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Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1

The decision to turn "Breaking Dawn," Stephenie Meyer's last book in the "Twilight" series, into two movies has created a division as different as Edward and Jacob.

The first half, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" is packed with as many emotional and contemplative moments as the brooding vampire, while the second half will have the kind of action that makes a werewolf howl. It's a similar structure to the two halves of the final "Harry Potter" adaptation.

The division would have been OK if director Bill Condon hadn't stretched scenes to the point of tedium and cranked up the volume of the soundtrack to annoying levels.

Rick Bentley's one-minute review

"Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" deals with the wedding of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), their energetic honeymoon and her immediate pregnancy. The wedding is beautifully staged, but it begins to lose its power because Condon extends the sequence with a series of wedding toasts that are too light and silly for such an emotional moment.

And the honeymoon sequence seems to run longer than a Kim Kardashian wedding. Who knew vampires liked to play chess so much on their honeymoon?

Condon's cranked up the music so loud that half of the film plays more like a music video than a feature. Instead of the music helping set the mood, it slams into scenes with such unabashed fury that it becomes distracting. That might work in the second film, but with this half so wrapped up in emotional moments, it seems a lighter volume would have worked much better.

The film features such a large cast that only Taylor Lautner and Stewart get a lot of opportunities to show their acting skills. Lautner has certainly grown as an actor.

In previous films, Stewart wasn't pushed. She gets to grow up here and portray a nervous bride and expectant mother.

This review is not for the kind of loyal "Twilight" fans who will sleep in the cold to be the first to see the latest movie in the series. The sight of Bella walking down the aisle will be enough to make them swoon.

This review is just in case there's one completely oblivious person out there who stumbles into the film without having seen the others. For them, it's one long setup for the final film. It's like getting married and being told you have to wait a year for your honeymoon.

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