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Art&CultureReview
'Twilight' is fading fast in precursor to finale'Breaking Dawn Part 1' does little to elevate series above previous incarnations
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승인 2011.12.05  09:24:54
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Let me start this review with a confession, a secret that I, as a critic, tend to keep firmly under my hat. I adored “Twilight.” There was an atmosphere in that first film, brilliantly directed by Catherine Hardwicke (“Thirteen,” “Lords of Dogtown”), a resilient sense of place and time that not even the plotless narrative of Stephenie Meyer could diminish. Hardwicke's emphasis on the landscape of monumental evergreens and sheer shores of Forks, Washington was remarkable to see in a Hollywood blockbuster of its magnitude.

Unfortunately, despite her ability to wrestle aesthetic beauty from pulp prose, Hardwicke's stint at the series' helm was short lived. For each subsequent iteration of the “Twilight” franchise, a different director has assumed the reigns, to varying degrees of lesser success. “New Moon” and “Eclipse” maintained little of the original feature's measured pacing and deliberate focus on environment, instead opting to lean more heavily on the mounting melodramatic twists of the novels and the disappointingly low-grade special effects that are a constant fixture of the series.

▲ Summit Entertainment
With the first part of “Breaking Dawn,” there was a faint shimmer of hope that a return to the visual pleasures of “Twilight” was possible in the movie's opening set piece: the long-awaited wedding of Edward Cullen and Isabella Swan. Director Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “Kinsey”) wastes no time with the beginning “Breaking Dawn,” hurling the viewer headlong into the last-minute preparations for the big day. The wedding itself, which takes place by a bubbling brook, under a canopy of furs, is a beauty to behold; the reception, a painfully hilarious montage of toasts to the newlyweds that is undoubtedly the single most comical moment of the series to date.

Following the tearful goodbyes to friends and family, Bella and Edward depart for a honeymoon in paradise, on a near empty island off the Brazilian coast. Though the “Twilight” movies all share a distinct lack of action, the honeymoon section of “Breaking Dawn” takes this tendency to the extreme. The vast majority of this swath of the movie is scene after scene of the aged groom and his young bride staring meaningfully into each others' eyes. It is only when Bella wakes to a shocking surprise of the fetal variety that the couple is jolted from their reveries.

The rest of the running time revolves around the mystifying creature burgeoning in the belly of Bella. Is it vampire? Is it human? Is it an unspeakable hybrid of the two? Not a soul, living nor dead, can answer the question and Bella, in her latest passive-aggressive stance, decides to carry the baby, scorning the mounting danger it poses to her own body and the entreaties of her husband.

As far as sappy, soapy, soporific dramas go, the “Twilight” series breaks many rules in its stripping away the trappings of plot and conflict. Any other script with a possibly fatal pregnancy as the foundation of its drama would be relegated to the purgatory of made-for-television movies in a heartbeat. In a sense, the myopic scope of “Breaking Dawn” is impressive. Yet, in narrowing the focus so sharply, the film burrows into a visual and narrative tedium that will be hard to escape from with the finale. It is plausible “Twilight” may experience a violent rebirth akin to its heroine, but not unless its concluding chapter matures enough to realize that pseudo-suspense alone does not a story make.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
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