Breaking Dawn Part One Movie Review
When I see movies based upon books, which is a lot since I love both, I almost always come away thinking that the book is way better than the movie. Since the Breaking Dawn book was my least favorite in the Twilight series I did not have very high hopes for the movie. All of the Twilight movies thus far have been fun and enjoyable but nothing that rocked my socks off. The underlying story made me a devoted watcher but I certainly noticed all the flaws and at times, the bad acting. Breaking Dawn though really did blow me away, with how GOOD it is.
Perhaps the difference is the director, Bill Condon, or the addition of special effects never seen before. Maybe it was the lighter, funnier tone, or the fact that this movie (compared to the first three) actually felt like a sci-fi thriller. I enjoyed this movie immensely though. I was either smiling like a goofball or crying my eyeballs out. It was funny, it was touching, and it was action packed.
The first 1/3 of the movie is the wedding. The setting was gorgeous, the dress was enchanting, and all the different characters really made you “feel” what they were feeling. Charlie is conflicted about losing his daughter, Edward is over the moon happy (something we rarely saw prior), Rosalie is coming to embrace her new sister, Jacob is still painfully in love and trying to do the right thing, Carlisle and Esme are giddy with love and adoration for their new daughter. The whole wedding sequence was long but it really needed to be, to show how each and every character was impacted by this event. At the reception we got to hear everyone make funny toasts which was a nice upbeat change. Jessica couldn’t help but make little digs at Bella for being the one to snag Edward and Charlie couldn’t resist making veiled threats to Edward. We also met new vampires, the Cullen’s extended family, and the foundation was laid for future “issues”.
The second 1/3 of the movie was the honeymoon. It too was long but fans have waited several years for Edward and Bella to finally have their happy ending so I think it was worth it. Of course happy ever after ends in only 2 weeks when Bella finds out she is pregnant. The maid who is so alarmed that one of Edward’s kind is romancing a human was actually kind of a scene stealer. Her disapproving looks were priceless and when she discovered that Bella was pregnant she very ominously declared that this was a death sentence for Bella. Edward, knowing that this older lady did in fact have some experience with vampires, knew she was right.
The last 1/3 of the movie follows the pregnancy, and shows how conflicted everyone is after Bella decides she must keep the child. Everyone (except Rosalie) tries to talk her out of it but she is firm. I really liked how she finally got some courage and stood up to an often times overbearing Edward. On the flip side I also understood Edward’s constant anger towards her. When he told her that she was making all the choices and leaving him powerless in his own life, that she was CHOOSING to leave him, and that he would never be okay with that, I was heartbroken right alongside him. He was put in the position of having to watch her die and being told he needed to be okay with it, when he knew he never could be.
Jacob wrestles with his own feelings but he is helped along by his pack when they decide that Bella and her child have to die. When Sam tells him he needs to submit, he kind of snaps. He breaks off from Sam and makes his own pack. He also decides he will protect Bella at all costs but in the back of his mind he is toying with killing her child if Bella does in fact die. And it isn’t looking good. Through CGI Bella is made to look terrible… like a walking skeleton.
Edward meanwhile finally hears his baby’s thoughts. That may have been the most touching scene of all. Bella is doing better physically after she starts drinking human blood and she and Edward finally decide to make peace with each other and then he hears his child. You can visually see the shift in him from concerned lover to proud father and husband… a man who WANTS a family.
When the big moment comes Jacob and Edward deliver Renesmee and that moment was sort of perfect. Edward takes the baby and holds her up for Bella to see. The pride in Edward is so profound and he can barely pass the baby off to Rosalie such is his newfound love. When Bella fades away and dies shortly after I was crying so hard. She looked like walking death and then she was death. Edward goes into fast action and his furor and emotion was hard to watch. As was Jacob when he went outside and collapsed on the ground for a good cry.
Edward is able to get Bella’s heart beating again but she is peculiarly still and silent. He cannot think about that though because Sam’s wolf pack is coming to kill his child. Jacob gets the same idea in his head and he walks up behind Rosalie holding the infant. Before he can pounce he imprints on her. We hear his own words in a voice over describing what imprinting is. We see Renesmee through the years from baby, to child, to an absolutely gorgeous young woman and we a sense, through these flashes and Jacob’s thoughts that he loves her, this woman he has yet to meet. With new purpose he goes outside to a nasty fight outside that it looks like the Cullen’s will lose. When they discover he has imprinted on Renesmee they leave in defeat, not willing to break their most sacred pact to honor the life mate of their pack members.
The movie closes with shots panning Bella’s body. It slowly heals and regenerates and she transforms into an ethereal beauty. Her heart stops and the whole household pauses and waits. Edward goes to her side and she opens her lovely eyes. We see a flash of those brilliant and slightly terrifying red eyes and then it goes dark.
Whew! What a fantastic ride! As I mentioned it was just the right mix of funny, touching, emotional, tense, and thrilling. It has some pretty amazing special effects to. We finally see and hear the wolf pack talking to each other using their hive mind. We see how they discover Bella’s pregnancy by reading Jacob’s thoughts with a series of picture images and memories. We go inside Bella’s body as the venom spreads and heals her body, cell by cell, and organ by organ. We also get to see how painful and terrifying the venom is, with a a series of scary flashes and terrified screams that are all in her head. She is writhing inside her own paralyzed body. This movie was able to go into greater detail than any of the others by using CGI to say what words cannot.
Of course the greatest testimony to how much I enjoyed it is the fact that I will be seeing it again. Maybe a few times. It was just that good.