Lexicon’s Spoiler Free Review of Breaking Dawn: Part 1

As I sat down to write a review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, I honestly had difficulty considering where to begin. Should the review open with a comment about the love scenes that are getting so much hype? Should it focus on how much each of the characters change in this film, which also is getting attention in the press? Or should I begin with the various performances? To tell the truth, the best compliment I can pay for this film, and the first thing I said when I finished watching the film, was that it is the best book to screen adaptation from this series thus far. All the rest falls into place for that reason and because the film was in the hands of a brilliant director.

As far as story content goes, this film has all the important moments that the book has. All the necessary plot points are met, and then it goes even further to fill in any missing blanks. There is a mixture between Bella’s story and Jacob’s story from the book as the movie switches points of view to make sure all key moments from the book are given due justice. There are even some flashbacks to Edward’s time spent away from Carlisle and Esme that are very well done. Personally, I wish there had been some more fighting banter between Rosalie and Jacob, but I only thought about it after the film was over as I considered what had been cut from the book. That was the only thing that didn’t make it into the plot that I wish had been included.

When you consider that this film follows the full cycle of a romance from wedding to baby, as well as a werewolf pack dividing and plotting to kill said baby, there is a great deal of content to cover. But the film never felt rushed, and it never missed a beat, either. In fact, at one point after a great deal of plot had been covered, Laura looked down at her watch to find that there was still over 45 minutes left in the film! And even then, the content that came after that point was still just as well executed as the beginning of the film. The steady pacing allows the story to flow naturally without any beats being forced.

Bill Condon has praised the acting chops of the cast in several interviews. Well, I have to give the praise to Bill Condon for eliciting performances from this cast that are unlike anything we’ve seen previously. Every single cast member steps it up and takes their character to the next level. I’m not sure where Kristen Stewart found it in herself to show the pain and fear that she did in the birth scene, but it is chilling. Robert Pattinson brings an angry Edward into the game for the first time while still showing how much he loves Bella. Yet for me, the one performance that shines above the rest comes from Taylor Lautner. He has a few moments in this film where his reactions and facial expressions are beyond perfection. Without spoiling too much, I will say that the two moments that stand out the most both have to do with Renesmee. Other great moments come from Billy Burke and Anna Kendrick during the wedding scenes. Booboo Stewart and Julia Jones both have their own stand out moments and lines as do each member of the Cullen family. And be sure to stay through the credits for one of my personal favorite sarcastic line deliveries in the film, possibly the entire saga!

Of course no review of Breaking Dawn would be complete without addressing the romance. This is easily the most feminine story of the saga. From wedding to honeymoon to love making to pregnancy to birth, there is so much of the plot that revolves around major life moments, especially for a woman. Yes, there are plenty of romantic moments. Yes, the love scenes are done well and manage to be sexy but still tasteful. However, I actually think the most romantic moments come later on when Edward is fighting for Bella’s life. And as a mother, my heart was tugged on quite a bit by the moment when Edward hears the baby for the first time. I believe that Condon managed to make this a full love story, not just about a newly wedded couple, but about a newly formed family.

My only complaints are similar to complaints in the past. That’s right, we’re talking about hair styles and clothes again. In the past all my complaints have been about Jackson Rathbone’s hair. Not this time. Jackson looks really great! It’s Peter Facinelli that drew the short end of the hair style stick! We heard rumblings of it from Comic Con when the first images rolled out, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I’m also tired of seeing the Cullens in grey. I know that’s so very, very nit picky, but I don’t understand it. They have all the money in the world. Can’t they wear a color other than grey? I don’t know if it’s a way to make them all look paler, but it is a little sad and dreary after awhile. Poor Esme even wears a greyish color to the wedding. But these are minor complaints that I will gladly take to get the amazing performances that were shown in the film.

Over all, I really enjoyed the film. I found myself laughing out loud at several moments and nearly cried at others. I know there were some things that I missed in my first viewing, so I’m excited to see it again and take it all in. It is very true to the book, which as an original fan of the book I appreciate so much! I felt comfortable watching the scenes I have read so many times come to life. In past films, I have held my breath and hopped that certain moments worked well on screen. Often times, I have come out of those moments feeling alright about what I saw and said, “Well, that wasn’t too bad.” There was only one moment in Breaking Dawn that truly had me worried and holding my breath about how it would play out. I won’t tell you which moment that was, but I will say that it ended up being one of my favorite moments in the whole film. Thank you, Bill Condon, for staying true to the story and for finding realism in something so heavily embedded in fantasy. And thank you to the cast for going to those dark places and bringing this whole series to life. With Part 1 being this good, I find it difficult to believe we have to wait a whole year for Part 2!

