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“Twilight: Breaking Dawn” first reviews hit the Web

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The trades smashed the embargo on “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” reviews this weekend, posting their opinions on Bill Condon’s first segment in the two-part finale to Stephenie Meyer’s cherished series.

So if you want to go into next week’s movie untainted, be sure to leave now and avoid spoilers.

Still here? Are you sure? OK, here it goes.

“Big things happen in this penultimate Twilight entry: Bella and Edward get married, she gets pregnant on their Brazilian honeymoon and almost perishes before giving birth, and finally, after four films and about 490 minutes of screen time depicting simmering desire and superhuman restraint, she wakes up with the red eyes of a vampire. (Spoiler? Hardly.)” writes Todd McCarthy in THR. “But so little else occurs between these momentous events in Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 that you can practically hear every second ticking by while awaiting the payoff.”

“In the end, given how little goes on in Breaking Dawn — Part 1 despite the major plot points, what you’re left with is to gaze at the three leads, all of whom have their constituencies and reasons for being eminently watchable. The only hope is they’ll have more to do next time around,” he concludes.

Variety’s Justin Chang is a little more generous, writing, “Though filmed with the utmost soft-focus, duvet-wrapped tastefulness, the couple’s wedding night leaves Bella covered with bruises, the bed in tatters, and the audience, presumably, in a puddle of ecstasy. Surely this must be the first movie series so innately fearful of sex (and yet so dependent on its leads’ sex appeal) that even proper conjugal relations come with a note of caution

“Every time the film shifts away from Bella and Edward to address the larger group dynamics, the narrative goes flat and the ensemble’s line readings turn to wood, in large part because this style of dramatization is so at odds with the thrust of the source material,” he continues. “Like any commercial behemoth, The Twilight Saga by nature resists any attempt at transcendence, experimentation or risk; that’s especially unfortunate in the case of Breaking Dawn, which is by far the most out-there novel in the series and would have benefited from a dash of Cronenbergian body-horror and, commercial restraints notwithstanding, a willingness to push past a PG-13 rating.”

Not that reviews necessarily matter. “Twilight” has its die-hard fans, and nothing will keep them from the theater this weekend.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • November 12, 2011 | Permalink |

    Everything that I expected to hear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Twilight fan, but I just can’t believe how crappy these movies have been! The first Twilight was an indie movie that made occasional nods to the book, New Moon was a bit better, but still subpar from what it could have been, and Eclipse, which was my favorite so far, didn’t really wow me. Then again, we’re talking about movies that are geared toward 10 – 17 year olds. It doesn’t seem to matter to Summit Entertainment, that Twilight has older fans as well.

    Oh well, maybe, it’ll be better when they eventually remake it.

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