never been known for high production values, or even particularly stand-out performances (despite the claims of impassioned Team Edward/Jacob fans), and those trends continue with Breaking Dawn: Part 1. The film looks cheap with bland CGI werewolves and vampire effects – and for a series that is raking in plenty of money with each release, it’s surprising to see such flat visuals at this point. Similarly, despite a stable of up-and-coming actors that includes Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner, as well as critical darlings like Anna Kendrick and Michael Sheen, none of the actors are given any room to deliver a stand-out performance.

Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 Wedding The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn   Part 1 Review

Bella and Edward's wedding in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1'

Given the amount of quick cuts – with basically no extended takes – it’s almost as if each actor is competing with one another onscreen for close-up shots, one line at a time. It’s unfortunate, because despite all the anti-Twilight detractors out there, the franchise leads have shown that they’re capable of offering strong performances when a director attempts to get something more interesting out of them (Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys and Pattinson in Water for Elephants). In that sense, it’s disappointing to see that capable performers and intriguing premises haven’t matured the Twilight series from film to film.

While The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 succeeds in transferring the pivotal events from its source material onto the screen, it fails at translating those events into a competent two-hour experience. Fans of the book and movie series will no doubt enjoy watching the film – though, it’s still hard to imagine that they won’t, deep down, find a few of the book’s more decisive moments to be overly cheesy, or even downright laughable. Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is not a competent piece of filmmaking and stands as potentially the worst installment in the series. Hopefully, given the much more intriguing plot points saved for Part 2, the final installment will end the series on a high note.

If you’ve already seen the film and want to talk about various plot details without ruining them for others, head over to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 spoilers discussion.

However, if you’re still on the fence about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, check out the trailer below:

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick - and let us know what you thought of the film below:

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is now in theaters.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5
(Okay)

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TAGS: breaking dawn, twilight

105 Comments

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  1. OMH! This movie already raked in 72 million at the box office??! What is this world coming to when such a poor quality movie can gross such numbers. Makes we worry for the future of movies when this crap will show movie execs THIS is obviously what “we” want and what will make them money.

    • Mongoose, It is a teen story. Read the books and you will appreciate the saga. ~Chris

      • No you won’t. It’s just bad bad bad writing and a bad bad bad bad story

        • Agreed, sad what they are feeding these teenage girls now, smh.

    • IKR when I first found out about twilight i thought it is the crapiest thing ever!Until one day my grandmother bought the first of the saga series and ehh it was ok. So then all my friends were all about this stuff so when New moon, the second movie of the saga series came out my friends invited me to come and see it with them. I thought OMG!!!!! Jacob is sexy with his hair short and thats the only reason i Used to pay any attention to all this. Well as the time past and Eclipse, third movie of the saga series came out, I realized that it truely isnt about all the Hot guys its about the romantic diffrences and the whole struggle about love, and in a way i can relate to Bella because you can love to guys but when it comes down to it you have to chosse the one you love the most because you realize you ould do anything for yor partners love, even die for your partner, and yes I can relate because right now i am in that situation i love this guy alot i cant even spend five minutes without thinking about him. Yes we have dated before and I think awe broke up today even though we didnt tell each other that. I still truely in love with him but you have to learn to let the ones you love the most go if they want to be set free. So in a way the saga series have extremly helped me in this love situation. Also to end this off Breaking Dawn part one was pretty good but i just cant wait to see Breaking Dawn part 2 because it is going to be Epic see you all in theaters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      :)

      • See its because you people are just guys and love dosent mean that much to u guys aas much as it does to us the females of the relationship and in some way almost every female out there can relate to this love story becuasae it helps you out with your love problems because we all know that there are a lot of love problems out there. :( :) ;)

  2. When I walked into the theater to see this movie (I should say dragged by a fan), I felt my estrogen levels go up. There were so many females in the theater, that I’m pretty sure we all got our periods at the same time during the movie. There was one man in the room, who looked miserable. I’m sure he was trying to impress his girlfriend. I joked with my partner about standing up and asking if anyone had an extra bra them that I could use.

