Brace yourselves. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part One, the penultimate Twilight flick, is finally here. In the movie, which opens Friday, passive and pretty cipher Bella (Kristen Stewart) and hunky and heroic vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) get hitched. Then, at long last, they consummate their relationship, leaving young Bella pregnant with a demon baby that rips her apart from the inside. As expected, the majority of critics are ripping the film just as impolitely. But one goes so far as to say that it's actually "genuinely brilliant." Really?
Yes... at least in parts: I assumed this movie would be unbearable, says Glenn Kenny at MSN. But I "actually... rather enjoyed it." The filmmaking is "witty and intelligent" — particularly in a "ravishing dream sequence" early on. And it's nice to see Stewart standing up straight for once. Then there's the finale. It's "genuinely brilliant," closing with a "a final shot that's actually as awesome as it is predictable."
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 Critics' Reviews"
Are you kidding? This "sexless, bloodless, padded, and plodding" film "is the worst Twilight movie to date," says Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. With "first-rate" director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) at the helm for the first time, I had higher hopes. But "Condon is helpless before the ravening banality" of the timid screenplay, and even the more talented actors (Taylor Lautner is not among them) "expire under the film's cheeseball cloud."
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1"
And the underlying message is disturbing: "Breaking Dawn is where the Twilight series goes straight-up cuckoopants," says Linda Holmes at NPR. While the series has never had an empowering message for young women, here it plummets to new, upsetting lows. The film depicts "the loss of virginity as a naturally violent, frightening, physically dangerous experience" and characterizes Bella as a "woman with no life at all outside of her literally all-consuming pregnancy." Given its pre-teen audience base, the film is "profoundly irresponsible": At one point, we see a heavily bruised Bella tell her lover that she understands he just can't control himself. This is "madness, of a particularly gruesome kind."
"Dawn breaks, and much baroque nonsense ensues"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
Subscribe to the Week