The Twilight Saga had become such a huge hit from its pilot move ‘Twilight’ up to the succeeding sequels that the crowds of people that turned out at each movie in the saga reached an all time high. Because of this, the director and filmmakers needed to sustain the hype and interest up to ‘Breaking Dawn: Part 1’ and this was done by pulling in more audience by visual stimulation. The said visual stimulation was provided by Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black because the movie opened to him taking off his shirt. The scene was that Jacob Black received the invitation to Bella and Edward’s wedding and in fit of rage, he took off his shirt and was about to transform. It is worth noting that this is the only time in the movie that he did this.
With regards to settings, however, the movie is a bit more restrained than the rest of the saga because there are basically just two settings – the island where Edward and Bella had their honeymoon, and the Cullen’s house. Even then, the island was not given as much focus as cinematography goes since the shot only featured the sea briefly and then the rest of it was inside the house (particularly in bed). The majority of the movie focuses in and around the Cullen’s house as Bella is shown struggling to cope with a half-vampire fetus inside her. This is an important part of the movie because it represents the fate of many women who happens to undergo through an unplanned pregnancies and are struggling between their choices, especially those who have more to consider when it comes to social stigma such as unwed mothers or young women who are still in school.
The special effects of the movie had apparently been improved from the previous movies in the saga but still it is far from meeting the current standard for cinematography especially since everyone knows that the movie had garnered more than enough ticket sales to fund Breaking Dawn. The effect that was particularly off was the audio effect especially at the part where the wolves talked to each other in their wolf forms. The background sound at this part only served to distract the audience from what the wolves were talking about. It is very disappointing especially for fans who have read the book and had already formed a mental image and sound of how the scene should be.
The theme music alone is good but it was placed over the movie in a distracting way. The music came on too strong and thus overpowered the scene by where it is being played. Instead of complementing the scene, it was competing with the scene, making the audience have a hard time getting into the feel of the movie and leaving them to ask “wait, what?” at some scenes.
Script-wise, there are moments that were surprisingly good. For example, the filmmaker did well in making a wedding speech montage that were delivered by other actors beside the main leads Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner since it both provided comic relief and allowed the audience some brief respite from seeing those three’s faces (and sometimes bodies) throughout the movie because let’s face it – as leads they get more than 90% screen time exposure).
The strong point of Breaking Dawn Part 1 is that it highlights female interests and concerns such as weddings, honeymoons and childbirth wrapped up in an engaging storyline and quite effectively presented this to the audience in a movie that is admittedly better than its earlier prequels. This is of course also part of the market strategy since the majority of Twilight fans are females. Breaking Dawn Part 1 is heavy on the relationships and emotions because this kind of movie caters to their target audience. This can be observed in scenes such as when Bella were preparing for her wedding day with her future sisters in law Alice and Rosalie as well as her mother present in the scene. The audience also watches intently as Bella is walked down the aisle by her father. It was also very clever for the director to not reveal the dress at ones but to only show a shot of it in close-range before panning out dramatically to reveal its entirety once Bella steps up the altar.
The above mentioned scenes were able to capture the monumental moment in a woman’s life infused with a sense of elegance and happiness that every girl dreams of. The first scene is realistic in that in most cultures, the bride is really helped by the females of her family or her female in-laws (in this case her sisters-in-law) to get ready for the wedding. The second scene was more of an emotional scene. Every father wants to be able to walk his daughter down the line and the scene is made even more dramatic by the fact that Bella and her father are not exactly the perfect daughter-father pair. They had many arguments and fall-outs and Charlie Swan, Bella’s father is not exactly the most eloquent of people in front of his daughter. He is awkward around his daughter but at that moment, they were perfect. The third scene basically caters to the sparkle of the whole event, so to speak. The effect of Bella’s stunning dress, a handsome groom (Edward) and an artistically divine altar proved to be lethal to women’s dreams. It made every female in the audience practically swoon. Who wouldn’t want a perfect wedding like that?
The whole scenario made the female audience think of future wedding plans and hope to have exactly the same effect as the one Bella’s wedding apparently has.
Breaking Dawn is distinct from other movies in the Twilight saga exactly because the theme is focused on the characters. This time, there are no outside villains such as the Volturi meddling with their life or other evil vampires out to kill the Cullen coven. The conflicts were that of individualistic nature and stem from the convictions and beliefs of each character. As such, Breaking Dawn provided a wide array of possible character analysis.
Bella was more prominent as a protective mother as she practically fought to keep the baby growing inside her. She was tough and she stood her ground – she will be going through the pregnancy. The movie thus depicted Bella differently from her previous role as an angsty, immature, love-stricken girl to a mother protective of her child against even her husband.
This is the part of the movie where Edward’s love for Bella is much more obvious. If the audience had any doubt about Edward doing everything for Bella then after the movie, they would definitely have changed their view. It was almost heartbreaking how Edward is willing to go through great lengths to ensure Bella’s safety, even if it would hurt him.
We also see at this movie, a dynamic between Jacob and Bella. Jacob at this point of time is still in love with Bella and he wants to stay by her side but he doesn’t understand Bella’s stubbornness for keeping the baby which he can see is hurting Bella from inside. He, however, keeps his mouth shut and tries not to antagonize the pregnant woman. This dynamic is brilliantly captured in the movie with shots of Jacob looking at Bella with exasperated fondness at times and a pained, heartbroken grimace at other times.
Overall, although there are glitches with the visual effects, this movie is still better crafted than its earlier sequels and it contained a better understanding and appreciation of its audience.