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Early Reviews: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One; Marriage, Sex, Pregnancy, Vampire, Bill Condon Talks

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 11, 2011 at 4:30PM

At Comic-Con, "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon talked about how he approached "Twilight: Breaking Dawn (November 18), which I will see at Monday's premiere. Condon had been eager to direct a horror movie, and landed the finale to this mother of all horror epics, which he and Summit agreed to break into two parts, "Harry Potter"-style. "It's all third act, which does make it easy," he says, "and scary too, there are some pretty crazy things." The film wound up earning a PG-13 rating after trims of a scene where Bella and Edward have sex for the first time, which features some nudity, and when she gives birth to their baby, with blood flying around the room.
2
Breaking Dawn Part 1

At Comic-Con, "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon talked about how he approached "Twilight: Breaking Dawn (November 18), which I will see at Monday's premiere. Condon had been eager to direct a horror movie, and landed the finale to this mother of all horror epics, which he and Summit agreed to break into two parts, "Harry Potter"-style. "It's all third act, which does make it easy," he says, "and scary too, there are some pretty crazy things." The film wound up earning a PG-13 rating after trims of a scene where Bella and Edward have sex for the first time, which features some nudity, and when she gives birth to their baby, with blood flying around the room.

Condon says he went for grown-up emotion here--aimed squarely at female Twihards. If Catherine Hardwicke was able to channel the teen POV in the first film, Condon is revealing the couple as adults: falling in love, getting married, living together, having a child, "set against a big mass-market studio movie," he says.

But, befitting a vampire/human liaison, they don't have your ordinary kid; they have no idea what is growing super-fast inside Bella, eating away at her--and in the next installment, Bella becomes a vampire. Condon is relieved that he and Summit finally decided not to shoot the final films in 3-D. In the arena of dramatic intense emotion, 2-D works best, he says.

The first round of trade reviews are up.

THR:

"The film is like a crab cake with three or four bits of crab in it surrounded by loads of bland stuffing,..The actors have long since been set in their performances and there are no surprises here. In the end, given how little goes on in Breaking Dawn—Part 1 despite the major plot points, what you're left with is to gaze at the three leads, all of whom have their own constituencies and reasons for being eminently watchable. The only hope is that they'll have more to do next time around."

Variety:

"Bella Swan kisses abstinence and mortality goodbye in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1,' in which the vampire-loving teen gets hitched, knocked up and almost destroyed from within by her little bundle of joy. All the more disappointing, then, that a story so pregnant with dramatic possibilities should wind up feeling like such an unconsummated opportunity,..the film is rich in surface pleasures but lacks any palpable sense of darkness or danger, which is a roundabout way of saying that Summit has protected its investment well."

This article is related to: Franchises, Reviews, Trailers, Twilight, Kristen Stewart, Critics, Box Office


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.