Breaking Dawn – Part One (12A)
Release date: Friday November 18
Cast: Kristen Stewart (Adventureland, Panic Room) Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Water For Elephants), Taylor Lautner (New Moon, Abduction).
Director: Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters)
Screenwriter: Melissa Rosenburg – script (Eclipse, Step Up ), Stephanie Meyer – novel (Twilight Saga)
Running Time: 117 mins
There’s a moment midway through Breaking Dawn: Part One, the latest in the mystifyingly popular Twilight franchise, that seems like a weird apology for wife beating. Having endured their wedding night, Bella and new hubbie Edward look over fresh bruises on her body caused by rampant Vampiric love-making. Admittedly the fanged one looks ashamed, but quickly the put-upon missus is making excuses for the marks singing the abused spouse medley of, “It’s not what it looks like” and, “He loves me really”.
But, and this is a huge but, this moment is nowhere near the most disturbing, shocking and down right weird moment in a film that will, by its climax, have you wondering if your popcorn has been spiked with hallucinogenic cheese.
The plot – as far as it has one – sees Edward, after three films of teasing with his cock, finally relenting and taking Bella up the aisle. Warned by wolfy Jacob that if the couple boink before she’s turned into a vampire things might get a little unpleasant for her undercarriage, Bella spread her legs regardless. Needless to say, sex equals badness and before you can say “Shit! I’ve fallen asleep and someone has spiked my popcorn with hallucinogenic cheese”, Bella’s belly is bursting with an unknown life-form.
There is a more than probable chance that this reviewer was entering SlumberTown before the final third of Breaking Dawn, conjuring up an ending that better resembled Saw III than a modern day teen love story, because what comes before the madness storm is as calm and relaxing – read deathly boring – as a trip to a Swiss clinic.
Not that this is in any way a hindrance to the enjoyment of the faithful. A wedding scene, stretching to what feels like an hour of the running time, is exactly why every screen will be packed to capacity for the next few weeks. Twilight fans just want to be in the company of their on-screen friends, drooling at Edward in a tux, chuckling along to bad wedding speeches. They don’t require the ridiculous things us mortals crave like plot or drama or something, anything to just fucking happen.
Yet this snail riding a tortoise build-up makes the climax even more of skin-pinching, open-mouthed shock/treat as – SPOILER ALERT – the baby all up inside Bella decides to come and play. In what will go down (forgive the word choice) as the least 12A moment in the history of the classification, Edward takes midwifery lessons from Hannibal Lecter and eats the baby out of his beloved’s snatch. And by eat out, I don’t mean he devours the baby, but rather his teeth are the instrument he uses to perform the extraction of the newborn. Quite.
Throw in some disturbingly one sided pro-life opinions, deeply troubling religious under and overtones and it’s enough to start a ‘Down With This Sort Of Thing/Careful Now’ campaign. After all, the audience not only contains many an impressionable youth but the film relies on said youth as its main demographic. Praise the lord then that nobody, and we mean nobody, is taking any of it the least bit seriously, with embarrassed giggles and flat out laughter as widespread to the cinema audio as the twee soundtrack.
Breaking Dawn may just be the best comedy/horror/love story of the year. The problem is there’s a good chance it’s only trying to be one of these things. Fans will lap it up regardless, while non-believers should try bailing with about 10 minutes left and convince themselves there is no Part Two. Do this and it’s actually quite an amazing experience.