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When Supernatural Families Root for Abortion

Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part I (2011)
Summary: The Quileutes close in on expecting parents Edward and Bella whose unborn child is believed to pose a threat to the Wolf Pack.
Spoilers: none

Since its transformation from a book series into a movie series, The Twilight Saga has never ceased to attract attention. While much of it has been negative, it is precisely for such reasons that it remains a huge box office grosser and also the subject of much parody.

We’re three years out from the 2008 Twilight. With the coming of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, we saw box office records broken. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse brought a smidgen of respect
(some would say) to a series known for nothing but the same soft-core teen erotica found in every movie of the series. And now, in a fourth movie, we are again taken into the lives of the wolves and the vampires.

Twilight may have done wonders in building and maintaining its fan-base, but this addition to the love-it-or-hate-it series, instead of being a step forward, proves to be a step back. It takes off in a much less tasteful direction. For starters, we get almost no shirtless teen erotica. Surprising! We get the emotional anticipation of “Edward” (Robert Pattinson) and "Bella’s" (Kristen Stewart) wedding and we see it through.

Without surprises, we come to the honeymoon. A still unconverted Bella experiences the conjugal side of marriage with her vampire husband. Reluctant to let loose his passions for fear of physically hurting her, Edward’s restraint doesn’t keep Bella from becoming pregnant. The problem that then presents itself is that her human flesh cannot sustain the pregnancy of a half-human-half-vampire developing at an unnaturally fast rate.

The Quileute wolf pack learns of it and suspects that the child will be a monstrous and dangerous force. They then set out to kill it. This forces a still-heartbroken “Jacob” (Taylor Lautner) to rebel and form his own pack in opposition to his people.

With the Cullen family marked for execution and the question of whether or not Bella should keep the pregnancy, it surprises us to find out that it isn’t the drama that tears at our hearts, but the biologically graphic nature of this film. Some would say the movie should have been aborted.

Breaking Dawn feels nearly like a horror flick. Its performances are embellished artistically, and that in a surprisingly unattractive way. Whereas the previous films wanted to appeal to their target audience, this one seems concerned only with building up drama for the long-awaited moment at the end—an ending that doesn't excite us like it should have.

We don’t feel moved when we are supposed to this time around. We occasionally catch the anger and emotions when not being put off by the supernatural stand-offs and fights that are the only thing in this movie that betrays its juvenile roots as a mainstay for the immature. Were it not for this, we’d say that the will to speak to younger audiences was no longer there.  


The story behind Breaking Dawn isn’t well fortified. It never gives us a chance to understand clearly why the wolf pack comes to the conclusion that a half-human-half-vampire offspring will be a menacing creature, nor are we clear on the details on the Volturi’s involvement in the matter. Perhaps the novel provides better background.

We have to wait a year for part II. The rest of us certainly won’t mind waiting, but I suspect the fans won’t mind, either. They’ll be too busy brushing up on novel details, and when the movie does come out, they will pick it apart comparing notes. I can totally wait.

(JH)

Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13 (for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements)
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: “Edward” (Robert Pattinson), “Jacob Black” (Taylor Lautner), “Billy” (Gil Birmingham), “Charlie Swan” (Billy Burke), “RenĂ©e” (Sarah Clarke), “Phil” (Ty Olsson), “Bella Swan” (Kristen Stewart), “Alice Cullen” (Ashley Greene), “Dr. Carlisle Cullen” (Peter Facinelli)
Genre:  Adventure / Drama / Fantasy
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