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Review: ‘Breaking Dawn: Part 1’

By Staff | Nov 30, 2011

No one wants to sit in the front row but for this vampires-and-werewolves-meet-humans flick, all 16 auditoriums at Marquee Pullman Square had sold out for the midnight show. And, tickets in hand, the nearly all female crowd began showing up to camp out at the theater doors by about 8:30 p.m.

The ladies came prepared to temporarily occupy Pullman and prepared to party with the characters, specifically Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob).

Instead of a special effects or superhero frenzy, the “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” moviegoers in Huntington had excitement and a party on their minds, where they anticipated the marriage, a birth, or Edward’s mere presence in the Hollywood adaptation of the bestsellers by Stephenie Meyer.

Unlike their “Harry Potter” counterparts, the “Breaking Dawn” audience did not come dressed as favorite characters. No, their hearts were content to see the latest exotic romance between a self-confessed, blood sucking, “teen-looking” vampire who respects his bride-to-be Bella by not pressuring her into losing her virtue until after the wedding.

The “Twilight” series has opened viewers’ eyes to accepting differences, specifically the diversities of family and ethnic rituals. Exploring the “gray” line of mutual wills, Bella’s a woman wanting to please herself and others and teaches that can sometimes be done in a quiet yet forceful proactive manner. She doesn’t have to be a bitch or a nag, if the man has a sense of respect for her best interests, even as she grasps forcefully on her own journey, albeit, more moody and interdependent than most feminists preach.

“Breaking Dawn: Part 1” has less werewolf and vampire confrontations than prior films in the series. The tugging at Bella’s heart continues and the storyline further illustrates that man and woman can love more than one person of the opposite gender, yet only be “in love” with one.

Melissa Rosenberg’s script is filled with tangy, flippant and expressive dialogue, particularly when the threesome jolts, jousts and expresses compassion for one another. Jacob’s loving friendship for Bella undergoes strains and tests, such as the possible loyalty to his friend splintering his own family relationship, leaving him not simply Number Two in the altar sweepstakes but estranged from his werewolf tribe.

“Breaking Dawn: Part 1” delivers the anticipated culmination of Bella and Edward’s enchanted and mystic venture down the aisle. There’s typical family dysfunction, awkward toasts and the bride’s complaints about breaking in high-heeled white wedding shoes (“Can’t I just go barefoot,” she asks).

The bride can look forward to more efforts to change her beyond an attempt by Edward’s sister to upgrade her fashion sense. Since this is a “chick” flick, one of the strongest character conflicts will pit the bride’s vision of herself, integrating portions of Edward’s traits, and together continue stretching beyond individual challenges and achieving goals only possible after two symbolically become one.

Those changes amplify the nearly perfect ingenue played by Stewart. The actress has balanced passive silence and strong will to allow viewers to admire her convictions, which straddle anxiety ridden decisions that appear polar opposites. For instance, she has turned the relationship pressures for quick sexual intimacies into a proactive, strong woman, sense of yearning, which Pattinson’s “Edward” accepts as a natural precondition to claiming his never-ending love for this woman. Placing the first sexual contact after marriage and Bella’s conversion to a vampire realigns from a woman’s perspective the significance of choosing the right man and right moment in time for the loss of her virginity.

Of course, temptations abound. Bella yearns for more even as she permits increased intimacy with Edward as her relationship solidifies into the “two can be as one” perfected dream of together forever.

“Breaking Dawn: Part 1” is from Bella’s perspective and nearly the entire last half of the film has her pregnant and unable to move. The woman’s determination and well thought out decisions are supported by her husband, though he does attempt to have her willingly change her mind because of the prospect of a human giving birth to a vampire child.

What’s to come? Vampire romantic melodramas have abounded whether on the big screen on small so setting the scene for “Part 2” has been foreshadowed – how will Bella’s character emotionally and physically adapt to the change that brings with it immortality and motherhood.