We will post a more detailed review full of specifics and spoilers after the film has released.  This review is solely the opinion of Lori Joffs.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the great review! I can’t wait to see it! :)

  2. thanks for that amazing review!!!

  3. Can’t wait!!! Awesome review!!! Thank you!

  4. I loved it when you said “that wasn’t.. too.. bad” when describing the other book to film adaptations! I too closed my eyes and was left unfulfilled.

    Thank you for allowing me to set my expectations higher for this one. I don’t want to dread the movie- I just want my images to merge with the Director’s, and feel complete in my Twilight experience.

  5. Gah! You’re making the wait even harder now. I’m so glad to read this positive review!

  6. Thanks for the review, I’m really looking forward to the midnight showing next week! Now I’ll know to stay through the credits!

  7. As the two comments have said so far-Thank you ! Your review has eased any fears I had that this movie would not be what the saga deserved. Before I even see it, based on what you are saying, I say ‘Thank you’ to the actors and Bill Condon for what they’ve done! I’m so nervous and excited to see it next week!!!!

  8. Great review! Thanks 4 sharing your thoughts. I simply cannot wait! My birthday is on the 18th and I am filled with excitement!

    • Omg my 21st birthday is the 18th too and I CANNOT WAIT! I bought my ticket weeks ago and I’m leaving my campus to go get in line for the midnight showing as soon as my Psych class is over Thursday night. I am so thrilled with this review. From all the clips and little tidbits I’ve been seeing, this is definitely the first time (in my opinion) where the “Big Three” have really pushed and stretched their performance to new heights.

      AND ALICE’S HAIR IS FINALLY SHORT ENOUGH. So happy. I’m so excited!

  9. These are the reviews that matter. From the expert fans. It’s greatly appreciated!

  10. Thank you for the spoiler free review. Great news to know that a fan of the book thinks it translated well to film. Harder to wait the week now for the film and your more detailed review.

  11. I am relieved to hear that the story is in tact.

    I am hoping the themes are also. All of the “then its just straight horror” comments from Bill & Co. have me concerned.

  12. smitten_by_twilight says:

    TY so much. I am reassured, I think some others might be too!

  13. Lorrainebow says:

    As if I could get more excited!!!!! :)

  14. Thank you! I don’t think the hair, etc., comments are nitpicky at all. The look of the characters is so important. If they look silly, it really takes you as the viewer out of it. Instead of letting yourself get swept away in the story, you’re thinking “ugh, his hair!” From what we’ve seen of the Cullens so far in clips, I’m a little worried about that aspect. But I’m sure I’ll enjoy it either way and feel very reassured reading your review that it is true to the book.

  15. I was lucky enough to see the movie today. I would have to say I agree with everything you have said. It’s funny I said to my friend after seeing it that I had wished they would’ve shown more banter with Jacob & Rosalie also! One of my favorite scenes from the book is when Jacob whips the bowl at the head. Her reaction was great! It would’ve been funny to see that but, overall I can honestly say I didn’t feel cheated of any big scenes. Jasper’s hair was good this time & I said the same things about Carlisle. In some scenes Rosalie didn’t look the greatest either, mostly had to do with her hair. It was also interesting to see the movie play out certain things that weren’t in the book. It really added to the drama & intensity. The transformation of Bella was amazing! They did such a great job of showing how horrible she looked! I loved the flashbacks…One in particular. I won’t say so I don’t ruin it for anyone else. When I watched New Moon I thought if you didn’t read the book you wouldn’t understand certain things & a little bit with Eclipse but, that wasn’t the case with this movie. Definitely a good one & I can’t wait to watch it again at the midnight showing.

    • Fiona Cullen says:

      My goodness, what country are you from? You are so lucky to be able to have seen it today.

