By Jenelle Tortorella
Finally, we’ve reached the last installment of what could arguably be called the most popular love story of Generation Y: Twilight.
Breaking Dawn is the final page-turning, vampire-loving, werewolf-fighting book in Stephanie Meyer’s saga that not only flew off the shelves, but has many a person, young and old, male and female, asking themselves one simple question: Team Edward or Team Jacob?
The books-turned-successful-movie franchise have followed heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), her undead love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and best wolfy friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), as the trio navigates the realms of mythical creates, forbidden love, and, now, a wedding. The producers of the film wisely chose to split the fourth novel into two movies, giving themselves more time to develop plotlines; despite that, if you haven’t read the books or seen the previous films, you’re going to be lost.
Although many people I’ve spoken with disagree, the first part of the movie is my favorite. Maybe it’s because I was tired of the brooding, teenage-angsty mood that so dominated the first three movies, and finally wanted to smile while watching these films. The wedding is light, joyous, and at times funny. Bella’s father Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) yet again steals any scene he’s in. There’s some minimal drama — a given with any family gathering — but it’s done well, muted, behind the scenes, and not attention grabbing. I actually prefer the way the opening to Breaking Dawn Part 1 was done in the film more than it was explained in the book; you’re able to get out of Bella’s head and enjoy a truly beautiful wedding.
We then follow our lovebirds to South America as they begin a honeymoon unlike many: we’re unsure if Bella is going to make it past her wedding night alive — one of the many dangers of marrying a vampire. Spoiler: she does, although the headboard of the bed frame doesn’t. While the backdrop of Isle Esme is breathtaking, I felt that the movie lost some of its pacing here. The length of time spent on the honeymoon in the book is understandable because you’re hearing Bella’s thoughts; in the movie it just feels long.
As the film navigates through the problems that arise following the honeymoon, I think this is where this movie outdoes its predecessors. First, the acting feels much more natural, with each character clearly becoming more comfortable in their roles I hardly cringed at any of the lines. Second, the special effects prove how far this franchise has come with my mental pictures vividly coming alive on screen; ‘disturbing’ doesn’t begin to cover it.
Most importantly, the book is not lost in this film. Sure, there are some plot changes, like a completely unnecessary and random fight between the vamps and wolves, but the core of the story is still there. You feel the joy, pain, loss, and hurt at the decisions the characters are making, as it should be.
In all, this movie captures all of the good and bad of the Twilight saga. Drama-packed, it’s a perfect guilty pleasure. Just make sure you stay for the credits.