Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -Part 1

The penultimate film in the inexplicably popular Twilight series is probably the worst to date. Having avoided the hordes of mindless team whatever fans on its initial release I finally persuaded myself to sit down and watch the DVD twelve months on. I was unable to get through it in one sitting. The plot is one of the least tortuous and most dull affairs I’ve ever seen. Bella (Kristen Stewart) is marrying Edward (R-Patzzz), much to the distain of Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who shows his anger by ripping off his shirt less than five seconds into the film. Following their seemingly real time marriage which feels longer than most actual weddings I’ve been to, the happy couple go on their honeymoon, first passing through Rio, full of stereotypical dancing Brazilians before ending up on a secluded island. Edward is worrying about hurting Bella during consummation and through a vomit inducing sex montage; they finally consummate their love after all these years. But uhoh!! They must have skipped sex education class as Bella ends up with a baby up all inside her belly. How this happens is beyond me as the father is dead. I was under the impression that dead people had no living cells but somehow Edward’s sperm are alive. Anyway, the baby starts trying to kill Bella and lots of people attempt to save her, despite the fact that she’s one of the least likeable characters in cinema history.

I honestly tried to view this film with an open mind. My girlfriend’s mother loves the series and my girlfriend herself likes them. They’re intelligent women with brains and everything so I tried desperately to find something in the film which was enjoyable, interesting or not ridiculous. Unfortunately I could find nothing. I haven’t read or seen Part 2 (though my girlfriend has and said it was fine) but to me it feels as though splitting the final book was a huge mistake. I’m sure that Temple Hill’s accountants don’t see it that way but the audience is left with half a film and a plot in which nothing happens, slowly. I honestly can’t think of a film with a less interesting plot that couple marry, get pregnant, woman is ill. Especially as you are aware that there is another film to come so all thoughts of Bella leaving the series are removed. The film is also full of bad performances, dodgy CGI and ridiculous plot holes.

CGI wise the wolves look dreadful. For a $110 million film it is inexcusable. A scene in which they talk is also laugh out loud funny. Some of the vampire’s eyes looked terrible in this instalment too and none of them were sparkly despite being outside during the day a lot of the time. There is a sort of dream sequence featuring an imagined daughter of Bella and Edward which also looks painfully bad. What I will say though is that the effects used to make Bella look gaunt and ill were very good and also quite harrowing. They were probably the best thing about the film. The cinematography is also fine but not flashy. Heli-shots of forests will always be pretty and the Cullen house is always a nice space to be inside visually, no matter what angst ridden tales are befalling the inhabitants.

The wedding scene feels longer than The Godfather’s and is painful to watch. It is slow paced and full of bitchiness. The speeches are also ridiculous. I’ve been to my share of weddings and you’ll usually get about 3-4 speeches but here there are about ten, each less funny or entertaining that the last. They are delivered in a montage format which is obviously meant to be light-hearted and snappy before turning romantic but it’s just terrible. Nothing about the wedding or film is fun or pleasing. It’s energy sapping.

The film also had typically dreadful acting. Having seen interviews with the cast recently for the final film it seems obvious that at least two of the leads are totally fed up with the roles and glad that they have finally finished. Robert Pattinson has impressed me in the likes of Cosmopolis but is back to his jarring worst here. His character is meant to be irresistible and strong but he just feels like a wearisome, miserable tool. There is no character there. Kristen Stewart is awful. I’ve described her before as having an acting style that makes her look like she has bees in her ears and is mildly irritated by them. I’ve never seen a good performance from her. Taylor Lautner is like a child who has thrown his dummy out the pram. He is probably the worst of the three actors but at least manages to keep his shirt on for the most part. Hopefully the cast will prove me wrong as they leave these pathetic roles behind them.

The worst aspect of the film is its plot holes. Lautner will turn into a werewolf, ripping all his clothes off but appear as a panting human in the next scene, obviously just transformed but with different clothes on. Unless he has a secret werewolf pocket with spare t shirts I don’t know where he gets the clothes from. The biggest plot hole is the whole pregnancy thing but I’ve mentioned that. There is an excruciating scene featuring a Brazilian housekeeper who just happens to know all about human-vampire pregnancy. I wanted to yell at the TV when she comes along spouting all her mystical knowledge. Perhaps the most ridiculous hole is the Cullen house mobile hospital. My understanding is that they are all vampires yet they have a fully functioning hospital in one of their spare rooms! I thought that maybe they went out and got the equipment but they’re all complaining that they can’t go outside to hunt or the werewolves will eat them. So either they snuck out to buy a hospital but didn’t get any food or already had a fully functioning hospital inside their house despite none of them even being alive. It. Is. Preposterous.

You’d think by now I’d have complained enough but there is more. The soundtrack is one of the worst I have ever heard. It is chock full of mushy, wishy-washy, sickening soft rock ballads and overly obvious plinky-plonky piano riffs which infuriated me. It’s dire. The final thing which really bugged me is the film’s pro-life message. The series has a habit of making Christian Right messages of abstinence etc and this film concentrates on an anti abortion message. The thing growing inside Bella is basically going to kill her but she is adamant in her desire to keep it. For a film which I am constantly told is a feminist story, the message this film pushes on its tween girl audience is horrible. It basically tells its audience that no matter what happens during your pregnancy, you must go through with it until the end, even if it kills you and causes a war between werewolves and vampires.

Overall you can probably tell that I wasn’t overly keen on this movie. The plot is slow, dull and like a giant ridiculous colander through which all sense and fun drains down the plughole. The performances are painfully terrible and its CGI, soundtrack and message are abysmal. I can’t wait for part two…        

      GFR 6/10         

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