The Reel Deal with Missy & Molly ‘Breaking Dawn Part I’: Broken record or heartbreaking romance?

By Missy Katner

Lumen Assistant Editor

&

Molly Grosskreutz

A&E Assistant Editor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks…and by that I don’t mean our upcoming winter break/the arrival of Christmastime. I mean the wedding event of the decade, ladies and gentlemen: the union of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. It’s been a long time coming. Three movies over three years, to be exact.

Directed by Bill Condon, “Break­ing Dawn Part I” is the second-to-last installment of the “Twilight” saga. The story focuses on the wed­ding ceremony, honeymoon, and unexpected pregnancy of the iconic couple, played by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Do these mon­umental events live up to the expec­tations of the millions of Twi-hard fans? 

MG: Let me start out by saying that I went into the theater expecting the worst. I quietly resent the series, and resent(ed) the actors who earn millions of dollars for playing these cliche roles even more. I was so underwhelmed by the first movie, I avoided the following two. But this movie stunned me. I found myself completely enraptured from the very beginning.

MK: I also had low expectations. The previous movies about a vam­pire who falls in love with a human were laughable. On top of that, “Breaking Dawn” is usually consid­ered the worst of the book series.

MG: It’s true that the entire foun­dation of this series could be con­sidered a dime store romance, but to my utter surprise, this movie played symphonies on my heartstrings. The wedding ceremony is enchant­ing and immediately endearing, ef­fectively playing into every young woman’s romantic fantasies, what with the mossy overhangs and rus­tic benches. Kudos to the staging department for putting on the best fake wedding I’ve seen in years. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be the bride! And being whisked away via speedboat to a private island honeymoon? Do you lack a roman­tic bone, Missy?!

MK: It’s a very serious medical con­dition! Yes, yes, the wedding set was beautiful. The gown was gorgeous. Good job design team. And some­how, as soon as Bella walks down the aisle, the wedding transforms from magical to miserable. Star power, indeed.

MG: I concede that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson won’t be win­ning any Oscars for their respective performances in this film. However, they did what they were hired to do—be faithful to their characters and to their fans. You can’t deny that a great deal of chemistry exists between them. Even Stewart man­ages to convey that.

MK: Maybe photo-chemistry… I don’t hate these actors. They are not very talented, but both have a quiet quirky draw. If handled cor­rectly, they might have come across interesting rather than repressed. They just stand around awkwardly, not saying anything as if the direc­tor and writers called in sick every day. Pattinson gives his usual too-intense performance as the vampire Edward but finally succeeds in mak­ing him seem less creepy and con­trolling than previous films.

MG: I agree with that, and I also found Stewart far less annoying than in past films, having signifi­cantly dialed back her angst. I ap­preciated that.

MK: Stewart has gotten better, but she is still frustratingly inarticulate and gloomy. In this movie, Bella is a pregnant girl trying to defend the half human-half demon fetus that is killing her. As soon as she forms this decision, the other characters whine and stamp their feet. It annoys me that everyone disregards all of her opinions, and annoys me even more that Bella’s plans are always com­pletely idiotic.

MG: Unrealistic and melodramatic, yes, but this installment of the fran­chise does at least address grown-up problems such as marriage, unexpected pregnancy, and commit­ment. It was refreshing to see these characters deal with actual, relatable problems for once.

MK: I have a serious problem, not with the themes, but with how they are presented to the target audience. There are some disturbing things at work. Most pre-teen girls will gush about how pretty Bella’s dress is and how cool Edward’s hair looks. What if they also take away that women are passive or domestic abuse is okay as long as the victim seems okay with it? Here, it stops being cute.

MG: Spoiler Alert! When Bella transforms into a vampire, I was pleased to see some experimenta­tion with editing techniques. It was edgy and didn’t seem too contrived.

MK: In this scene, the filmmak­ers took the most liberties from the book. I thought it was the best bit in the movie. Sidenote: This movie was expected to be R-rated, but it was rated PG-13 instead. In my opinion, the two excited 10-year-olds sitting next to me were very young for the content. There were some lengthy sex scenes. And I was disgusted when the graphic birthing scene turned into something out of a late night horror flick (hey, we’re finally watching a “vampire” movie though).

MG: Haha, my impression exactly. I’ve read that the birthing scene was one of the most difficult scenes to di­rect, because it’s such an odd event. Again, I think this scene in particu­lar was a good example of how the franchise is taking more risks. To me, the risks pay off.

MK: For as much money as this franchise has made, the fourth film in the “Twilight” series should have attained the most basic level of cin­ematic quality. I sincerely hope this is not the romance of the decade. I expect more from Hollywood and I wish “Twilight” fans would, too. Go see “The Muppets” instead.

MG: No! This film is worth watch­ing. Never in a million years did I suspect that I’d be sitting here de­fending this movie against haters like you (and my former self), but here I am. Despite its many pitfalls, I kind of loved this movie. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good love story (get it?).

Final Verdict:

MK: Thumbs down.

MG: Thumbs up.

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