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.

Bill Condon Interviewed by Reelz Channel for Breaking Dawn Part 1

It’s refreshing to have a director who smiles and looks like he isn’t tired and is really enjoying the whole experience. We haven’t had that in awhile.


Breaking Dawn | The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 | Bill Condon | ReelzChannel Presents | Movie Trailer | Review

Box Office Magazine: Bill Condon On Where His Breaking Dawn Vision Lies

When you started making this film, what was the learning curve?

The cast taught me so much. Kristen Stewart knows this character better than anybody in the world, and it’s so much made up of the Bella Swan of the book and Kristen Stewart and what she brings to it. That, for me, was just a lot of hanging out and talking before we started shooting. A lot of discussion, especially of the script. We took a few weeks where we just went through it page by page with all the actors. That completely helped me to get inside it.

What did you take from each of the past three films in studying them to figure out what you wanted your own voice to be?

The big thing I took was how different they are from each other. That was part of the appeal of getting involved because I feel that within the template of twilight, those are three very different directors who made three very different movies, each of which reflected their interests. That really appealed to me. I always saw Breaking Dawn – Part I as being kind of a bookend to the first movie. Everything that gets set up there gets resolved in the last. I think it has it’s own completely different style, but there are echoes of moments and musical references more to that movie than any of the others.

I think of the first one as having this youthfulness, the second as having this almost adult heartbreak, and the third as having this action and interest in vampire lore.

Absolutely.

Where do you fit in?

First of all, these two movies I made are each very different from the other, but I would sayBreaking Dawn I is a real immersion in romantic melodrama, but as a grown-up story. I feel like it’s Twilight Grows Up. The actor’s have adult concerns now. Take the vampires and the werewolves away and it’s about what the first year of marriage is like, or for Jacob, after you’ve lost, how do you grow out of this and become your own person. I have to say, the last act of this movie is a horror movie, too. It’s a flat-out horror movie. And that excited me because I have a background in that [with Candyman 2] and it’s something I wanted to explore again.

Bill Condon Talks Venom Transformation and Comedy

Clevver TV asks Bill Condon talk Breaking Dawn

Cambio & Moviefone will live stream the Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Bill Condon panel

Tomorrow starting at 4:30pm PT, Cambio & Moviefone will live stream the Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Bill Condon panel from The Official BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 Convention!
http://www.cambio.com/live/exclusive-twilight-panel-with-robert-pattinson-kristen-stewart/

Use the hashtag #BreakingDawnLive to join in on the conversation tomorrow on Twitter!

We will also embed the footage on the blog here if they allow.

We will also live blog all guests on the panel

 

VIDEO: Screen Slam Interviews Taylor, Nikki, Ashley, Julia, and Bill Condon.

On set interviews from Taylor Laurtner, Nikki Reed, Julia Jones, Ashley Greene, and Bill Condon.

Bill Condon and Melissa Rosenberg Officially Added to Twilight Convention

This just in from Creation Entertainment:

The convention this year will be even more extraordinary than last.  We have some very cool surprises in store for our fellow fans and we remain grateful to our friends at Summit for allowing us the opportunity to bring this highly unprecedented event for all to enjoy.   We are VERY happy to welcome director of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2 Bill Condon and the very talented screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg who has written all the screenplays for the Saga.   Both of these new stars will appear on Saturday bringing our Twilight celebrity attendance up to a record breaking 18 stars including the highly anticipated appearance of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner as well as The Cullen Family!

Gary Berman, co-CEO of Creation Entertainment, producing this weekend’s event with Summit Entertainment, stated that the response to the convention has been nothing short of extraordinary.  ”We are so pleased to join with our friends at Summit to deliver what we think will be an amazingly fun weekend for all Twilight fans that have been so very supportive of the productions from the very start.  We can’t wait until the Northern American movie release date of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1November 18 but the convention will help keep us going until then and we have some very cool surprises at the event to share too!”

Berman also stated that it was important to the production team for the convention to bring the weekend’s festivities to one of Hollywood’s legendary hotels and meeting spaces.  The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is absolutely the correct historic meeting place and the Twilight Saga has made film and fan history deserving of such a prestigious location.

Tickets are going fast! Don’t get caught missing out! Buy them here!

Bill Condon Talks Romance vs Sex Scene on Breaking Dawn

Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Breaking DawnIn a recent phone interview with MTV, Bill Condon addressed the concerns fans have had over the whole idea of a possible “R” rating for Breaking Dawn.

“It’s almost clinical the kind of strict guidelines [the MPAA] have about anything that appears to be — how do I put it delicately?

That appears to be, let’s call it thrusting. In fact, you know, it was so much more about romance than it was about hot-and-heavy action, so it was a very kind of simple adjustment to make.”

Condon wouldn’t confirm what Kristen Stewart said in Glamour about the film being re-cut to avoid the R rating.  We’ve heard from both sides of the fandom – those that want it to say PG-13 and those who want the “director’s cut” version that isn’t tamed down at all.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

Read the whole story at MTV.

Bill Condon Talks Favorite Scenes, Romance, and Edward’s PoV

Fandongo released an interview with Bill Condon where the director discusses some scenes in the film from Edward’s PoV that focus on his back story.

Fandango: We get so much of Bella’s and Jacob’s view in the last book, but what specific parts do we get to see more of Edward’s point of view?
Condon: There’s something that we put in there that’s referred to in an earlier book. We actually get to see Edward in his early life as a vampire and hear his thoughts about that. There’s a glimpse of him in Twilight describing how he got turned, how he got changed by Carlisle, but this is more extensive. I do think we get more inside Edward and he changes a lot, too. The wedding has an effect on him. There’s an aspect of self-loathing to him about what he did when he was a vampire [earlier] that he releases through Bella’s love. I think that’s a fun thing to watch.
Fandango also asks Condon about something fans have been speculating about – why is Irina from the Denali Coven at the wedding?
Fandango: What is Irina doing at the wedding (as seen in movie photos)? That’s noticeably different from the book.
Condon: In that case, it’s just about good movie storytelling. Just imagine if she’s not there and then in the second movie, she shows up, sees Renesmee and freaks out. No one will know who she is. People will talk about who she is, as they do in the book. Or you’d be stuck with some clunky flashback. To make something really cinematic, you put it into the present tense. She doesn’t want to come, she’s convinced to come, she gets there, she sees something that upsets her and she leaves – so that you see, you experience what it is that’s bothering her. It’s because her problem with the Cullens is the lynchpin for the entire second movie. Part of it why it’s there has to do with servicing what’s going to happen in the first half hour of the second film.
Read the whole interview at Fandango.

Bill Condon Calls Breaking Dawn “Twilight Grows Up”

In the second Bill Condon interview to hit the web today, the director talks to HitFix about how impressed he was with Kristen Stewart, the score and themes of the film, and the changes the characters all go through.  Condon compared Breaking Dawn to the other three films in the saga as the film where the characters grow up.

“ Y’know, I keep calling this ‘Twilight grows up,’ but in a way it is. All of the characters take tremendous steps in this story and that’s part of what turned me on to the material, to collaborate with Kristen Stewart as she goes from being the Bella we know in the first three movies to being a bride, being someone who finally has sex, gets pregnant, gets sick, gives birth, dies, become a vampire, becomes a warrior?  Just think of that journey.  I guess for none of them it was just playing the same old thing.  Jacob becomes a man in this movie. He moves away from being the third leg in a triangle and breaks free of that and his background and his family and his pack and becomes his own person.  So, that was a journey all the actors were eager and open to collaborate on.”

Condon also gives us a hint as to the conforntation scene in Breaking Dawn Part 2.

“As anyone who has read the novel knows, we end up in a big set piece with maybe 27 or 30 vampires on one sided aided by a dozen or so wolves against 80 vampires on the other side in this big confrontation.  It’s mostly a discussion, but many dramatic beats within that.  And that was like staging a spectacle on a stage almost, because we shot that for a month and not even counting all the second unit stuff. The sense of spectacle and moving fluidly through that, I did feel like I was calling on my musical roots there.”

Read the whole story over at HitFix.