More hormonal catnip arrives in the form of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, the fourth film in the mega-successful, teen-friendly, modern day vampire love story franchise, and a workmanlike effort that sets the table for series wrap-up next year. An emotionally fraught, dramatically leaden tale, the movie again proves the experiential sweet spot of the franchise — that of surging adolescent feeling trumping rational thought, and in this case lucid plotting.
Scribe Melissa Rosenberg, a veteran of the entire series, does a decent job of distilling some of the main conflicts from the 750-page novel that serves as the source material for the final two films. But dialogue howlers and largely soapy, melodramatic performances abound, and director Bill Condon’s staging is inert. Somewhat dispiritingly, but not surprisingly, the movie leans inordinately upon composer Carter Burwell’s goosing music cues, but also a litany of modern rock songs. Breaking Dawn isn’t the first teen movie to try to move some soundtrack CDs, but the sales success of previous iterations does seem to have informed in circuitous fashion some of the creative choices herein, where songs are used as spackle for incomplete scenes. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (Summit, PG-13, 117 minutes)