    • Annie Simmons says:

      Since I read the book, I had hoped that the Rosie/Jake banter would make it to the movie, so I’m going to try not to be disappointed before I even see it. My question is: didn’t the bowl get thrown @ her head after Nessie was born? If so, it will probably be in part 2; I did hear Nikki talking about scratching Fido onto a metal bowl at some point, so hopefully we’ll get more Jake/Rosie banter in part 2.
      I don’t think this will spoil anything, so I hope you will answer this: was the housekeeper lady that was on Isle Esme in the movie like she was in the book? Thanks and congrats on your early viewing!

      • @Fiona The US, I just happened to know someone who knows someone with connections. @Annie Yes, the housekeeper lady was in the movie! Though, I can hardly wait to see it at the midnight showing. I’m listening to the soundtrack & getting excited to watch it again. Particularly, Carter Burwell’s song, Love, Death, Birth. It is so great that he is back in this movie. It really gives you the Twilight feel which just adds so much feeling & emotion to the movie! You won’t be disappointed!

    • Christina…is there any way that you could possibly tell me where the movie cuts off?privately that way it doesnt ruin it for anyone else?I am dying to know lol. allygirl_15@yahoo.com is my email

  16. Nancy Sanchez says:

    Great review! I look forward to it each time a new movie of the saga came out! You made me even more excited to see the film!

  17. this movie is bad then….its going to be a rotten on rottentomatoes

  18. Thank You for such a great review!! I’ll say it again, Thank You! I thought it was impossible to be more excited but after reading this, even more psyched than before!

  19. very happy with this thanks !

  20. Fiona Cullen says:

    I have been counting down for Breaking Dawn for over 500 days. I have had my tickets pre ordered for over 3 months. I have been the biggest Twilight fan for over 4 years. I am watching Breaking Dawn Part 1 at midnight on Thursday the 17th of November. Nothing else matters.

  21. Lisa Gallahar Reese says:

    Thanks for the awesome review! Now I am even more excited to see the movie! I am so glad that it is pretty much spot on from book to screen!

  22. Jean Brown says:

    Actually your review has me worried. You as a fan should be gushing over this movie. You should be excited and talking about all the standout performances. If Taylor Lautner has the standout performance in this then this movie is BAD. I remember the reviews by some fans about TL”standout” performance in Eclipse but when i saw it, his acting was as wooden as ever. It sounds like you are really reaching for something good to say about this movie. It does not sound like it is good.

    • I don’t think Taylor having a stand out performance is a bad thing. It means that he’s shown all the necessary emotions needed,to show Jacob’s break from the pack. He becomes his own person in this story and I’m sure we’ll get to see that without taking away from the main couple’s moments onscreen. I think the review is great and not it didn’t give too much away,so I’ll keep guessing until Thursday night when I see it.

    • I’m sure you have seen all the previews and short scenes. Ever actor brought their A game for this. But Taylor went beyond what I expected from him. I’m not saying that Kristen and Rob weren’t extraordinary. They were! The birth scene is off the charts amazing. And Rob taps into a maturity that we haven’t seen yet. But there are a few moments from Taylor that I did not expect to be as well played as they were.

      • I loved the birth scene! While a little horrifying at times, it was also beautiful! I think it’s probably my favorite scene from the movie! Even topping the wedding. Just my opinion though.

    • No, don’t be worried, she said she was limited on what she could reveal to us, she just hit on a few things. Her review was ‘without’ spoilers, thats hard to do.

  23. Genica Carla Corsiga says:

    good thing i read this review.. man i was nervous that the move was would not be given justice,, come quick november 18

  24. I’m worried about this review, too. When the most positive aspect is that it’s true to the book, that doesn’t really say much about the movie as a whole. If the main Twilight fansite is only mildly enthused, then the movie may be a real turd.

    • Laura Byrne Cristiano says:

      We;re not mildly enthused. We said it’s the best film yet. 10 minutes in I wanted to tackle Bill Condon give him a kiss and offer to have his children…is that enthused enough for you?

      • Laura, I love your reply and that you love what Bill Condon has done! As a Twilight fan I want and am looking for what I envisioned in the book to be translated to the screen. I know that to me it has been difficult for the previous three directors to do and I have left the other movies feeling not quite satisfied on some aspects of the movie. SO, I will stay positive-it sounds like we will not be disappointed!

