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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1(2011)
The Quileute and the Volturi close in on expecting parents Edward and Bella, whose unborn child poses different threats to the wolf pack and vampire coven.
For more about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray release, see the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 11, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Ashley Greene
Director: Bill Condon
» See full cast & crew
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray Review
Do you take this Blu-ray into your collection?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 11, 2012
You deserve to live with this.
The latest Twilight movie is one of big happenings that come slowly at first and with rapid-fire intensity late. The movie slow-brews its first half and explodes with endless jolts of energy in its second as all of the previous story lines come to a head, are spun around, and are reframed in a completely new perspective with the movie's final shot promising a whole new ballgame in the coup de grâce that's to come. Ain't wedded bliss wonderful? Breaking Dawn is essentially a story of the birds and the bees and and the flowers and the trees, though perhaps better rephrased here as the vampires and the humans and the Brazil and the Northwestern U.S. But that doesn't flow off the tongue nearly as well, and neither does the movie, at least not until its machine-gunned second half. After three films and around six hours spent sorting out a love triangle between a girl, a dead boy, and a man-wolf, Breaking Dawn moves on to the next logical step and finally gets to the juicy stuff: how will a human girl handle a sexual relationship with a vampiric male? What happens when undead sperm meets living egg? The answer: a ticked off and worried teen heartthrob and a whole lot of craziness that has vampires confused and werewolves on the prowl. Breaking Dawn leaves much to the imagination but unflinchingly dives into some pretty hardcore territory at the same time, which says quite a bit for just how far the movie goes to answer those questions that have long haunted fans. It's a beautiful and bloody affair all at once, but does the movie do justice to an admittedly interesting premise?
The big day has finally come: Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is to be married to her Vampire Valentine, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). While they prepare for the ceremony, the jealous wolf-man Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has fled to Northern Canada to wallow in the misery of losing Bella forever. The wedding goes as it should; it's a joyous occasion, and Jacob even returns to share his congratulations and dance a final dance with the bride. But when he learns that Edward has married her without converting her into a vampire, he becomes furious, knowing that consummating the marriage may lead to dire consequences. Nevertheless, it's off to a secluded honeymoon home in Brazil for the couple; their first sexual encounter leads to a bruised and battered bride, a bride who also discovers she's pregnant, the child growing within her at an inhuman rate. Edward and Bella return home as Bella's health rapidly deteriorates. Meanwhile, Jacob discovers that Bella is pregnant and is unlikely to survive the birth of a hybrid child, a child the werewolves view as a demonic threat and vow to destroy. As Bella falls further ill, old pacts (and packs) are broken, new friendships are forged, and an unknown entity looms over all.
Breaking Dawn brings with it a resolution to one story and the beginning of another. The series is lauded as a tale of true love that crosses not those traditional borders that separate man but rather fantastical, make-believe boundaries where, despite differences not in age, race, or any other inherently human classifications, love still triumphs. Matters of the heart, these stories say, transcend the living and the dead, or to take it a step farther, any two entities between whom an unbreakable bond is forged, any and all repercussions of the mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual kind be damned. Breaking Dawn sees the entire Twilight saga at its climax, where Bella has made her choice and the consequences of that choice will ultimately shape her destiny and that of the people and entities with whom she surrounds herself, be they for better or for worse. "For better or for worse." Perhaps never has the wedding vow meant so much, and indeed, Breaking Dawn takes those words of commitment to a whole new level as the story transitions from one of wedded peace and harmony to bloodlust on one side and grave uncertainty on the other. The movie is uniquely contrasted, light and fluffy in its first half and dark and deadly in its second. It's the ultimate representation of "better" and "worse" to be sure, for rarely have vows so quickly been tested and never has holy matrimony been as unholy, darkly complicated, and dangerous as this.
It's hard to argue that the story of Twilight isn't at least intriguing on some level. It plays with old ideas of forbidden love and dire consequences but with a rather novel twist. It creates interesting characters and equally fascinating dynamics between them. The stories are both gentle and perilous, and it's in Breaking Dawn where the gentle and the perilous collide, when hopes and dreams and goodness and tenderness become something else, necessarily reflecting the realities of the consequences of forbidden love, warnings unheeded, and choices made. Unfortunately, the movie tries a little too hard to paint that contrast. It works on many levels in its purest thematic form, but its transition to filmed story is sometimes sloppy. The movie's first half plays with a pacing of that long Honeymoon flight halfway around the world; anticipation turns to tedium, good feelings yield short fuses, and suddenly anything would seem a reprieve, even if that reprieve comes in the form of a complicated and life-threatening pregnancy and the promise of all-out war between the nonhuman species over the very existence of a so-called "demon" child. At least the second half of the movie moves more at the speed of a motion picture; it's challenging and thought-provoking, again not always well made or faultlessly executed, but at least doing something other than lingering on the ooey-gooey that's grossly overplayed and easily the movie's primary downfall.