    The movie was bad. Bad. Although, I did find it funny that 2 ten year olds were bawling during the wedding scene.

    • Now that was funny!

    • “There were so many females in the theater, that I’m pretty sure we all got our periods at the same time during the movie”………… This killed me. Hahahaha.

    • I am amazed that a child under the age of 12 read Breaking Dawn! Kudos Stephanie Meyer and again this Twilight Saga is for teenagers. I read the books because I have a 13 year old and who began reading the books at age 12. That is a very strong testimony for the books and their audience.

      “I did find it funny that 2 ten year ods were bawlind during the wedding scene.”–Lemonhead I

      I think it is a amazing. Chris ~Wolfeagle

      • 13 is a bit too old to be reading these “books”, don’t you think?

    • wth just because u poeple are twilight haters doesnt mean u ca just say anything bout it i love twilight and thought breaking dawn part 1 was greatttt

      • Thank you SoMeOnE you are completly right so hahaha to you haters out there

  3. A vampire getting married? That is just about the dumbest thing I have every heard. Vampires are supposed to be bloodthirsty, remorseless monsters! Have any of you Twihards EVER read Dracula? THAT is a real vampire story, not this fluff garbage!! This garbage has forever ruined vampire stories because now Hollywood is going to feel the need to humanize the vampire and give it (and it IS an IT) emotions.

    • Because Dracula is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    • You mean you don’t like your vampires sparkling in the sunlight and your werewolves looking like, well, large wolves? And you know is very logical to have a vampire sire a child even though when you cut it, it’s just stone (no fluid). And Dracula is just the king of the vampires, bloodthirsty, calculating, a real terror…no one wants to see that. A real vampire story should be melodramatic and boring romantic. Don’t you think?

      {/sarcasm}

    • Erm, hate to break it to you flower, but vampires arent real!!! There is no such thing as blood thirsty, remorsless montsters.

      Bram Stoker give her account on vampires and Stephenie Meyer has given her fictional account too.

      And yes, but the way, i have read dracula!

      Dracula was Bram Stokers take on fictional vampires (or vlad the impaler if you would like to insist he is a real person, who by the way was just plain evil and not actually a vampire!!) there is no hard rule defying how vampires have to be, thats just HOLLYWOOD making YOU believe how vampires were supposed to be before Stephanie meyer wrote her take on it.

      I dont think you realised how truly foolish your comment sounds, seens as though you completely back fired on everything you said, blaming hollywood for making a vampire change from how hollywood USED to make people think of vampires!!! your comment is the dumbest think i have ever heard!!!

  4. I found this movie to b the best of all the twilight films! the first three movies I actually fell asleep at the theater while watching it! obviously the books were anything but boring n I wish what was brought to male the part 1 of breaking dawn would have also spread throughout the other ones!!! it was entertaining n highly close to the actual book! so in my opinion I loved it!!!! I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD n for the second part to come out in theaters!!!!

    • I thought it was great like the rest of the series. The movie really pulled me in and that’s why LOVED it sooo much.

  5. I wish they would have worked up to the wedding like in the book. Start this one where the last one left off. There was so much left out that could have been used to connect the events from the wedding to the honeymoon to the birth of the baby. There wasn’t as much focus on each of the characters as I would have liked to have seen. Not the joking between Emmet and Bella. Not the interactions of Alice and Bella or of Charlie and Alice., etc. Like in the book. There was a lot left out. The interactions between Jacob and Roselle for example during the waiting period for the birth. My feeling has always been that these books were long enough in story content to justify making 2 movies from the first 3 books each and 3 movies from the 4th book. There was so much detail and storyline in each books. And so much of that was left out. It would have helped to make the movies flow and give more depth to each of the characters like the books did and give more content to the movies by showing more of the story/ book.

