If you're a true Twilight fan like me then you saw "Breaking Dawn" the day it premiered. You may have even seen it more than once already...like me. :) I'm not one of the "midnight show" theater goers though for fear I may be too tired to be up that late. So now I've seen it (twice) and I've had time to digest it - ready to offer my personal review as a fan of the series. If you haven't seen it yet - shame on you!!! ;) But be warned - there may be some spoilers here and I don't want to ruin anything for you.
I try to rein in my expectations with each movie, but get excited when I see trailers because "it looks so good," and then avoid as much media attention on the film as possible. I learned early on that if I don't re-read the books or pay attention to every media story there is, my movie going experience is a lot better. Such is the case here because so far in the series this was the best film by far and my favorite of all time!
Under director Bill Condon the movie took on yet another look and feel, but still kept some threads of similarity to the other films. The actors worked well under his direction because they gave some of their best performances so far, which also is a result of their other acting experiences over the last few years as well. Condon used plenty of symbolism in the movie and it was hard to catch everything at first - second time certainly helped! And the cinematography was beautiful! It was a very visually appealing movie.
Again, Melissa Rosenberg did a great job at staying as true to the book as possible. I was a little disappointed when they downplayed Rosalie's and Jacob's aversion to each other - it was there but not as intense as in the book. For example, I would have loved to have seen the dog bowl come flying out at Jacob but apparently it didn't fit into the flow of the film. It certainly wasn't a make or break moment, but it would have been funny. But overall her interpretation of this portion of the book was as true as it could be to translate it to the big screen.
Now on to the wedding - it was absolutely gorgeous! While it was taken out of context a bit from the book, I think it was more visually appealing and very romantic. And that dress!!!! Holy cow! Absolutely stunning!!!! The toasts at the wedding reception were very funny and glad that those were put in there. They provided for a very light moment in the film, considering there were quite a few tearjerker moments throughout. And the toasts were something that you'd find at any wedding so it brought some commonality to it. The honeymoon was very romantic too. Glad some of the things from that section made it in - feathers everywhere!!! But the total disarray of the room really made a statement and got a good laugh out of everyone in the theater.
The special effects were really great I thought. I know there's been some criticism about the wolves, but I think they look great on screen. The only wolf scene I had issue with was when they were talking to each other "telepathically." It seemed a bit over the top because they were talking over each other and whatever they said seemed to be over done. But the scene was brief and didn't affect my overall opinion of the movie.
Now when they had to show Bella's deteriorating health due to the pregnancy I was shocked at how emaciated they were able to make her look without it appearing "fake." And when it came time for her to deliver...yikes! That whole scene made me cringe seeing it on screen. It was tough enough to read but to then see it made quite an impact.
Renesmee as a baby was beautiful! Can't wait to see her grow in the next film, but we did get a glimpse of her as a child and an adult when Jacob imprinted on her. And that scene I thought was done extremely well! Condon took what was a somewhat "weird" twist in the book and turned it into something you could understand and appreciate. And to tie it back to how Jacob had seen Bella in the past to seeing Renesmee in those same scenes as his future was really impressive and a unique way to relate the imprinting.
The movie ended exactly how I had envisioned it when they decided to split it into two parts. I loved how he showed Bella changing from the inside out with the final change being her eyes when she opened them. It was a great transition from the swirling white to the red eyes to show how they changed inside out, while using those red and white themes continuously throughout the movie. And I liked how they had her remember those important moments from her life during the transition while Carter Burwell's "Bella's Lullaby" was playing. It was a great way to link all the movies together and to tie in the lullaby since that was such a common thread throughout the books.
Finally, I am a HUGE fan of the soundtrack and thought the songs were placed in the right places throughout. Although I'm bummed we didn't hear Christina Perri's song at all during the movie. It's my favorite from the soundtrack and I'm going to assume it was one of the last ones used in the credits since I didn't watch all of them. However, I did stay long enough to see the additional scene with the Volturi which sets up Part II. It was a great scene, so hopefully you didn't miss it!
So without going on for pages, that's my review of the film. I thought it was as true to the book as it could be, it was visually appealing, the actors gave some of their best performances to date, the special effects were great, and I loved the soundtrack laced throughout the movie. It's unfortunate we have to wait a year for Part II, but it will be worth the wait since I'm sure it will be just as wonderful as Part I! Kudos to Bill Condon and the cast and crew. As a Twilight fan I thank you for doing such a great job in bringing Stephenie's story to life and I look forward to Part II!