New ‘Twilight’ offers fan service, nothing more



Article Published: Nov. 23, 2011 | Modified: Nov. 23, 2011
New ‘Twilight’ offers fan service, nothing more

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1.’



Ever get cornered by someone with a wedding album?

Most people feign interest, nodding along at the generic, staged photos, voicing the occasional “Uh huh,” “Oh, nice” and “Your uncle looks really red in that photo.”

A more honest comment would be “I don’t care,” which would likely strike you from the happy couple’s Taco Night guest list for years to come.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of Old El Paso to go around. The same goes for cheese, as demonstrated by “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.”

The latest installment in the immensely popular and profitable “Twilight” series, “Breaking Dawn” is basically a wedding/honeymoon album for its lead characters.

And like a wedding album, it’s professionally and effectively shot with an obvious attention to detail – arguably one of the most visually appealing entries in the series – but if you don’t care about the people in the pictures, you can’t even fake interest.

“Breaking Dawn” is fan service at its most dutiful.

Devotees of the books will love it, as well they should. They’ve presumably gained a better understanding of what makes these characters tick on the page, something the films have forsaken in lieu of angst-ridden staring set to an indie pop soundtrack.

For those of us who wouldn’t touch the books with a 10-foot, garlic-wreathed wooden stake, that’s what we’re left with – angst-ridden staring, and lots of it. Lots of it. With a capital “L.”
“Breaking Dawn” picks up promptly where its predecessor, “Eclipse,” left off. Protagonist Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, “Into the Wild”) and vampire beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, “Water for Elephants”) are staring at each other, awaiting their impending nuptials.

An elaborately decorated, grandiose, wedding is thrown, series regulars attend and deliver some amusing speeches, and the new couple steals away to a Brazilian honeymoon.

The marriage is awkwardly consummated, resulting in a most improbable pregnancy, which begins draining the life out of Bella, who’s determined to deliver the developing creature even if it kills her in the process.

When lovelorn werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner, “The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl”) gets wind of this, so does his tribe of fellow abnormally sized wolves, who are determined to destroy the unlikely offspring. Fortunately, the Cullen clan finds an ally in Jacob.

A ghastly birthing scene delivers the film’s only modicum of tension and manages to bring a sense of closure to this first installment of the final chapter, but, really, “Part 1” only has about 30 minutes’ worth of story. The remaining 90 minutes are padded with excessive staring sequences set to angst-driven indie pop.

Stewart and Pattinson, whose indifferent performances have plagued the series throughout, seem more at home in their roles, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

They’re comfortable in their mediocrity, failing to deliver any sense of gravitas to their characters, making it difficult for anyone other than devoted fans to appreciate the between-the-lines inaction on screen.

And that’s one of the series’ primary faults. The “Twilight” movies are like a members-only club, serving only to complement the novels and their die-hard fans. Maybe certain scenes work better on the page, but “Breaking Dawn” is bristling with unintentional hilarity, like a pack of computer-generated wolves talking to each other mentally, akin to 1993’s talking dog flick, “Look Who’s Talking Now,” or a dream sequence that could double as a Type-O Negative music video.

There’s simply no sense of the foreboding and terror that inherently belong in a vampire/werewolf flick. In fact, the creepiest part of all involves Jacob falling in love with an infant.

In retrospect, “Twilight” seems like some psychotic, melodramatic soap opera with well-dressed monsters and decidedly less Susan Lucci.

But in all fairness, director Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”) doesn’t have much to work with, tackling a two-film project with one movie’s worth of material.

From a commercial perspective, it’s clever – offering fan service aplenty, while raking in two films’ worth of record-breaking box office success – but for casual viewers, it’s nothing to sparkle about.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,” rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 12-B or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.


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