    • They did miss a lot didn’t they. I never notice that.

      • Yeah, action. :-D

    • I see what you mean Rita. It would also given more in depth to understanding the film with out reading the books. Great insight. ~~ Chris aka wolfeagle

  6. I have loved all the movies and read all the books multiple times i am a huge fan and i was heart broken when this sad excuse for a twilight movie came out. I thought scenes that were meant to be emotional and serious were made funny and laughable, even though the book is cheesy the movie just made it stupid and unrealistic. The three main characters were the only actors who put something into the film the rest delivered lines terribly and looked bored. The werewolf scenes were… i have no words they were terrible and for me ruined the whole movie they looked awful and spoke like transformers. the special effects were rubbish and music choice was terribble at some points. many people said it was amazing and i honestly dont get it and they all say but its twilight and i think many people have just convinced themselves it was good! if you havent read the books you wouldnt find it as bad and also i dont think you would understand half of it! The more and more i think of it the more i dont get how awful it was and think i would could of done a better job of directing it! I personally think bill condon has ruined the twilight series and i cant believe that stephanie meyer helped produce this. The movie has nothing on the book which WAS amazing, and i just cant believe they made such a mockery of it!!!!

  7. I want to thank everyone who has commented so far; my wife wants to see this movie in the worst of ways and – with the threat of, as many married man knows, couch sleeping – will be dragging me along with her. I read the books, actually enjoyed the first one, and then saw how much of an immature little Bella was and lost interest with the rest (though I did read them all… yes, I am a dedicated husband :-).) The movies so far have been terrible, from script to production value, and I am at least content to know that they are, if anything, staying consistant. Thank you again for your comments. Definitely relying on Mr. Flask, with his belly full of high proof goodness, to get me through this one!

  8. I am not a fan of the series but the women in my life are and hence I am forced into watching these movies. So the 2 movies were pretty silly to me but they did have some sort of substance to them. I would give the first 2 movies 2 stars and the third 2 and a 1/2. This one I would give 1 and a 1/2. How do you decrease the quality of a movie with a higher budget? This film was extremely boring and had absolutely no direction whatsoever. TERRIBLE…

  9. I just went and saw Breaking Dawn tonight. I was very iffy about seeing this one because I felt like Eclipse was a major let down. The production was sloppy and so much was skipped that was important aspects of the story. So I went anyways and I think this one was much better than Eclipse;however, I felt certain parts could have been shorter, but others could have been longer. For example all the sitting around and worrying. In the book there are many important aspects that I felt were lacking in the movie. As for the theater I actually seen more guys in the theater for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn then any other movie I have seen in this past year. What I don’t like is all the negativity toward people that do like the movies. If you do not like it simply turn the other way so those that do can enjoy it.

  10. Looks like crummy American television with the exception of the very florid sexual encounter, the very thought of which makes me feel like a repressed virgin all over again!

  11. Kudos Screenrant for being generous with your ratings system. Giving this film (which is an insomniacs dream) a 2 is so generous. Must be because of Thanksgiving.

  12. loved this movie. I have read the books and they have left a lot out, but what can we expect!? All movies that are made from books do this. I have to say the special effects have gotten much better than the first twilight movie. I dont know why people attack the film and say theyre making vampires look “gay”. First of all being gay is not a bad thing. So stop using it in an offensive way. And theyre aiming for teenage girls! So i think they have achieved what they wanted.

  13. I am an avid movie go-er! I visit this website often and love reading what people write. As movie fans I think it is important sometimes to not forget what it is we love. MOVIES!! They are a thing to be enjoyed. For me they are an escape from everyday life. I have many friends that have grown so critical of films like Twilight and critical of ALL films in general, that I can see they really do have a tough time enjoying themselves at all when it comes to watching. I watched Breaking Dawn with an open mind and I can say that I much enjoyed it.