    • Annie Simmons says:

      I don’t know about that. I feel that as fans we get to feel as giddy as little girls, but these fansite admins and others that get to see the movies early for the fans’ benefit should feel a responsibility to bring us a personally unbiased opinion and tell it straightforward. We all have things that we want to see and what will “make” the movie for us; a lot of this is probably the same across the board, but some things will be different for different people. I’m rambling. but in short, I’m glad the review wasn’t littered with “OMG this, and OMG that”. From what I read, we won’t leave the theater disappointed, which I can’t say hasn’t happened with me and this franchise in the past.

  25. Honestly, I almost didn’t want to read the review because I was afraid it would reveal to much, so first, thank you for not doing that. Plus, it was great to hear that they finally got Jacksons (Jaspers) hair right…hated hearing about Carlisles tho’. Can’t have it all… all in all I am bursting at the seams like everyone else.

  26. If you don’t like the review just watch the movie then !

  27. Donna Hoppa says:

    Cannot wait to see it. It’s my birthday present. I am super excited!

  28. Really bad reviews in both Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Poor pacing is really an issue, it seems. And Bill Condon was a poor choice of director, which I feared.

  29. Jean Brown says:

    Yes the few reviews i have seen are really bad. Remember Eclipse got some decent reviews from THR and Variety so it is not like they just hate the series. One review said the movie should have been 40 minutes long instead of two hours. I could go on and on but i wont. I will go see the movie many times because i love the saga so much. I just wish that we could have had what the Harry Potter fans have had. A well written, brilliantly acted movie that will stay with us forever.

  30. when have critics EVER been kind to a twilight film??? they dont like the franchise!! and i am sick of all the negativity before the movie even comes ou!!!

    • Jean Brown says:

      I understand. I am just not feeling as excited after reading the reviews. I feel for the cast. They worked so hard on this. Kristen and Taylor are both fans and you can tell that the cast really loved Bill Condon. Bill and the Big Three thought they had made a really good movie that the fans would love and as this review has mention several times, they were true to the book. So what does that say about the book.

  31. And a bad omen for BD2 is that the brief werewolves vs vampires scenes are supposedly disastrously bad. If Bill Condon couldn’t shoot a few brief action scenes decently, what will happen with the more action heavy part 2? David Slade did a terrific job on Eclipse. Why not ask him back for Breaking Dawn? And for those who say that the movies always get bad reviews, Eclipse got many really favorable ones, even from critics who didn’t like the first two films.

  32. Jean Brown says:

    Eclipse got some good reviews from people who hated the other movies so it is not like they hate the series so much that they cannot be fair. All of this goes back to the Lex review. After reading it this morning i knew the movie was not that great and it is hard for a true fan to admit that but it just seems the reviewer was really reaching and trying to convince themselves that the movie cannot be that bad and that disappointing because we have waited so long for this. You can say it does not matter but the early bad reviews are a little depressing.

  33. They are saying that just like the book we don’t get to see certain things. With what has been said about the love scene I almost guarantee we won’t see Rob break the headboard. I just hope all the hype has not been for nothing. Critics don’t matter to me.

  34. Is it strange that I would really like to know where it ends?that way I can be mentally prepared for it and wont be completely shocked when it ends?lol.

  35. Thank you so much for this review…I’ve been hearing rumors that the “F” bomb is dropped in this movie. Trying to figure out if I’m going to take my daughter to see it or not. How is the language?

    • I”m not saying it didn’t happen but, I don’t remember hearing the f-bomb. The language seemed fine to me. But, it is PG-13 & it does earn this rating in certain respects. I am not comfortable bringing my children but, that is a personal choice.

      • Christina…thanks for your quick response. My daughter is 15, and she says she hears that language all the time at school, but I wouldn’t be happy to hear it in this movie, sitting right next to her. Besides, it wouldn’t fit in the movie anyway…none of the characters said it in the book, and it would seem WAY out of place!!! Thanks again!

  36. What I want to know, is how the honeymoon scenes are (before she gets pregnant). All the reviews I’ve seen so far aren’t making it sound so good – like they don’t show much. I’m not expecting porn or anything, but the series has been all about build up and I think a lot of fans want some payoff, not just close ups of their faces set to pretty music.

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