Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part I | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

November 23, 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part I

**SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the Twilight Series or are unaware of the general story of the series, please do not read this post, as it reveals plots and story information**

I have a love-hate relationship with the Twilight series.

In that, I resisted reading them for a really long time because, in principle, I hated them. Mooshy high school love, with vampires no less?

No thank you.

Then, after the pleading of many of my friends, I was finally convinced to open the first book. I became unfortunately hooked. And then obsessed.  I, too, had Twilight Fever. I tore through the series in record time, and spent the several weeks after in a Twilight-induced druken haze.

You can read about my transition into being a Twilight Convert here.

I could no longer deny my love for Twilight.

And then I watched the movies.

I was stoked to see the movies, as they seemed to have so much going for them: a straight-forward plot to follow, attractive actress and actresses and a huge fan base.  How badly could they mess up filming the books?

A lot, apparently.

Disclaimer: I hated the first 3 Twilight movies.  I will say, each got progressively better than the previous movie.  But in the same way Good N' Plentys have a slight edge over Orange Circus peanuts in the spectrum of all candy: it's an improvement, but in the entire scheme of things, they still suck.

What don't I like about the Twilight movies?  Where do I start? Horrific acting.  I initially attributed this to an inexperienced cast. They overacted, then underacted, then just straight up poorly acted. Twilight, the first movie, is especially horrendous.  I had high hopes for Kristen Stewart, especially because I really like how the character of Bella Swan is written by Stephenie Meyer.  But instead of a shy, perhaps somewhat quirky girl, Kristen's Bella is spasmodic, stuttering, and incapacitated by awkwardness.  Like, no person (human or vampire) could possibly have found her attractive. Because it would beg the question if Bella were actually human or   possibly a robot.  

Robert Pattinson was put in a difficult position: to play the most beloved manpire ever created.  Stephenie Meyer wrote Edward to be the almost perfect love interest.  He does and says all the right things.  Suave, supernaturally gorgeous.  And although he got progressively better in each movie, Rob ruined Edward for me.  Rpatz just didn't have the spark, depth and grace that I had imagined Edward to possess after reading the novels.

And let's not talk about all the hair/wig issues each movie deals with.  Or random plot changes. Or unnecessary story tweaks.  Or the poor directing and crappy script writing. Or the ridiculous amount of uncomfortable awkwardness.  With each movie, I found myself shielding my eyes. Not out of fear, but embarrassment: I was embarrassed for the actors. I was embarrassed for the writers.  I was embarrassed for myself. And anyone in the vicinity.  At times, these movies were just painful to watch.

So, I was again found myself hating Twilight.

I couldn't pick up the books, I numbly watched the movies if they were the only thing on TV.  I resented Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson for making two beautiful characters awkward and ugly.  And I harbored anger toward the team of writers and directors who missed the mark (possibly in their haste to throw up 3 movies in an untimely fashion so as to capitalize on the Twilight craze?) in transforming great books into great movies.

But, I was going to give the Breaking Dawn: Part I movie a chance. I felt like I owed it to the series.

And last night was the Big Night.

Yup, I went to the 8:30 movie on a Monday night. Because that's how I roll. Before the movie, I went to the bulk aisle at Wegmans, stocked up on chocolate covered peanuts and gummy bears, and waited for my friend to arrive.  As I nestled into my theatre seat, I mentally prepared myself for discomfort, for embarrassment, for suppressing giggles, for refraining from eye rolling, and for snide remarks. The previews started (shout out for The Hunger Games and a blind-sidingly attractive Snow White and the Huntman).  And then I braced myself for a potentially uncomfortable 2 hours...

...Which ended up being a surprisingly compelling 2 hours.

I don't know if time and maturity (and a change of directors) has made a difference, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good the movie was.  Now, it's not going to win any Oscars.  But Breaking Dawn is streets ahead of the previous Twilight movies.  Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart seemed to sync with their characters in a way they never had before, and seamlessly performed Bella and Edward.  I was finally captivated by (and convinced of) their love. Bella as a nervous bride whose anxiety melts away as she locks eyes with Edward was priceless.  Charlie, the unemotional father, had tears in his eyes that brought tears to my eyes.  I finally saw the spark, depth and grace that I've always wanted to see Edward have on the big screen.  And Kristen Stewart finally found balance in portraying Bella. It's like it took a few years, but everyone finally settled into their parts.  

Part of that needs to be attributed to the writing as well.  Previous movies in the series had jagged interactions and transitions between characters and scenes, which detracted from my viewing experience.  I feel like the dialogue in Breaking Dawn flowed naturally, and nothing really felt forced.  Sure, it gets a little awkward to watch the Big Sex Scene - but it's kind of like that with any sex scene, am I right? In my opinion, the scene was done tastefully, sharing enough without sharing too much.  Bella's subsequent pregnancy and decline in health was convincing, and Jacob's angst was forceful and believable.

Sure, there were a few less-than-satisfactory aspects to the movie, like when the wolf pack interact as wolves - and you are dealing with voice-overs and animation.  CGI is not the end-all, and with a storyline involving a large amount of supernatural content, you have to do the best with what you are given.  Certain parts can't be overlooked in the storyline , but also won't be done perfectly. Between the wolves and the chaotic and grizzly birth scene, I think the crew did the best with what they were given to work with.  

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. And I hope this means a lot, coming from a girl who truly hated (with a passion) the previous 3 movies.  The wedding (which was endearing - I may or may not have teared up at times) and honeymoon scenes were depicted much like I had imagined them in my mind while I read them. And this movie utilizes songs from the previous soundtracks in really neat ways. 

And can I admit that I kind of want to see it again?  And perhaps the hate-love-hate cycle is on an upward love arc again?

Yes, I know. As Mychal said, hell must be freezing over.

I want to know: 
Did you see Breaking Dawn? 
What did you think? 
What did you like? 
What did you hate?  

I'd love to hear your two cents, so leave a comment!  


  1. OK, first of all Orange Circus Peanuts do NOT suck, they are pure awesomeness! Knowing your feelings on the other movies and how I feel about them (I actually enjoyed them), I'm sure I'll love this one. I can't wait to get away and see it. Thanks for the review.

  2. I could have written most of this post word for word. I haven't read the books, I tried but call myself a Vampire book snob (Huge Charlaine Harris fan (True Blood)). All the movies previous to Breaking Dawn were exactly how you stated, and I was kind of disappointed at how poorly they came across. I never saw them in the Theater though, this time I decided to see it in the theater. It did NOT disappoint, I was unaware that there was directer changes, but it came across in the movie. It had a subtle humor to it which was lacking the last 3 movies, I could feel the love, sadness and despair. I will say there were a few scenes that made me giggle, the biggest being the one with all the wolves and they were talking to each other. What I got out of the movie was the urge to try and read the books again. I cannot wait until the last movie comes out. I want to know what happens to Jacob and Renesmee.

  3. I did not like the books (I couldn't even finish the first one) and the first few movies were "meh"...I just saw Breaking Dawn and...I am a convert! I loved it! I agree with your review completely!!!

  4. so someday i need to read this series. if i had a penny for everytime i've heard someone talk (ooze) about them, i'd be, well, loaded.
    i'm so out of the cool zone.

    (oh and time to read :)

    love ya girl!

  5. I admit it--I read all the books, watched two of the movies, and then was utterly sick of the whole thing.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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