I was downright excited to be seeing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (two colons!) when I walked into my screening. This series is a completely unique sort of awful – they’re damn near impossible to defend, and yet they’ve made enough gajillions of dollars to ensure movies will be made until we run out of books, and the studio has little reason to change a formula that’s worked out pretty well for them.
So in essence, we keep getting movies with hysterical relationships and conflicts, and no one profits more than the masochistic lovers of Shitty Cinema like your’s truly. And my brothers, while tTS:BD:P1 might not reach heights of stupidity like of the first two chapters, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for here.
This is, after all, a movie that opens with bad boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner) wordlessly tearing off his shirt to jog in the rain (not an exaggeration). Later on, he and his fellow werewolves jump into giant wolf-mode to scream at each other telepathically over an enormously loud score. It’s very difficult to describe how unintentionally hilarious this scene is, but you can judge for yourself when it gets uploaded to YouTube and racks up millions of hits.
But there’s an actual story that connects all these moments of ridiculous – well, sorta anyway. Tragically gorgeous mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) and histrionically aloof Vampire dreamboat Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally get hitched at the beginning, but Edward’s afraid he’s so in love with Bella, he’ll accidentally kill her while making love. But then he gets over it. But then for no reason, he starts being afraid again. But then he gets over it, so everything’s good again.
But then things really suck, cuz Bella gets preggers. And da baby is a vampire that is killing Bella. And Werewolves want to kill the baby, because, you know, that’s what you do with Vampire Babies.
To be honest, Twilight 4 isn’t terribly made. Considering the amount of crazy that comes with the property, director Bill Condon brings some stability to keep it from ever going too far overboard, that awesome thought-Speak Wolf scene aside. But if you’re a user of the Internet, you’ve probably already read about the utterly bonkers series of events that take place at the end of this film involving True Love and eating the skin off of a pregnant lady, and that Condon kept sequence from sending people out in the aisle with laughter really says something.
But I can’t help but feel that there is a genuinely good film to be made out of the Twilight books, and we get a glimpse of it at the end. It starts with a minute of stark, blocky credits over alternatingly red, white and black screens, reminiscent of exploitation movies that have created intentional entertainment out of stories just as absurd as the ones in this series. After that, we get a tease for tTS:BD:P2, just a moment where Michael Sheen’s evil Illuminati Vampire President shows up to sit in a throne and say funny drawn-out stuff while wearing red contacts.
This, actually, makes for a great scene. Sheen is totally aware of how stupid everything surrounding him is, and goes beyond Ham Country to deliver some really amusing material. The problem is, Lautner, Pattinson, Stewart and the filmmakers are playing too faithfully to material that can’t be taken as seriously as this movie tries to be.