Aside from the contrast that is the admittedly necessary but overlong and hollow opening half and the kinetic second, there remain plenty of other "good/bad" dichotomies throughout the movie. Several scenes indicate that Director Bill Condon is working off the assumption that most of his viewers have either absorbed the books or at least recently watched the rest of the movies; aside from the comings and goings of the main characters, the rest of the movie proves a little difficult to follow, whether it's throwing around concepts of "imprinting" and the needs of a half human-half vampire fetus, or whether it simply overplays a critical scene in which the werewolf pack splits, on one side Jacob and on the other characters who in this film are left mostly with no identification and only a voice that becomes lost in a soupy mess of several more. That the movie fumbles the delivery of arguably its most important turning point is its greatest fault, though again, it seems to assume that the scene need not aim for clarity if its audience already knows what it's all about, what's happened, and where the story is headed. Condon's direction is equally uneven, though generally effective. The movie works better when he allows the actors to tell the story, stiff though some of the performances may be, and it's less effective when he intervenes with an overload of movement and style, exemplified in the film's second critical scene that comes in the final minutes. Breaking Dawn works well enough because its story is interesting and leaves the audience wanting to see its resolution, but that base strength comes at the expense of a whole lot of fumbled and jumbled pieces along the way.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Breaking Dawn features another stellar 1080p transfer from Summit Entertainment. The image displays nearly faultless clarity, sharpness, detailing, and color with every passing frame. Certainly, there are a handful of ever-so-soft shots and blacks that are deep and dark but sometimes border on crush, but the image is nearly otherwise blemish-free. The image's naturally film-like texture remains; a light layer of grain accentuates the finest textural attributes, whether the heavy stock used for the wedding invitations, the finest stitches and designs on Bella's wedding dress and veil, the natural sharpness of the foliage and woodland accents around the wedding service, or the odds and ends around the Cullen household. Facial details excel to the point that it's easy to spot the powdery makeup on Robert Pattinson's face in appropriately up-tight shots. On the other hand, there are a handful of scenes where faces can look a bit pasty, particularly in some of the darker stretches. Colors are exemplary; not only are the wide range of flesh tones accurate in appearance, but the transfer handles everything from the pure white wedding dress to green foliage, from warm wooden accents to overcast skies, with brilliant precision. Ever-so-slight banding is visible in the chaotic, almost psychedelic shaking camera shots of the final minutes, but the transfer is otherwise free of any unwanted artifacts, and the print is unsurprisingly clean. This is a very strong transfer that handles even the most challenging of elements with remarkable ease.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Breaking Dawn features a mesmerizing DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Rare is the moment when the listener isn't effortlessly transported to the world of Breaking Dawn. The added surround channels are used to marvelous effect to paint one of the richest and most seamless soundtracks on the market. Indeed, "total immersion" is the name of the game here. Whether a driving rain that saturates the entire soundstage in the movie's opening moments, incredible woodland ambience at the scene of the wedding, the whirring of an old style movie projector heard in an early flashback scene, or the light chatter and music of the joyous wedding ceremony, there's never a moment where the audience feels anything less than completely enclosed within the movie's various environments. Heavier action effects are equally engaging. The track never sacrifices clarity for volume and power. Action scenes are seamlessly integrated as the listener is plopped in the middle of the chaos, whether a circular battle between Werewolves and Vampires late in the movie or a scene in the middle where "talking" werewolves communicate in a seamless 360-degree sound field, with the listener in the middle of the pack. Music is perfectly rich, the kind that's so clear and so precisely spaced that the speakers melt away in favor of an authentic, live-performance feel. No surprise, dialogue is steady and crisp and never lost under surrounding elements. This is a superb track from top to bottom, side to side, front to back, and any which way it plays. Twilight fans will be thrilled with the sense of immersion and attention to pinpoint detail that truly brings this movie to vivid sonic life.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Breaking Dawn's supplements are highlighted by an engaging audio commentary track and a comprehensive documentary.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Breaking Dawn is certainly not a perfect movie, but the story it tells partially makes up for its many structural shortcomings. This is Twilight finally at its thematic peak, where years of preparation have finally yielded a brief peace, albeit a peace that promises only more pain and difficulty in the trials to come, trials that take shape in this movie and that will take shape in the next. Sadly, Breaking Dawn as a whole never quite gels; its first half is sluggish and its second is home to a few poorly-realized critical scenes. The film at least creates an anticipation for the next, a film which will hopefully be tighter and more consistently engaging this this. Summit's Blu-ray release of Breaking Dawn features excellent video, amazing audio, and a good assortment of extras. Twilight fans will undoubtedly buy regardless of the disc's quality, but anyone on the fence need not worry, at least on the technical side of the ledger. Recommended.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1: Other Editions
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga Blu-ray - August 13, 2013
Summit Entertainment has announced the 10-disc Blu-ray release of the Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga collector's set, which features all five Twilight films and over two hours of brand new bonus content, as well as hours of previously released extras. The ...
• Official Trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 - June 20, 2012
Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment have released the new theatrical trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. The last installment in the popular Twilight film franchise follows the aftermath of the marriage between vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, ...
• The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Blu-ray - January 23, 2012
Next month, Lionsgate and Summit Home Entertainment will bring The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 to Blu-ray. This installment in the Twilight franchise follows the marriage of vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants) to human Bella ...
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