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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 | Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson | Review

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  2_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Twilight:  Breaking Dawn Part 1 | Kristen Stewart | Robert Pattinson | Taylor Lautner | Review

There are two audiences for Twilight films:  the general population and the True Fans, usually young females with a passion for the “swept away” approach of the books in regard to boy/girl dynamics.

Because of this, my review will be bifurcated to accommodate both populations.  The True Fan (TF) review will appear in italics.  Everything else is aimed at the unknowing general population that may have wandered into the theater looking for a vampire/werewolf flick.

The fourth installment of the franchise is also its penultimate chapter in the continuing sage of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) and starts with their long-awaited marriage.  Long-time rival Jacob (Taylor Lautner) does not take the news well.

Oh my God, Bella’s so lucky.  Even if Edward’s a vampire, love is better than life and having a guy care for you is better than being human.  Two cute guys that want you – it’s a dream come true – even if they are genetic mutants!

An over-the-top, elegant wedding attended by beautiful people in an amazing outdoor setting (the Cullens’ backyard) leads to a secret honeymoon on a private island off the coast of Brazil.

How romantic!  Edward breaks the bed.  What passion!  Bella’s so lucky!

And then Bella becomes surprisingly, utterly, perplexingly, pregnant.

Wow!  She’s having his baby!  Now that’s love!

This is a precedent whose consequences no one can predict.  What does a half-vamp look like?  How fast does it grow?  Edward and Bella are scared.  Bella is secretly pleased.  The Cullen clan rallies round the couple.

I wish I were so protected and loved and carrying my vampire husband’s child.  That Bella – how lucky can you get?

The wolf clan has other thoughts.  Jacob’s already pissed at Edward for winning/marrying and eventually converting/killing Bella, but his fur-covered family is really in a tizzy over the impending birth, using words like demon and being very harsh about their plans for it.  Jacob holds out on the attack plans because of his feelings for Bella.

Jacob will never stop loving Bella!  He’ll go against his family to save her.  Everyone loves and protects Bella.  How can one girl be so special?  Can that girl ever be me?

You will get to see Bella look beautiful, sick, dying, dead, beautiful again, abused, scarred, bloodied and bruised.  You will never see Edward or Jacob be anything but blindly in love with her.  They want to save her so badly that she ends up looking like the loser in an MMA battle.  Oh and the fetus is pretty brutal to her as well.

How can I get what Bella has? She doesn’t even have to look pretty for those two guys to want her and protect her.  It’s so romantic!  They are so hot and they both want her!  Please let that happen to me – I won’t mind the blood and the pain, really.

To her credit, Kristen Stewart smiles more in this installment than any other.  The perpetual gravitas remains, however, making each line of dialogue So. Very. Important.  Robert Pattinson is once again brooding and serious and controlling, and Taylor Lautner emits a seething glare in scene after scene of testosterone-driven frustration.

Breaking all this sexual tension is an intrusive soundtrack of dreamy ballads that spout poetic love lyrics in an attempt to make everything hip and deep, when all it really does is immerse whole scenes in hip-deep schlock.  Perhaps its purpose is really to cut out groan-inducing dialogue, so maybe a debt of gratitude is in order instead.

Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) goes right for the teen girl jugular with his three leads and their melodramatic personas.  Perhaps he got the swoon-inducing formula just right for the TF crowd, but many others will be bored, impatient, and even worse, smirk-prone.

The wildly popular Stephenie Meyer novels appeal to lots of girls trying to sort out emerging and embryonic emotions about themselves and peer relationships, especially those with significant others.  Female pain (emotional and physical) coupled with male domination is a huge component of love here and that may be Meyer’s most unintended, yet damaging, gift to her fans.

Love shouldn’t have to hurt to be real.

It would be more gratifying if the dawn could break with doing the same to Bella.

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