The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One
Rated: PG-13 :: Released: 18 November 2011
Director: Bill Condon :: Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner
By Preston Nelson
21 November 2011 — Within the last 24 hours I experienced something that I would not wish on any other human being. Something profoundly wrong, disturbing, and sickening. Something that offended me as a man, as a horror fan, as a geek, and as a viewer of movies. I am speaking of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One. Until now, my experience with the Twilight franchise had been mostly osmosis; I've heard about it, I've had girlfriends see the films, but I'd never directly experienced them myself. As a geek, there's been a certain level of vitriol directed at the series due to its quality and the actions of its fans. And yes, because of my affection for a certain other series starring a vampire with slightly ridiculous hair, I have even jumped on that train myself. But all the same, while I knew it wasn't for me, I never actually bore the series any ill will. If people will pay to watch it, go nuts; it's not hurting anyone. I apologize, that was wrong of me. I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.
Before I start, let me get a few things out in the air. One, there will be spoilers here. And frankly, if you're reading this article on this site, the odds of you actually wanting to see this movie are minimal. Two, I am well aware that I am not the target, but I am still among the thousands (likely millions) of husbands, fiancés, brothers, boyfriends, and sons dragged into the theater to watch this thing. (Admittedly, I went of my own volition, because I'm too nice to let the better half sit through a movie alone.) And three, as the leading expert on Earth-2.net about vampires with ridiculous hair, I believe I'm uniquely qualified to handle this film. There are men on this site that make a damn good show of tearing apart shitty movies, but this one, this one is mine.
For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, Twilight is the story of a girl named Bella Swan, played by a picture of Kristen Stewart's face glued to a mop. She falls in love with a boy named Edward Cullen, played by the potato-faced Robert Pattinson. But, as these things go, there's a shocking twist: Edward is a vampire! And he and his vampire family, consisting of models in pale makeup, heavy lipstick, and CGI-altered eyes, are the good vampires, I guess. They don't eat people, just animals. And then Bella kind of falls in love with Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner's abs. Of course Jacob and the rest of his tribe are the werewolves that have pledged to protect humanity from the vampire menace. Basically, the entire premise of the series is Underworld meets Pretty in Pink with terrifying misogynistic overtones, and if Ducky wanted to rip Blaine's head off with his teeth. Being the extremely lucky person that I am, I managed to hop on for the very special wedding episode, between Edward and Bella.
For me to give this thing the thrashing it so soundly deserves, I need to take a short break here, because there are three things I do need to praise, and I don't want any positivity to leak into my review later on. One, the settings are, by and large, gorgeous. The Washington mountains and woods, the wedding sequence, and the South Atlantic island are all beautiful and very nicely shot. Two, Bella's father (Billy Burke) is genuinely hilarious in a couple of scenes. Three, Carter Burwell is a great composer, and his score, while not as inspired as his work with the Coen brothers, is extremely competent. Here ends the positive part of the sermon.
Our movie begins with Jacob Black opening a piece of mail, and flying into a rage. He then runs off into the rain, taking his shirt off. I can't even make a joke about this. It's just too easy. The mail he receives is an invitation to the wedding of the year, the teenage Bella Swan to the century-old Edward Cullen. We're then treated to 20 minutes of nothing happening, as Bella prepares for the wedding, aided by some short-haired girl that the movie never bothers to introduce because this is the fourth movie — screw you, new people. Then Bella has some kind of stylized nightmare that looks like her wedding, but she and her blood-sucking lover end up on top of a pile of her friend and family's bodies. You see, apparently, Bella is going to become a vampire post-wedding, so she's all freaked out. Then Edward admits that he was basically Dexter Morgan in the 1920s — killing murderers so he could feed on them. The next exchange goes as follows:
Edward: I'm telling you this because I'm worried about what will happen when you become a vampire.
Bella: I understand.
Edward: Because the transformation is hard, I don't know how you'll handle it.
Bella: I can do it, because you did it. You know, despite the fact that we're two completely different people with totally different experiences. I mean, I've never really dealt with any hardship outside of my parent's divorce, but I'm totally unique and beautiful and awesome and stuff.
Admittedly, this is not verbatim, but it's how I took it. We move to the wedding, where Academy Award-nominated Anna Kendrick shows up to play some shallow skank, and my hopes die some more. Then, Christian Carmargo rolls up, and I'm back to thinking about the first season of Dexter instead of this. Seriously, movie, do you have to destroy everything I love? During the wedding reception Billy Burke is at his most hilarious, giving his father-of-the-bride speech, but any good will I've accrued is quickly sent to hell when Edward gives the worst line in the history of film. And yes, this one is verbatim: "No measure of time with you will be enough. But let's start with forever." I could almost forgive this one if it was just Edward and Bella alone, in a tender moment. It would still be bad, but I could take it. But no, this is his goddamned toast at his wedding reception. I'm no expert on oration, but I'm pretty sure saying those words out loud, in front of actual people, causes Winston Churchill to rise from his grave to heckle you. If that phrase was a living thing, it would be the bacteria that causes bloody stool. Then Edward takes Bella away from their wedding reception to reveal that Jacob had come to see them off. Edward then leaves his new wife alone in the woods with the super-strong wolfman that hates his guts and is clearly still in love with Bella. Jacob and Bella dance, I guess, and then it's revealed that Bella is going to — gasp — have sex on her honeymoon! Jacob is taken aback, because she plans to do this as a human, and Edward's super-vampire penis will likely kill Bella with too much sexin.
