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Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Part 1, The


Stars: Kristen Stewart,Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene

Director: Bill Condon

Films are made for specific audiences, from art house addicts to multiplex millions and everything else between. I know that’s a painfully obvious statement but it’s still something worth restating.

The Twilight movies are a case in point. Their core audience is inevitably made up of devotees of Stephanie Meyer’s bestsellers and their movie versions. On that empirical basis, the latest (and penultimate picture) in the series achieves everything its fans could ask for. Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay, which takes us from Bella/Stewart’s marriage to vampire lover Pattinson, to a sex-driven (in line with the 12A certificate although the marital bed is shown having been reduced to matchwood the morning after) honeymoon on an island off Rio de Janeiro and then through a tormented pregnancy whose murderous foetus (The remark, “It’s just a little baby” is greeted with a cynical “Possibly!”) threatens her life is faithful to the novel.

In my view complaining that fidelity to the source makes for a boring movie is simply criticism for criticism’s sake. The novel’s fans would obviously object to deviations from their favourite opus. Of course a few car chases and maybe a vampire attack on invading extraterrestrials would have livened up the proceedings. Unfortunately Meyer neglected to include any such incidents in her novel and the film follows suit.

Stewart's portrait of her character’s progression from glowing bride to skeletal pregnancy is holding. She is the central character and director Condon rightly concentrates on her and her fate. Pattinson, first seen brooding Byronically in pallid profile, fulfils his role as impregnator/protector while Lautner, werewolf Stewart’s former love object, fulfils his buffed-up expectations by shedding his shirt rapidly to showcase his impressive bodywork before turning into a ravening wolf.

While devoted shocker fans may well be disappointed with the emphasis on character-driven drama rather than special effects extravaganza (although there is a deeply unsettling wedding nightmare at the start), there are man-to-wolf transformations and battles between the vampires and their hairy would-be nemeses. And for those few critics who bothered to stayed on through the end credits, splendidly slimy Michael Sheen appeared to trail the final episode with a wry afterword.

Obviously Twilight fans will be in seventh heaven. Surprisingly (I admit to never having read the books) I was hooked most of the time.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour by deluxe.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 19 Nov 2011