  14. Breaking Dawn is my favorite book of the series and I actually liked the first 3 movies. All unique, all offering something different to the story. But this….this was just sad. The wedding was made to look beautiful from the cinematography point of view. The locations were gorgeous from the wedding, to the beach, to the familiar Cullen house. But why doesn’t Edward sparkle in the sunlight anymore….seriously on a beach off the coast of Brazil and not one sparkle? The special effects were awful….would expect the wolves to improve with each successive movie, but they are horrible in this one. The voices of the wolves are awful too. An effect not included in the other movies that should not have been introduced in this format now. It was cheesy and stupid. The script was shallow and left out too much. I was thinking that by dividing into 2 movies, they could fit in all the important character interaction, but they didn’t even try. I went to the theatre to see Eclipse about 6 times. I’ve seen Breaking Dawn once, and won’t go back. I’m not even excited to see Part 2 anymore knowing it will be more of the same garbage by this director. Too bad. Fans will still go to see it, but it won’t appeal to anyone not already in the fan base. How can they have made so much money on the first 3 installments and then turn out this mediocre piece of crud?

  15. I really, really, wanted this to be a guilty pleasure of mine when it first came out. I like the whole teenage monster thing and have a soft spot for cheesy stuff like that. I borrowed the book and everything, thinking I’d get some teasing from friends over my secret Twilight interest. Unfortunately/fortunately, I couldn’t make it past the 24th page. Then when the movies came out, I thought maybe I’d have a second chance…nope. I like a lot of TERRIBLE things, but Twilight isn’t one of them. I appreciate Screenrant for reviewing this, and for the victim who had to sit through the whole thing. You took one for the team.

  16. I love the movie can’t wait till November 2012 CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. yeah, this movie kinda sucked. I read all the books, and to me they were quite good. Well, I take that back–they had a lot of “eyebrow-raising” moments. (With the exception of the fact that Bella was needy little brat who couldn’t seem to get her head screwed on straight to save her life…then again, she was a teenage girl.) But this movie REALLY fell flat…it was not good at all. I found myself rolling my eyes every five minutes. The coolest scene was the very end when Bella’s eyes popped open…sets one up very nicely for the next movie.

  18. I’d rather watch the Parodies of Twilight Vampires Suck and Werewolves Bite.

  19. Let’s put aside how good or bad this movie is for just a moment if we may. WHAT’S UP WITH THE FIRST PART OF THE END CREDIT?! WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE (production personnels)?! Did they just discover color in film?! It looks like a B-Movie in the 70′s with stupid technique!! Red, White, Black with Bold Letter?! Am I missing something?! Or did they (again, production personnels)?! I actually heard a group of girls bust out laughing when it was projected!!

    As for the movie itself, why does it still seem like a low budget production (except renting the “Cullen House”)?! Many scenes could’ve been thrown audience into a roller-coaster ride but fell flat instead. Is that the director’s vision?! This is already the 4th installment – “part 1″. With all the previous box office revenue and supposedly a huge fan base, shouldn’t they (again, production personnels) aim to please by now?! Or just throw “3D” in the title of the “4th Installment – Part 2″

    Unbelievable!!

  20. I. Freaking. HATE. the twilight saga!

    it insults the teenagers intellegance by taking what they like to see and twisting it to make the audience think that EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IS PURE LOVE AND AFFECTION! bull. crap!!!

    this movie was screwed up! the other movies were screwed up! the next movie will be screwed up and the books are screwed up!

    it is sick and twisted and knows NOTHING about what its talking about! its extremely padded, the acting is the worst, the science is mind boggling and just does whatever it wants as long as its conveniant for the plot, all of the characters are freaking morons who almost NEVER make the right desicions and the worst part is is that they twisted this up SOOOO MUCH that the audience see’s all the filth and is convinced that its relatable. no woman is as stupid or as selfish as Bella Swan and she is a TERRIBLE example for the teenage viewers!

    heck, Stephanie Myer herself said that if asked by jacob OR edward, she would leave her husband and child for them. GOOD LORD!!! this woman knows NOTHING about commitment or love towards those who most deserve it but thinks she knows everything!

    not to mention, its pretty obvious that considering all the montages in breaking dawn that the movie makers knew they couldnt end twilight right away because of how much money it makes so they decide to make TWICE as much money by splitting a movie in half.

    everything about this series is greedy, twisted, misguided and screwed up!

    okay, rant over.

