Friday, March 9, 2012

DVD Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

By Lisa Goudy

4.5 stars out of 5

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner

Director: Bill Condon

Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a film audiences will sink their teeth into.

Fans of the Twilight novels by Stephenie Meyer and the previous three films will not be disappointed with the fourth instalment. But if you didn’t enjoy the books or the first three films, there is no point wasting your time watching Breaking Dawn Part 1 because you won’t like it any better.

Based on the first half of the final book, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is much like its preceding films. It is filled with romance, vampires, werewolves, anguish and action. The Twilight films keep getting better.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 begins moments before the much-anticipated wedding between vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and human Bella Swan (Stewart). Fans of Bella’s best friend, werewolf Jacob Black (Lautner), will be satisfied when he and Bella share a private dance as Jacob says goodbye to the girl he loves, but can’t have.

Edward and Bella consummate their love for the first time on their honeymoon. Their happily-ever-after is interrupted when Bella discovers she is pregnant with Edward’s child. Rushed home, Bella refuses to have an abortion, despite Edward’s strong entreaties because the child is rapidly killing Bella from the inside.

Meanwhile, dissension arises within the werewolf pack because Bella’s unborn baby is viewed as a mortal threat. Jacob is pushed to his limits when the pack decides to kill Bella.

The film has great visual effects, from the werewolf animation to making Bella’s body shrink to resemble an anorexic. The acting was believable, particularly the on-screen chemistry of Pattinson and Stewart. Their scenes are emotional and heart-wrenching, especially on their honeymoon and during the heightened emotional climax.

Pattinson’s portrayal of his character has evolved from the dark, brooding vampire to someone who has found some happiness with his soul mate.

The DVD is filled with exciting extras, including an hour and a half, six-part behind-the-scenes documentary. You can see how the visual effects team made Bella look increasingly anorexic and how the crew became stranded on an island during a tropical storm. Don’t forget learning about Pattinson’s inability to drive a boat.

You should check out Edward and Bella’s Wedding Video, which is formatted like a home movie with footage and memorable quotes from favourite minor characters. During the video, you see some scenes not in the final cut.

Also worth watching is the Jacob’s Destiny, which includes insight from cast and crew. However, you should be warned that it does contain a small, but significant spoiler about Part 2, set for release on November 16.

Other features include an audio commentary with director Bill Condon and Fast Forward versions of the movie with only scenes featuring Edward or Jacob. But the Fast Forward feature is a waste of space. It plays through the entire movie, but skips every scene without the selected character in it. It results in a disjointed version of the film and makes you wish you’d spent your time watching the full movie.

The DVD has no sneak peeks into Part 2, which is a slight disappointment because of the cliff-hanger ending. But after watching a great romance fantasy film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, Breaking Dawn Part 1 leaves you thirsty for more.