Film title: Twilight Breaking Dawn: part 1
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner
Director: Bill Condon
Duration: 1 hour 57 minutes

The latest instalment of the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn: part 1, is certain to be another box-office hit thanks to its obsessive, often hysterical fans. Hype for this film franchise has so far been something akin to ‘Potter-mania’, and, as with the Potter series, the final novel has been adapted into two movies for the big screen (part 2 is coming next year).

Breaking Dawn features the long-awaited wedding between pallid heart-throb vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the glum, virtuous, equally pallid eighteen year old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). The ceremony will have the primarily teenage, female fan base squealing in their seats with excitement. A real fairy-tale affair, Bella glides down the aisle surrounded by trees in blossom… and yes, the dress is just perfect. Next, the couple speed off for their idyllic honeymoon on a secluded island near Rio, where Bella and Edward finally consummate their relationship. As long-awaited as the marriage, this intimate moment is cautiously kept-off screen. However, we soon understand what has happened when Bella discovers she is pregnant with a half-vampire child which is growing so quickly that it threatens her life.  

Many parents encouraged their children to watch the previous Twilight films because of the traditionally moral aspects of Bella and Edward’s relationship (abstinence before marriage, respect for parents’ wishes, etc). However, these parents might think twice before taking their kids to this next movie. Despite the director’s determination to leave any sex-scene to the imagination, he doesn’t hold back on the copious amounts of blood and shocking images in the ‘birth’ scene, which, along with a terrifying vision of pregnancy, might well verge on being traumatic for impressionable young girls.

It is gruesome to watch Bella’s body deteriorate into a state of anorexic frailty as her stomach swells, but Stewart plays her part with far more assurance than she demonstrated in the previous films. Pattinson convincingly – if a little stiffly – plays the new husband who fears for his young wife’s life and wants to protect her at whatever cost. Together, the two portray with surprising naturalness a couple agonising over an unexpected and very dangerous pregnancy.  To complicate matters, werewolves are determined to destroy the infant before it is born… and Bella’s old friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) becomes her only hope for survival. Of course, Condon hasn’t forgotten to include many lengthy shots of Jacob hurtling through the forest, ripping his shirt off, glowering at Edward, and storming off in a huff. These are essential parts of the Twilight tradition, and fans of the saga wouldn’t be without them.

With none of the self-conscious humour of the previous films, Breaking Dawn seems to take itself seriously, but then it can, because the acting is significantly improved. We await the final film…