The thing about Twilight is that you’re probably either already planning on seeing this thing, or you’ve sworn to never see it any cost. That second one is definitely a legitimate choice — I felt sort of dirty and ashamed as I paid for my ticket to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (yup, that’s the full title) on Monday night. I knew what I was getting into, and Breaking Dawn delivered exactly as much wooden acting, plotlessness, unintentional comedy and childbirth-related horror as I expected it to.
I confess, I wasn’t bored for a second. If you’re not into laughing at Robert Pattinson’s hair or Kristen Stewart’s facial expressions as they cycle through the realization that she’s trapped in a terrible movie for the fourth damn time, stay away. But if you enjoy bad movies with occasionally pretty cinematography and humorous CGI wolves with voiceovers, Breaking Dawn might prove an amusing Thanksgiving week diversion. More specifics beyond the jump.
If, for some reason, you’re not super up on Twilight, almost nothing about Breaking Dawn will make sense. Why are these vampires wearing hideous makeup? Why is Taylor Lautner already shirtless and flexing his abs less than 15 seconds into the opening scene? Why is Anna Kendrick here, trying to pretend she’s not way too good for this shit?
In short, the plot: Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are finally, finally, after three movies of standing around, looking at each other with feelings in their eyes and agonizing, getting married. The wedding goes well in an unnecessarily lengthy way, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) the pining werewolf shows up to make things awkward and finally Bella and Edward go off to their tropical honeymoon. Despite the apparent danger, they have sex for the first time while Bella is still human. This endeavor is so intense that Edward, unable to control himself, snaps the headboard, bites all the pillows into bits of fluff and leaves an unwitting Bella covered in bruises. Yep, it’s creepy. That’s Edward’s thing, you know.
After some pointless sequences set to music, Bella figures out that she’s pregnant upon glimpsing a box of tampons in her luggage. Too bad, because it’s an evil half-vampire parasite baby that quickly sets to its work of slowly killing Bella from the inside. Long story short, this development culminates in a skeletal Kristen Stewart — a genuinely creepy image and one of the only effects that’s, well, effective — sitting around in sweatpants with a giant fake belly sipping blood through a straw from a Styrofoam cup. There are some really weird heavy-handed pro-life messages flung around, accompanied by some more general “a woman’s body is not her own to control” messages. Meanwhile, werewolves argue and Taylor Lautner tries really, really hard to act.
Finally, the movie comes to its incredibly disturbing climax. Basically, Breaking Dawn turns into a surreal horror film in its last third, with blood everywhere, breaking bones and, at last, Edward performing a C-section with his teeth. Personally, I experienced some serious Trainwreck Syndrome here: I couldn’t look away because it was just so weird. Even when I knew what was coming, I couldn’t believe they had actually opted to film this. They even include the part where, after baby Renesmee is born, Jacob falls spontaneously in werewolf love with her, collapsing to his knees with the sheer power of his love for the vampiric infant.
It’s even stranger than it sounds. Most of the actors would clearly rather be somewhere else. Robert Pattinson doesn’t even sort of try. It’s almost kind of worth the price of admission — depending on how expensive movies are where you live — to see most of the cast struggle valiantly not to laugh as Bella announces her baby name choices: “E.J.,” for “Edward Jacob,” for a boy or “Renesmee,” a combination of Renee and Esme, for a girl. Don’t get me wrong, however: nothing about this movie is good in any legitimate sense.