Twilight Breaking Dawn UK Poster*** This review contains some spoilers***

As any Twilight fan will know Breaking Dawn, the last book in Stephenie Meyer’s ultra successful franchise, is where it all gets a bit more grown up. Gone are the days of poignant stares, teen melodrama and jealousy ridden love triangles and in is the serious stuff. The bits we’ve all been waiting for. Marriage. Sex. Teen pregnancy and a vampire/human hybrid that threatens the life of our leading lady.

After escaping death on more than one occasion she who doth not know how to crack a smile, Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) is about to marry the love of her life, pouty vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). They’ve been through a lot in their relatively short relationship and so it should come as no big surprise that in Breaking Dawn Part 1 things only get more complicated. The film opens, as all good films should, with Taylor Lautner’s character, Jacob running into the forest in a topless rage as he receives his invite to the biggest wedding of 2011 (sorry Kate and Wills). And there the story begins as the two soul mates preen and prepare themselves to declare their love for each other in front of their family, friends and vampire cousins.

As with all things Twilight the fans will have huge expectations of how these scenes should be done, no pressure there then for the film’s director Bill Condon. But I am happy to report they’re done well. Very well indeed. Billy Burke excels as Bella’s father Charlie who struggles through the fact his only daughter is getting married at the tender age of 18 to a boy he doesn’t entirely trust (and with good reason as he’s planning on turning his daughter in to a vampire) while the wedding speeches from various members of the party prove some light relief from the intensity of the wedding scenes.

Moving forward and the film finds itself in Rio as the newly weds make their way to their honeymoon destination, a remote desert island. This is of course where the scene all Twilight fans have been waiting for takes place, when Bella and Edward finally get to consummate their marriage, albeit to a 12A suitable standard. There’s broken beds, feathers, bruises and some pretty life changing consequences.

While the first half of the film is all love, rose petals and topless leading men the second half is where it gets even more intense. Cue brooding stares, angry werewolves, more brooding stares and a chance for Stewart, who’s character is now with child, a chance to shine. And shine she does. While Bella struggles to stay alive as her half vampire, half human baby crushes her from the inside Stewart looks emaciated (props to whoever was working in the make-up department during those scenes) and genuinely manages to make it look like she is a few minutes away from her dying breath pretty much at all times. Meanwhile baby father Edward does what any responsible father would do in this situation, stares angrily at the result of typing ‘demon child’ into Yahoo! while Bella’s sometimes best friend and sometimes other lover Jacob stands guard as his werewolf family prepare to take the crisis into their own hands, or paws as the case may be, vowing to rid Forks of the unknown threat that is the soon-to-be-born child.

As the film reaches it’s climax Bella gives birth in some spectacularly bloody scenes to the ridiculously named Renesmee leaving her life hanging in the balance. The closing scenes play out in a will she/won’t she survive style and leaves an element of suspense for the viewer who if they haven’t read the books will be left unsure as to Bella’s future although the fact there’s still a final film to be released next year might be enough to work it out.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 is everything a Twilight fan will want and it does a pretty good job of sticking as closely to the original book as possible. Admittedly there are some cringe worthy moments, some questionable CGI and times where the script becomes just a little bit laughable but it still has all the ingredients that have made the other three films such a huge success. It also manages to finally make the story feel a bit more grown up, pulling it out of the teen bracket and into something slightly more mature. In this writer’s opinion November 2012 can’t come around soon enough.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 is released on Friday 18th November.


Review by Laura Hills from the amazingly awesome Who’s Jack Magazine.