    • SERIOUSLY!!! you HATE the twilight saga yet you went and watched the film? what was the point? You have undoubtably watched the other 3 films while knowing you hate it, yet you just find yourself wandering to the pictures to see it??? Why, because it was the only film on that day?

      Please for everyone’s sake do not waste your time going to see part 2, But we all know you will!!

  21. WORST MOVIE EVER! I RECOMENED THIS TO NO ONE! iN FACT, i told people NOT to watch this sick excuse for a movie!

    • Have you watched the first 3? you are obviously someone who doesnt like twilight so i wonder why you took the trouble to sit and watch breaking dawn at all?

  22. at this point i’m pissed at all of you haters. read the damn books then watch the movies and compare. you don’t have to nock the whole thing, and i’m pretty sure that half of you “twihaters” sit at home watching the movies. You don’t have to pretend, we all know you have seen the movies and possibly read the books too. and i don’t understand why the movie had to have 2 stars. iit should’ve at least got 4. ughh, yall sicken mee.

    • Couldn’t agree more.

  23. TWILIGHT IS AMAZING!!! I liked all of the Twilights but Twilight Breaking Dawn is the best so far. TWILIGHT is my favourite films. I LoVe THeM AlL!!! Stop hating people. Twilight is AWESOME!!! :) :) :) :) :) :)

  24. do they have sex in this or not i just wonder

  25. I do not understand the hatred for the films, why would you make it to the 4th film if you did not like them??? if you hated the first 2 then stop watching…or is it just me who thinks that?

    Twi-hard lovers will love this film, no they dont manage to get everything in there that we would all like to see, but if you’ve read the books then you know what goes in-between anyway, we all know how it goes.

    If its not for you, then fine, NO ONE is making you watch it…it really iritates the life out of me all these haters.

    Oh and can i point out to the haters….WE all know its fiction, but losing yourself reading a book for a few hours is hurting no one. E really i am getting so annoyed at these reviews, people need to get a life if the only thing they can do is come on here and try and think of every little detail to put the film, books, writers and fans down then you really must lead the dullest life imaginable.

    I hate a few books and films, but i would not dream of going on a site and putting the writers, fans and everything else down, like i say, you need to get a life and leave everyone else alone, we are happy and love the twilight saga…so go and get on with your life and do something you enjoy!!!

    And people who hate Stephanie Meyers writing…stop reading after a few chapters, she hasnt forced you to continue…especially not continue onto the 4th book, and we all know you haters will have!

  26. Stupid film,cheesy lines…”kind is my middle name”….wow just WOW,why is he still there?Bella chose Edward and Jacob is still hanging around like a sappy dog waiting for Bella to throw him bones(grace him with her WORDS),of course I forgot Jacob has nothing better to do with his life than to be bodyguard service for Bella…*sigh*,then in an unexpected twist he’s done pursuing 18 year old Bella for an 18 minute old baby(imprinting whatever it’s still creepy since she’s a baby)…so ridiculous it’s funny.

  27. i looooooooooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee the twightlight series I am doing a book report on one right now

  28. I actualy enjoyed the 1st movie but they have gotten worse. I can’t believe that people had been comparing twilight to harry potter, the writting of hp alone was better. Everyone had been going on how beautiful Bella’s wedding dress was; I think it was ugly, I liked the dress she wore in the dream squence it was way pretier. I wished they showed more interaction with the cullen family and the wolves without bella. Both the wolves and the cullens could have made much better movies then bellas story did. I’m just thankful that theres only one movie left then its over.

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