I shit you not. This is the central conflict of the film. Will Edward's penis kill Bella? Spoiler for a couple of paragraphs ahead: it totally does.
Edward and Bella then whisk away to their honeymoon, to a private island where they finally consummate their relationship, to the joy of the psychotic old woman who was seated behind me. The sex is apparently rougher than Edward thought, as Bella is covered in bruises the next morning. Like the Stockholm Syndrome case she is, Bella is totally fine with this, despite the fact that Edward is totally freaked out. She then spends the rest of the honeymoon in a "Fuck me, Edward" montage, which ends with Edward and Bella fucking again. Edward goes hunting the next morning, and Bella throws up during breakfast, realizing instantly that she's pregnant with Edward's freak baby. The movie was boring up until this point, now it just goes off the friggin rails.
The freak baby is a bit of a controversy. Jacob's tribe wants to murder it, some of Edward's family isn't convinced it'll be for the best, and even Edward himself has doubts after a somewhat disturbing Google image search. Throw in the fact that the pregnancy makes Bella go from being a mop to being a mop that is also a cancer patient as it ravages her body, and you have a compelling argument for terminating the pregnancy. I'm a very pro-choice person, but even the most staunch pro-lifer would likely be convinced that in this case (the case of an immortal demon baby that is sucking the life from its mother), an abortion would probably be okay. Despite all this, the clinically insane Bella Swan refuses to even consider the notion. Like the brainwashed puppet that she is, Bella just repeats that "Everything will be fine," despite the fact that Edward's father, a doctor with hundreds of years of experience, tells her that she will die if she goes through with this. Shortly before the pregnancy, the child kicks. This shatters Bella's spine. Graphically. Right on screen. Okay, seriously, what the fuck, movie? While Dr. Dad and his wife are out hunting, Bella goes into labor as the werewolves move in on the Cullen house. In a better film, this would be tense. In this one, it's the only action sequence, and it's awful.
The Cullen family fights the werewolves, and somehow I'm bored by five minutes of vampires punching werewolves in the face. In the delivery room, Edward can't cut through Bella's uterus with a scalpel for some reason, and the emergency C-section isn't going as planned. So, like a sane and rational person, Edward decides to chew through her vagina. He delivers a healthy, normal-looking baby girl. Due to the extreme pain and dementia brought on by massive blood loss, Bella names the child Renesmee, which isn't even a fucking name. Edward turns Bella into a vampire, Jacob psychically links himself to the newborn, his tribe leaves, and the movie mercifully ends.
The pacing of Breaking Dawn is clearly made to spread a book in which nothing happens into two movies. The CGI, of which there is a ton, is terrible. And the acting, fuck me, the acting. Robert Pattinson is clearly channeling Harrison Ford in Star Wars. By that I mean he seems like a pretty decent actor that is just disgusted by the lines he has to say. Taylor Lautner is an impressive physical specimen, but due to his boyish voice and the fact that his character's reaction to everything is to run away or cry, it's hard to get into the character. The mop that plays Bella does a fine job of being a mop, lying there, never emoting, letting the other actors say things about what a special mop it is and how they have to protect that precious, precious mop.
I'm just going to say this: thematically, this movie sickens me. The fact that Bella is willing to give up her friends, family, and her mortal life to be with Edward is fucked up. The way she completely ignores medical advice, because it will all just be okay, is fucked up. The whole relationship between Bella and every other character is fucked up. Edward, Bella, and Jacob are the most boring characters in the film; they're completely self-obsessed and whiny. I have infinitely more interest in the other members of the Cullen family and the other werewolves. Hell, I'd rather watch a movie called Charlie Swan: Small Town Cop. More than anything, the psychotic misogyny that this franchise has somehow brainwashed women into believing is romantic is the worst thing about these movies.
This is the worst movie I've ever seen. At least the Saw movies can be laughed at, and Plan 9 and Manos have elements of joy. Breaking Dawn is the single most joyless film I've ever seen.
I've heard a lot of things about these movies, and none of them have been favorable. And now, I get it. What I don't get is why women want this. Why is this appealing? I mean, I don't understand why women want to be a mop that marries a vampire.
Wait, Bella is supposed to be a person? Not an inanimate object that everyone else talks about? Motherfucker. That's messed up.
This film is a 0 out of 10.