Last night I attended a wedding. Two people from different backgrounds came together with their families to pledge their undying love for one another. It was a pretty standard wedding: bride in white, groom looking pale, drinking, dancing, and the whole shebang. This wedding went on for about 35 minutes, I paid $12.99 to attend and I had to sit through the entire thing, waiting for the payout that I had to believe was going to come later on. The story for Breaking Dawn Part 1 is as follows: Bella and Edward marry, they get pregnant on their first shot (he must have given her a couple extra pumps) and then over the next few weeks everyone camps out at the Cullen mansion trying to figure out if the baby-monstrosity-Immortal Child growing inside Bella is going to kill her before it manages to be born or whether the Wolves will show up and ruin everyone’s day by killing the child before it gets a chance to breath.
BD P1 is the film that promised to finally deliver the goods that were flitting around on the edges in parts 1,2 and 3. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) were finally going to break the vow of celibacy that Edward had placed upon them for the last 3 years and consummate the most animalistic part of their relationship. Bella and Edward were going to have sex. Or that’s what everyone in the theatre was waiting for anyway.
What the movie actually shows us is the wedding, the really boring honeymoon, the extremely graphic birth of a baby, and virtually no sex. In fact they barely touch each other at all. The putting out that I was so eagerly waiting for when I wrote my review of Eclipse doesn’t happen in the form of sex at all. So chaste is Edward that after the first time he and Bella make love (Woody Allen appreciates my use of this term here) Edward refuses to do it again because he gave her some slight bruises and broke the bed frame. They spend the rest of their honeymoon with Edward running very quickly away from Bella and playing chess. This is arguably frustrating to Bella who starts having intense sex dreams caused from the severe case of blue ovaries Edward is giving her. The word sex isn’t even uttered. Not even once. Jacob (Taylor Lautner) comes the closest to saying the word sex but backs away right at the last moment, summing up what the Twilight series has been about: always coming close to something slightly provocative, then turning shyly away lest we see it blush.
The problem with Breaking Dawn (and this has been true of any of the Twilight films) is that the mythos, the world and the characters are not fully realized by Stephenie Meyer and the screen writer, Melissa Rosenberg, is forced to craft a script, quite literally, from someone else’s dream. Because there is hardly any real conflict in the books, there is hardly any real conflict in the films. Sure, some bad things *might* take place, but they never do. No one important is going to die, the wars that seems to be ramping up between clans (werewolf versus vampire and vampire versus vampire) turns out for the most part to be characters standing around, looking menacingly at each other. Most of the conflict in BD P1 is resolved through thoughts that are projected into the other cast members heads, characters rarely have to speak to one another to get things resolved. The actors seem pretty tired with their roles at this point; they feign interest in the overly dramatic scenes of teenage angst but at least seem to be having fun with one another.
Director Bill Condon does his best to keep things interesting in the second half when the movie turns from wedded bliss to horror as we see the baby quite literally sucking the life out of Bella while it tries to survive inside her mortal womb. Guillermo Navarro, long-time collaborator of Guillermo Del Toro, helps when he can with interesting cinematography, and once in a while Breaking Dawn shifts from teen melodrama to (mostly) legitimate horror-fest. Sitting through the first laughable 90 minutes before the horror-fest shows itself however is just not worth the payout in the end.