“Laughable” probably isn’t the word the creators of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” intended, but it is; laugh, in all the wrong places.
The fourth film in the wildly popular girl-vamp-wolf love triangle series is so serious it’s hard not to chuckle.
The dialogue is, of course, ridiculous and the acting ranges from stiff to mopey. But the moments that should vibrate with tension are usually hilarious because the special effects are still so cheesy.
This latest installment has yet another new director: Bill Condon, a man capable of both panache (“Dreamgirls”) and serious artistry (“Gods and Monsters”), of which you won’t see much here.
And again, werewolves seem oddly out of place with their surroundings. In a technological age where Gollum from the “Lord of the Rings” movies seamlessly blends in with everyone and everything around him, how are such sloppy visual effects even possible?
“Breaking Dawn – Part 1”, the first of two films adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s latest book in the series (with part two coming next year), serves as a placeholder for the ultimate finale but is full of developments to full share. There’s so much going on that you wonder how can there be another whole movie after this one? Alas, there will be.
The first part begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), getting married in a lavish romantic outdoor ceremony. Bella’s childhood best friend and other man in the equation, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner, barely recognizable in his shirt), stops by as a sign of goodwill.
The guests mingle and dance and you have to wonder if they realize the groom and his entire family are undead?
Anyway, finally – finally! “Bella and Edward can have sex, which she always wanted but he was reluctant to do so for fear that deflowering her would kill her, you know. (Yes, the “Twilight” movies and the books that inspired them may be filled with passed out vampires and muscle-bound werewolves, but they’re staunchly pro-abstinence — and, later, staunchly anti-abortion.)
This should be the happiest day of Bella’s life, but she is, of course, nervous and miserable in general. Because she is Bella; Stewart maintains his usual brooding look for most of the shot.
After the ceremony, Edward takes her to a private island off the Brazilian coast to make love to her with a sweet, gentle vampire. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for – and we’re not seeing it. All that’s left the next morning is a broken bed frame, fluffy fluff floating in the air, and a baby growing inside the newlywed. That’s how good Edward is.
From there, “Breaking Dawn” turns into a debate about what to do with this potentially dangerous hybrid spawn. Whether to keep it is never really in question, though it grows at an alarming rate, consuming Bella from the inside and threatening her very life. She waits for the baby to arrive and everyone sits down to chat while Jacob’s werewolf pals hover outside the Cullen Clan’s door, ready to pounce.
The score by Carter Burwell, the veteran composer and longtime collaborator of the Coen brothers, is surprisingly bubbly and intrusive and further undermines the tone of the film.
Twi-hards flood theaters this weekend probably won’t care. This is what they aspire to and it will be music to their ears.