Friday, November 18, 2011

Fans Will Love Breaking Dawn Part 1 – Movie Review

(CLICK HERE for previous chapter.)

Of the entire Twilight Saga, I love the first part of the story in Breaking Dawn the most. So my hopes were cautiously high, wanting so much for the movie version to ‘get it right’ as far as my imagination prescribed.
I am happy and relieved to report that it did not disappoint!
As the Saga progressed, the novels increased in page number. Already a difficult task to translate novel to screenplay in a tidy yet thorough manner, Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final book, will hit the silver screen in two installments. I realize this means the franchise will automatically make more money, but honestly I don’t think the fans mind. Especially if the films can do a good job on the parts that matter, which in the case of Part 1, they did.
This film starts out with the wedding of Edward Cullen, Vampire and Bella Swan, Human. The long-awaited event turns out beautifully, aside from a bittersweet visit from Jacob Black, Werewolf, who happens to be in love with the bride. No one who is in-the-know expects Bella to return from her honeymoon ‘alive.’ The shocker comes when she does come home a living human, but pregnant. Not only pregnant, but appearing several months pregnant after only being gone several weeks. And the half-human/half-vamp growing so rapidly in Bella’s womb is inadvertently killing her.
Fear of the unknown ‘creature’ Bella carries spurs a violent conflict with the werewolves. Jacob still can’t endure the thought of hurting Bella, so he defects from his pack, joining the Cullens in doing all they can to protect and save Bella’s life.
For those not having read the books and therefore unaware of what’s coming, Breaking Dawn Part 1 might startle with its stark messiness. In a word, its themes are serious. Gone are the adolescent dramas of who’s dating, who’s going to prom, who’s failing chem lab. We’ve moved on to marriage, sex, pregnancy, life, death, and destiny.
But for those who’ve read the books and know and love the beautiful intensity of this story, the film succeeds. Without being gross or gory, the ‘messy’ parts, essential in every way, make a forceful impact. While I wouldn’t recommend it for pre-teen eyes due to the adult nature of the subjects at hand, the sensitive scenes are dealt with tastefully without losing credit or watering down the story.
Besides a few minor details that change from book to film, Breaking Dawn stays truest to the series of all the films so far. I only felt that cringe of cheesiness once or twice, far less than when watching the others. Most of the time, I sat riveted, exalting in the parts they got ‘right’ and looking forward to when I can see it again.
Breaking Dawn may not be what you expected, but you might enjoy the surprise.
Thank you, Dry Ground friends, for sticking with me through this series! I can't wait to share with you the inspirational thoughts I have about the Breaking Dawn story. That will appear here sometime in the near future - How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit. In the meantime, Movies You Might Have Missed Mondays returns next week!
Be blessed!