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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

“Breaking” Bland


“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part One” is hard to feel strongly about. The story and characterization are terrible, but the movie is so well crafted that it balances everything into something that’s just bland.

            The opening shot  is of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) doing what he does best: angrily ripping off his shirt and exposing his amazing physique. It’s the only time, which is a shame since the movie would have been better with more scenes like that.

            The movie begins where most stories end, with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) being wed to her one true love, the achingly beautiful vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). After the wedding, the two go on a honeymoon to Edward’s private island, during which Edward manages to impregnate Bella. Conflict arises as Bella’s pregnancy may kill her, while a group of werewolves at the local Indian reservation (including Bella’s unrequited love Jacob) become extremely concerned about the baby and contemplate a pre-emptive attack.

            If you have half a brain, you can see that this plot is ridiculous, yet it is essential to the adaptation. Director Bill Condon, who also directed “Dreamgirls,” does a great job at fixing what he can. He also managed to fix problems with the previous movies.

            First, the film’s music was dramatically improved from previous installments, which often used great alternative and indie songs at completely inappropriate moments. In “Breaking Dawn,” there’s a nice balance of a score by Carter Burwell and acoustic pop music. While I dislike how Burwell’s score tends to emotionally lead scenes, it’s preferable to good music that emotionally clashes with scenes.

            The cinematography and art direction are also quite nice. As a lot of the “Twilight” novels tend to be conversation-oriented, Condon decided to have those take place in visually interesting locations. For example, a big argument between Jacob and the other werewolves takes place in some lumber yard by a river. It’s a visual feast.

            Sadly, not every issue was resolved. The movie’s weakest visual effects are seen with werewolves, who look silly and out of place. Edward’s super speed also looks stupid enough to undermine the dramatic tension in the scene where Bella discovers that she’s pregnant.

            Speaking of Bella, Stewart’s performance still manages to derail the movie. Despite being the main character, Stewart still seems rather disengaged, working her way through scenes as though she just doesn’t care. This may be related to the character of Bella Swan in the books being rather boring. However, Pattinson manages to give Edward, who is similarly dull, just the right amount of creepiness based on his interpretation of the character.

            On the other hand, I can’t point out whether Lautner’s performance or Stephanie Meyer’s characterization is the reason why I intensely dislike Jacob Black. Lautner looks good, but he plays Jacob with this whiny attitude that makes him off-putting.

            Also, the movie doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. Almost all of the plot threads introduced are resolved, and if there wasn’t a “Part One” in the title one can be forgiven for assuming the entire story was wrapped up with this movie.

            “Breaking Dawn – Part One” is neither good nor bad. It’s nice to look at, but it’s hard to emotionally connect with thanks to the performances of the leads. Ultimately, it’s worth a matinee ticket but it’s rather unmemorable.

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About the Contributor
John Kesler
John Kesler, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2012. Staff member, fall 2011.

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“Breaking” Bland