The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (Blu-ray)
After four films, the problems with The Twilight franchise should be fixed by now. But non Twi-hards are going to have to accept that Robert Pattinson will continue to portray Edward as if every single line of dialogue is his last, dying breath and Kristen Stewart’s answer to every emotion is to open her mouth and look surprised. In previous films, I haven’t been able to get past those things because the story was either poor or non existent. But THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 has something going for it that none of the prior films had; an actual plot point that justifies the intensity the actors are trying to show onscreen.
We pick up with the love triangle as various members of their family and community get Bella and Edward’s wedding invitation. Which by the way, seems odd that Bella’s mother didn’t know about the wedding until she got her invitation, but that’s nitpicking when it comes to these films. Anyway, Jacob (Taylor Lautner, who continues to be the bright spot in the series) is not happy and his angst/fear for Bella comes to a head when he finds out that Edward is going to give “it” to Bella before he turns her into a creature of the night. That brings us to the honeymoon and after the deed is completed, we learn that Bella is pregnant and that the hybrid vampire/human/demon is killing her from the inside. Bella seems cool with the demon child, but as it turns out, everyone else is either scared for her or scared that the abomination is going to destroy the earth.
This brings up the aforementioned plot point, which will eventually be Renesmee (the female child of Bella and Edward). Jacob breaks free from the pack (in a very strange wolf showdown in which we hear voices, but no lips move) in order to protect Bella from his former pack. At the point where Jacob goes rogue, the movie actually works. I bought into the different sides arguing about the demon child and I found Jacob’s relationship with his pack to be fascinating. And with something to actually react to, the actors involved all seemed to turn their game up a notch (it helped that K-Stew was reduced to laying in bed). Prior to that point, the film moved at a snail’s pace, milking each moment for as much and as long as they could.
I was a little disappointed with the anti-climatic feel of the moment when Jacob imprints on Renesmee. First, I thought it would be more dramatic and second, I was bothered that no one seemed bothered that the twentysomething Jacob just imprinted on a baby. I’m not sure where they’re going with that, but if Stephenie Meyer does write a fifth book, I hope she furthers that relationship in the most un-creepy way possible. I also would have liked a more epic, grand scale showdown between vamps and wolves and it was frustrating that everything seemed to be dropped so easily. I understood why, thanks to Edward verbalizing it, but I really wanted more to happen than to see everyone just walk away.
If you weren’t on board with the Twilight films before Breaking Dawn, then I doubt you’ll be on board with them after. I think it fits nicely in with the first two sequels (the original is a mess all on its own) and should at least pacify fans until Part 2 comes out. Aspects of Bella and Edward still frustrate me and I wish Pattinson and Stewart did more with them, but I have to sheepishly admit that I’m curious to see where all of this is going.
Video: Say what you want about the films, but the video quality from Summit is top notch. The black levels are near perfect and given how incredibly dark the picture is, that’s important.
Audio: The audio might even be better and the 7.1 lossless audio truly envelops the audience. Very impressive all around.
Commentary with Bill Condon: Condon does great commentaries and this is one of his best. He deep dives into just about everything you’d want to know about the film and even dishes on some details of THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2, which I know will excite some fans.
Love, Death, Birth – Filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (86:41): This is a six part documentary that covers the entire filmmaking process, from getting the cast back to filming all the scenes. I don’t consider myself a fan of the series, so I was bored at times, but true fans will love it.
Jacob’s Destiny (7:16): The cast talk about Jacob’s evolution as a character. This was a little too close to a fluff piece for me and would have been better served in the longer documentary.
Bella and Edward’s Personal Wedding Video (8:30): This was kind of cute in the sense that it’s shot like a real wedding video, including some wedding wishes from various guests.