Taking a page out of the Harry Potter playbook, the soon-to-expire Twilight Saga is extending itself by splitting the last of Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romance novels into two screen adaptations. However, the first, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, represents a striking departure from the earlier episodes, cinematically, being more of a campy soap opera than a spine-tingling horror flick.
So, instead of generating its typical tension via the fog-enshrouded specter of bloodthirsty vampires locked in combat with rabid werewolves, this cheesy spoof of the genre trades in puns and inside jokes ostensibly aimed at the legions of loyal fans of the review-proof franchise. This installment picks up where the previous one left off, namely, with the engagement of 18 year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) to Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a century-old vampire able who can pass for her contemporary.
While her clueless parents (Billy Burke and Sarah Clarke) and the terminally-creepy Cullen clan have no problem with the impending wedding, the same can’t be said about teen werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who is conspicuously-absent after losing the competition for the bride-to-be’s affection. But the rest of the couple’s high school classmates do attend, including jealous Jessica Stanley (Anna Kendrick) who does her best to ruin the reception, between spreading a vicious rumor about Bella’s already being pregnant and inappropriately suggesting during a toast that Edward should have fallen for her instead of Bella, ha-ha.
Once each of their guests has had a chance to make a wisecrack or a tongue-in-cheek remark, the newlyweds depart for a remote island near Rio de Janeiro for what’s supposed to be a magical honeymoon. Unfortunately, vampires and humans apparently weren’t meant to mate and Bella’s deflowering brings out the beast in Edward who delivers his demon seed with an unbridled passion which leaves the hotel room in shambles.
Bella soon misses her period and finds herself facing a moment of truth when she realizes that she’s carrying a rapidly-developing fetus destined to destroy her unless aborted. What to do? What to do? A cross-species cliffhanger to be answered in episode 5, although you’ll get a big hint by sticking around for a closing credits postscript.
Suggested solely for Twilight diehards, this underwhelming, unfunny melodrama amounts to little more than an uneventful setup for next year’s grand finale.
Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality, disturbing images, mature themes and partial nudity.
In English and Portuguese with subtitles.
Running time: 117 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment