Monday Morning Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1’ from a Fan’s Perspective

Be warned the review that lies ahead contains massive spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the film, don’t read it. It’s part of’s latest series called Monday Morning Review (MMR). The concept behind MMR is “…a review of a film the Monday morning after it arrives in theaters. As such, this review is written for people who have seen the film, and will discuss plot points, spoilers, etc, so read it only if you’ve seen it or if you don’t mind knowing everything that happens.” The Lexicon’s Laura (who freelances a a bi-monthly column for was asked to pen this review.

It would be really easy to jump on the “Wimpy Heroine, Sparkly Vampire, Shirtless Werewolves are Banal Abominations” train. Let’s face it, proportionately there are as many reviewers taking that stance as there are going to be folks lining up for midnight sales on Black Friday. Certainly there is more than enough room to poke fun at far-fetched plot lines, predicable longing looks, and implausible dialogue. So taking all of this into consideration, why did The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 rake in an estimated $30.25 million on midnight screenings alone, and, later, $139.5 million? Far from falling on its economic face, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is well placed to shatter several box office records, and to finish its cinema run as a top five movie of the year.

Given that the novel Breaking Dawn is considered by many fans to be a huge letdown, and that it is the least popular book in the franchise by far, it does make you wonder why the movie version is doing so well. By in large it’s been established that this franchise is being fueled but its loyal female fanbase. There are a few fanboys out there known as “Twiguys,” but the male audience seems to be largely comprised of men that end up getting dragged along under duress to a screening by their girlfriends, wives or friends. So given that it’s a movie “for the fans” that weren’t really that happy with the novel, let’s take a look at why Breaking Dawn Part 1 is succeeding.

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  1. I disagree about the book! Breaking Dawn is by far my favourite of the books and one I have re-read many many more times than the others. Not a let down at all!

    • I agree with you; Breaking Dawn is my favourite as well.

    • It’s my favortie book as well! I really don’t see were it’s a let down…

    • I totally agree. I loved BD! It’s my second favorite one (after Midnight Sun/Twilight). I like that it had the feeling of the first book, and a lot of references to it.

      I just found it really enjoyable. Renesmee made sense to me. She was the only way that Edward could have finally not seen himself as a monster. And, she was probably the only way Edward could have initiated Bella’s change without regret. She was the missing piece that solved everything.

      And everyone changing and developing throughout was very nice.

      And I loved Bella as a vampire! It was my favorite part of the series to see how right and awesome she was. I respect Stephenie for not holding back in this book. And going to the vampire stage. I’ve read so much where the book ends before you see the human go through the vamp stage, or the person doesn’t change at all.

      Honestly, I thought New Moon and Eclipse were skipable (they wouldn’t even exist if Forever Dawn had happened). Seeing Bella as a vampire was what I wanted all along. It’s no wonder why I love that/the book so much.

      Maybe I’m just a sucker for happy endings, but I think BD deserves more respect. I mean, people insult Stephenie for writing sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. And when BD gets darker and messed up, people still aren’t satisfied.

      I hate this generation. Everyone always has to cpmplain about something. Me? I look for the good in things, and only comment on that.

      Shutting up now.

    • Michele Dwinell says:

      I LOVED Breaking Dawn as a book…now I LOVE it as a movie adaptation. We have been through this before; we all realize you just can’t put everything into a movie that was in the book, and some things just don’t translate well to the screen. But here is how I look at it. Once I’ve read the book, I know what went on whether I get to SEE that part on screen or I don’t. Sure, I would sit through a four hour Breaking Dawn movie, absolutely, if it meant I could see it all, exactly as it was originally written. But that just won’t happen. So I am content to see what does make it into a film, and I know that whenever I long for those missing moments, I can pick up my book again any time I want, and enjoy every last word. I think everyone did an amazing job…I laughed, I cried, and enjoyed Breaking Dawn completely. Can’t wait to go again…and again….and again….

  2. Donna King Sawalha says:

    I loved the book and loved the movie! can’t wait to see it again!

  3. Good review, though I don’t agree that it’s (fan perception aside) probably a B-movie in terms of quality. I’ve seen some movies this year that I’d consider far worse! And while I agree the wolf telepathy was over done, in all other respects this one definitely took the saga up a notch. Acting was much improved and in some scenes downright impressive (ie. birth scene)!

    • Michelle B says:


      I agree the acting in some scenes was very impressive . The scene where Edward watches Bella in the mirror while she’s getting ready to take a bath and he ( as well as us viewers ) can see the toll the pregnancy has taken on her health is heartbreaking . It was played very well by Rob and Kristen , no words were spoken between them but you could see Edwards horror , guilt and pain over Bella’s emaciated body and her shame at him seeing her that way. I felt so bad for both of them in that scene.

      I loved the many tie in’s from the first movie .


    Line from the review: “for sheer fan sentimentality it ties with the original”

    Interestingly, there were a number of parallels to the first movie.

    – Carter Burwell score
    – Bella’s bloody pre-wedding dream of herself as vampire : Bella’s bloody pre-meadow dream of Edward as vampire
    – Stephenie Meyer cameo
    – wedding song = prom song
    – Edward’s internet search on vamp baby art montage : Bella’s internet search on Cold Ones art montage
    – wounded and envenomated Bella flashback montage : wounded Bella flashback montage (after first exposure to venom)

    • I LOVED the connections between this movie and the first one that Halek mentioned above. Those little things really made the entire move/story feel like it came full circle. Let’s not forget Bella’s/Reneesmees Lullaby

      Did anyone else pick up that the chess pieces Edward and Bella used during the honeymoon were red and white, like the book cover? Again, another connection to the scene in the first movie with Edwards hands and the apple.

    • Isabella Marie Swan says:

      Remember when Charlie was going upstair with Renee to ser Bella before wedding? He saw the graduation hats on the wall and didnt quite understand the point with it. But the ones who watched Twilight remember when Edward told Bella that this was a family joke.

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      Excellent!! Those parallels are what helped make Breaking Dawn Part 1 so AWESOME!! Bill Condon evoked all the right emotions at all the right places. It was perfect!

    • Michele Dwinell says:

      Loved the connections to Twilight too…and there’s something else, very subtle, so you could miss it. Did anyone notice the predominant colors of the wedding were green, and purple (worn by several family members and guests)? And what were Bella’s rooms’s colors…but green walls, with a purple bedspread. Like I said, subtle, and you could miss it easily, but it was just a little nod to Bella’s surroundings through the first three films. I love little touches like that!

  5. I’m stunned, to make a movie out of this perfect described book is difficult so, out of all it’s oki, I might chosen other things, but the books will always be my own fantasy movie. It’s my favorite, will always follow me and it’s fun to see good movie come out of it.

  6. I loved the book!and i’m a crazy fan but i’ll tell you what i think people mean when they day it was a let down..everything was so exciting and awesome until the was kinda like an anti climax because there was no AWESOME really wud’ve been so cool if there’d been one now that Bella was part but then they all met,some of us starting t imagine an over the top fight and then……………………………………………………………………………..
    they all parted,leaving us with a craving for something kinda missing^_^..still love it though

    • I liked the revelation in the movie about the imprinting, but I felt like with most things, it didn’t develop the concept of imprinting as it should have – like it could have showed paul’s change in personality more, and Jacob’s attempt to imprint while visiting his sister (if I remember the history well, haven’t read the books).

    • * the revelation of ‘it’s their most absolute law’ btw. But it should have developed Jacob’s understanding of that connection, so that by the end, his imprint would have seemed more like a miracle, like a sympathy for him, than a necessity for her survival.

  7. Foreverinyourheart says:

    Aisha you hit the nail right on the head! I liked the book a lot but was so disappointed at the end.

  8. Breaking Dawn is my favorite if the books, and I loved the movie. I have read Breaking Dawn more than 10 times, I pretty much have it memorized. Lol I can’t wait to see the movie again. Already waiting to buy it on DVD.

  9. I LOVE the book and I really loved the movie-I’ve seen it twice already and I’m going again Thanksgiving. Breaking Dawn was by far my favorite book, despite the anti-climatic moment at the end, but I did actually get the hint with Merchant of Venice since I’ve read that play before :). Anyways, I thought the movie was waaaay better than the other three on production value and especially the acting. Kristen Stewart was never a favorite choice(Rob isn’t my first choice either, but he did ok) for Bella-she’s just too serious all the time. But finally in Breaking Dawn there was a wide range of emotions from both of them! Including happy for once(before all the baby stuff). They finally seem as in love as I picture them in the books and it made my heart melt to see it on screen. Thank you Bill Condon for a great adaptation of my favorite book in the series!! I can’t wait for Part 2 and I don’t want to wait a whole freaking year!!!! >:-p.

  10. David Slade should’ve directed these last 2, eclipse near-perfected the craft of the twilight world – romance, drama, action, and atmosphere. The setup was perfected – music, character styles etc.

    Chris Weitz did the best with the emotional side, and David was an expert on character development and epic action.

    So it saddens me that breaking dawn seemed to be more of a book than a movie – especially when aspects of it were long-drawn out, replacing deleted scenes that would’ve added more perspective to that world (and I’m not a deleted scenes kind of guy, whatever isn’t in the movie, isn’t part of it), and characters seemed out of touch, even though at times came so close to the right tone – Jacob’s original rebellion, where he runs angered to the log-yard. And yet it fell flat somewhat, and for me, distanced itself from a truer portrayal – for example, by redubbing jacob’s ‘i am the grandson of ephraim’ to ‘my grandfather, ephraim black, was the first chief of this tribe – I was not meant to follow’ etc. it would have added additional basic epic atmosphere, because it would have painted Jacob as more of an individual that way – just stuff like that. They needed to harness the concept of anger like they did in that moment where he kicked the bike and phased, and characterize it.

    Also, I was dissappointed with Carter Burwell’s score, and general music inclusion for the most part vs the other films. For example, I would have preferred the new moon guy to return, or James Newton Howard (check out the score for lady in the water on youtube). And I didn’t like how the flightless bird inclusion was handled, I would have preferred a cover by a wedding band. A song that I thought would have been perfect for the wedding dance/ leaving on the boat would have been ‘strange and beautiful’ by aqualung.

    I felt that character interests were mishandled also, as the solid setups in eclipse were seemingly faded on the actors this time around. Like I thought the bachelor horseplay was a bit overdrawn and unrealistic/ corny, and Alice wasn’t quite herself, she wasn’t as adorably proud and playful as she has been in the past, and I thought it was a real shame that Jacob’s involvement with the family seemed to be immensely false – parts were ok, like his appreciation of Esme, but like when he says ‘it’s like a real family – like the kind I was born into’ it seemed like empty words, both emotionally, and from a point of story. More playful banter between he and rosalie, and the easing of the relationship between him and Alice when her headaches are evident, would have built on this.

    But this is what you get with a new director, a new interpretation. I had liked how twilight evolved from film to film, from the corny montage of the traditional vampire during bella’s original research, to her earie predictive dreams in eclipse. And the concept of vampirism in Edwards backstory was pathetic, no grasp of the single minded ferocity of the vampire nature – like when he killed victoria, which is what it should have been like, as he was validating that animal nature and unleashing it.

    I thought the action sequences were done very well however, although again I think deleted scenes were a problem – like the lexicon has showed recently with ed and jacob.

    When I watched the first movie, the first time, I admit, I found it corny, but there was something tactile, and interesting about the story that compelled me to rewatch and reinterpret it, something I have never done before, and it was the potential to express the epic in the story that was inspiring, New Moon rewarded that, and Eclipse displayed it proudly, even taking a few shots at itself, as if to say ‘it’s more than that’. Breaking Dawn part 1 was always going to be a precursor to the last installment, but my hope for that advancement and comfortability wasn’t rewarded this time.

    All in all – Characters weren’t themselves, and stories were left untold, where parts were overextended. But it ended fairly strongly with Bella’s conclusion, despite the unfelt deus ex machina of Jacob and renesmee, which should have been at the emotional level that Jacob was in just outside the house.

    Bill needs to tighten his grasp for the next movie, but it’s the thought of what could have been is what was the most difficult thing to get over, for any fan.

  11. Twilight9009 says:

    It’s a huge let down for me when I go to a fansite and even they are saying how bad the book/movie is. Breaking Dawn is by far my favorite novel, and has been ever since I first finished it a couple of years ago. I thought the book was tied together very well. I have the same opinion of the movie. In no way do I think it was a “B-movie”.

    • I agree. I thought the review was a little harsh coming from a fan. Although, I understand the need to make “us” (us being the fans) not all look like a bunch of psychotic hormonally driven basketcases, and give us a rational face, proving that we can say, “Ya–we get it. You don’t like it. Let us have our fun.” But I still would much more appreciate a review FOR the fans… a review that totally caters to what, as a die hard (or TWI hard) we would and wouldn’t want. Personally, from a fans perspective I think Condon pretty much nailed it. And that’s what he was going for, so truly he accomplished his goal. Haters can yap all they want–Bill Condon delivered.

      PS For the record–this was also my favorite book. Great ending to a great series.

      • And I also actually disagree with the analysis of the transformation. I loved seeing the venom go through her veins and eventually encase her heart.

  12. LivesAmongTheStars says:

    So, I normally don’t comment on these posts, but I feel compelled to do so now.

    I personally wasn’t disappointed in the least by the “Breaking Dawn” novel. Honestly, the underhanded, slick-like and malevolent ‘negotiating’ with the Volturi was much more nerve-wracking than an all-out brawl.

    Also, there are a couple of things in the review that I’d like to address. The first is the ‘visually jarring’ gold contact lenses worn by the Denali sisters. I agree that it was startling…but I expected it, both from the complementing colors that the sisters were wearing, and because they would have hunted excessively before attending the ceremony with a large number of humans. So it really didn’t faze me in the least.

    And the wolves. The wolves were incredibly well rendered in this film, I agree. And as for the telepathy ‘verging on utter cacophony’, Jacob describes the sensation of sharing one’s thoughts with the pack as disconcerting. If there were nine other minds crowding into your brain, it would be a little chaotic. And you can’t hide anything from the pack, either, so no one can really ‘edit’ or choose not to think something where others can hear.

    Lastly, I got a bit of a “CSI” vibe from the venom changing Bella’s body…but it worked for me. As an audience, we were able to see the changes, inside and out, that were happening to her ravaged body, and I appreciated the insight into how the internal change takes place.

    So anyway, that’s my two cents. I will finish up by saying that I was pleasantly surprised by the imprinting scene. I think that was handled really well, and it felt like Jacob’s entire world was shifting to center on Renesmee in that moment.

  13. Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

    Laura, this was a great review! Thanks so much for writing it!!

  14. The only “major” problem I had with the movie was including the scene toward the beginning where Edward tells Bella what a monster he was, and they went back to the historical time. My husband and I both think that was a “nod” to the TV Series Dexter (since Melissa Rosenberg is/was also the writer for Dexter). That scene just didn’t feel like it belonged in the movie at all. It was not in the book, and for Edward to try to convince Bella what a monster he is just felt like something to fill in the time.

    I would have liked to seen the banter between Rosalie and Jacob included in the movie, I think that would have made for more charming and interesting scenes.

    Saturday (the day after we saw the movie) my husband and I had a back to back “Twilight Marathon” with the DVD’s. We both wholeheartedly agree that the first two are still the best. Neither of us (nor my mother in law, another Twilight Fan) liked Eclipse much. It lost the charm, romance, and overall feel of Twilight. Even the tent scene in Eclipse just didn’t give me warm fuzzies like some of the other scenes from the other movies did. I think this was because Eclipse just had too much “stuff” packed into it.

    Now back to BD – I LOVED it. I cried through the entire movie. My husband hated it only because he said it was a true chick flick, just for the fans and the girls. He said it was sappy, romantic, girly, and gushy. He also did not like the music much at all. He felt there were a few scenes that took him “out” of the movie. He did say, however, that aside from the story itself, and music, it was a well-done film with strong acting (not oscar worthy, but not bad acting either).

    I LOVED every part of the movie except for the scene I mentioned above. I really liked how they did the imprint scene, I thought it was perfect and conveyed the feeling Jacob had when seeing Reneesme. They discussed the concept of imprinting throughout the movie so you knew (or at least had an idea) of what was going on when it happened.

    I liked the show of the venom through the veins, even if it did feel a bit sci-fi. I think those parts told without words what was going on. To just show Bella laying there still without anything else going on for more than a minute would have gotten real old real fast.

    I thought the bachelor scene was cute and funny, and the wedding speeches made it feel like a real wedding. If they were omitted in favor of more relationship-building between Jacob and Rosalie in the second half of the movie, I would have liked that better.

    I LOVED the honeymoon scene, including the pre-wedding night jitters when Bella was getting ready before the swim.

    I liked how they started to introduce the relationship budding and building between Charlie and Sue. I’m sure that will be built upon further in the second movie (I hope so!).

    Before the movie, I had so many questions of “how are they going to do this…” and the movie answered them all and exceeded my expectations.

    I really liked how Bella looked when she opened her eyes. I read somewhere that some fans though it was too over the top. Really? Bella is supposed to look like a supermodel when she becomes a Vampire. They nailed that perfectly in the makeup area.

    Speaking of makeup, the entire transformation while she was pregnant and until her final last human breath was outstanding. It was very realistic with making her look gaunt and dead.

    The scene where Edward was beside himself after he realized Bella was pregnant and getting ready to leave was well done. It conveyed the emotions he must have been feeling, and the acceptance on Bella’s face that she was going to be a mom and have a baby.

    There really isn’t much from the book that didn’t make it into the movie that I feel should have been included. Yeah, the “before” car part was omitted. That didn’t really contribute to the story line, and would have weighed down the movie.

    The only other thing that I think they SHOULD have put in but didn’t is why Bella turned to Rosalie for protection over the baby. They gave a bit of background in Eclipse with Rosalie’s unfulfilled desires of getting married, having a family, etc., but even during her memory flashback in Eclipse, they NEVER mentioned how badly she wanted a child. So when Bella called Rosalie for help, it wasn’t fully explained why. Bella knew that Rosalie did not like her (or her choices of becoming a vampire much). This was even mentioned at the start of BD by Rosalie when she said “I have no problem with your choice of groom, just your future” (or something like that). So why DID did Bella call Rosalie for help? Only if you read the book, and remember from Eclipse where Rosalie discussed how she always wanted a boy, did you know that Bella turned to Rosalie for support in BD.

    There was only one other thing that kind of nagged me a little and maybe I missed this on the first viewing (I only saw the movie once, but plan on seeing it again soon). In the book, Jacob kept referring to Edward as the burning man. In some scenes I think Edward did not look distraught enough. I would have liked to see him really look more haggard, distraught, upset, etc. I don’t know if it was just inadequate acting, or if it was the director/writer that had him look like that. Heck, maybe he did look that way and I didn’t pick it up the first time.

    I would really have to give the movie a second viewing to be able to give a full critique of it. I always pick up so much more on subsequent viewings.

    I like the scene at the end with the Volturi (after the credits). I think it did a perfect job of setting up the story for the second movie. Even though (me being the blonde that I am), I didn’t get the joke about the grammar at first until my husband explained it to me. Still, I think the acting by the Volturi is really great. I LOVE Caius and his apathetic attitude towards everything and cannot wait to see them in Part 2.

    OMG is it November 2012 yet? How will I LAST a whole year?!

    • I agree, Bella’s transformation was awesome.

      And I agree about the Rosalie part, I thought they should have had a pre-events period to fill in the necessary stuff, and reinforce the characters before things started happening, like the other movies had a little more I think. I would’ve liked continuity from the last movies, I know there were connections (I don’t think some were necessary though), but like, I would’ve liked to see Bella’s truck get a wave bye, as if to say it’s the end of her journey kinda – becoming a vampire etc.

      Definately gona give it a second viewing to be sure, because getting rid of expectations can be half the battle with reviewing.

      Oh man, I missed the bit at the end of the credits!

    • lol,u know what dat was exactly what we were asking abt d 1st part but here it is…i thnk dis wait is gng 2 be ‘excruciating!’

  15. Jackalyn Colpitts says:

    Have to say….I thought Breaking Dawn was a wonderful book. I wanted a happy ending, and wanted the loose ends tied up. Steph gave that to us. I was never disappointed in that book. I have been moved to tears every time i have read it, and will read it many more times.

    I loved the movie. I think every movie has, in its own way, captured a different part of the novels. I loved Breaking Dawn, loved the wedding, Charlie killed every scene he was in. I could not help but be moved to tears everytime they showed him. The honeymoon was great, the music was moving, I really cant say enough about this installment of the movies, Of course you always loose some of the novels in the translation to film, but the mood was captured. These movies are for fans of the book, if you did not read and love the books, you cant expect to get the full experience of the movie.

  16. I first would like to say I never listen to reviews. I don’t care what reviews say, I just like what moves me. I don’t need an Oscar status movie because if I’m being honest, to me some of those movies suck. Any way I’m saying this as a Twilight fan, I LOVED THE MOVIE!. Even though there’s stuff left out that people wanted to see I think they hit all the key points and it flowed smoothly. And I have to say I cried three times. I know you we’re laughing but it’s all good. It’s what ever moves you and you know all Twilight fans will see it more than once.

  17. Breaking Dawn is my favorite of the books because that is when all of my series requirements became fulfilled. By Breaking Dawn there were three things I needed to see happen to make it feel complete. Bella & Edward get hitched, have sex and Bella becomes a vampire. I got all that and more.
    After I read Breaking Dawn I started reading that a ton of fans hated BD. I was crushed. I loved it. For this reason, I’ve been extra excited about this movie. I am SO happy to read such positive fan comments as I’ve seen on this board the last few days. It makes me feel like in some small way, BD is finally getting the attention it deserves. I’m glad Stephenie’s fans are so loyal and aren’t staying home instead of going to the theater just because BD may have not been their favorite book in the saga.

  18. Dayi Martinez says:

    What are u talking about?! The book is awesome! And the guys that are going? Most of them are not being forced to watch it! This “fan” needs to get better informed!

  19. For a book that was criticized as the worst and least favorite book in the series,it’s amazing to see how many others(like myself) loved BD. The film adaptation was superb as well and Bill Condon hit all the important points that needed to be shone. I saw a youtube video review,where the reviewer hit the nail on the head,when she said the most vocal critics of the book were Team Jacob or anti-Bella people. It came down to this-if you’re over 21 and are married and has a family,then this was your book because you could relate to the story. For everyone else under 21,I can see why many aspects of the marriage/starting a family plot is unrelatable. I was 30 at the time when I read BD,so alot of the criticism didn’t affect me enjoying the novel. I loved the book,because it tied in with the first novel perfectly. The story came full circle and that’s all I could have asked for. I’m seeing BD part 1 again this weekend. It’s an awesome movie!

  20. We have to realize that everyone is entitled to their opinions and we should stop getting upset when people opinions are not the same as our own. I think the Twilight Fandom go all off of the road when someone say something negative about the books or movies. I know i do and i said i am going to have to stop getting so upset when non-twilight fans come to this site and make vicious comments about the books, movies, or fans. I have seen BD three times already and i am in love with it. I enjoyed it and that is all that matters. I dont care what no one else say. I think it was wonderful and everyone is else is welcome to their opinions and there is nothing i can do about that.

  21. Just saw the film FINALLY. I loved it. I also love breaking Dawn the book it’s my second favourite behind. New Moon.

    I think Kristen Stewart was absolutely incredible, she played all of it perfectly exactly how I imagined it in the book! the cgi people should win an award for making her look that bad, when Edward was watching her get ready for the bath just killed me.

    I loved how they dealt with the imprinting I think when people who haven’t read the book hear about imprinting it grosses them out but this was tasteful and gave a real sense of what it must feel like.

    The music was perfect it brought me back to the first 1 which I loved.

    The wedding was amazing, just beautiful.

    The birth was properly terrifying like the book.

    I thought how Bill used the fllashbacks of Bella’s life interweaved with her transformation into a vampire were stunning and I liked the venom moving through the veins I also think this would give an idea of the process to those who haven’t read the book.

    It was great to see more of Leah and Esme 2 characters who I’ve always been a fan of.

    The only things I wasn’t delighted with were the fact that all the brilliant Jake/Rosalie funny banter, which are some of my favourite scenes from the book and also the wolf telepathy was a little overwhelming although maybe when I watch it again I will be better prepared.

    I think Bill, Melissa, Kristen, Robert, Taylor and everyone did a great job and should be proud. How can I wait another year!!!

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