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*Warning: Contains Spoliers*

I saw Breaking Dawn today with my sister and mother. It was better than I was anticipating. Out of the series, it wasn’t exactly my favorite book. I thought the whole switch over to Jacob’s point of view was entertaining, but totally unnecessary and the whole build up in the end of this 700 page book is really for nothing in the end. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it as a closer for such a popular series. But I also didn’t hate it. I did read the series 4 or 5 times so clearly I can’t complain too much.

I rarely feel like movies made out of books live up to the awesomeness that the books are, but I’ve been pretty pleased with the transitions from book to film with this series. Breaking Dawn just might have been the most true to the book film so far. The whole birth of Renesmee and attempt to make Bella a vampire is almost gory in the book, sort of horrific even. The movie left none of this out. Edward ripping the fetus out of Bella with his teeth, then proceeding to stab her in the heart with a needle full of his venom and bite her major arteries – it was all there. Honestly, I was shocked, but in a happy way. The graphic nature of it was what made it so mind blowing in text, seeing it come alive on screen very much like it was in the book was impressive. There had been talk that this movie wouldn’t even happen originally because of this scene. I was glad they didn’t glaze over it and make it fluffy when it wasn’t supposed to be.

On the acting side of this film I’d say all three of the main characters acting ability has vastly improved over the last four films, however the dynamic between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson just felt awkward. They act so uncomfortable with each other that as a viewer I felt  uncomfortable watching them try to make love for the first time and reach these intimate monuments in their relationship. I was really hoping this part of them would have grown by this movie, but unfortunately for me, they fell flat. Taylor Lautner, on the other hand, may have acted better in this movie than anything else I’ve seen him in. Jacob’s stand against Sam for his Alpha role is very intense and he even sheds tears that are totally believable. I’m not entirely sure how successful his career will be after this phenomenon has ended, but I think he’s really coming into himself as an actor.

Visually this movie was very rewarding; from the beauty that was every girls dream wedding to the insane amount of action between the werewolves and vampires. Even the littlest things like the color of the Cullen’s eyes fading from golden to black when they’re starving (a detail they failed at in previous films) and Bella’s extreme deterioration as her baby eats her alive from the womb were really vivid. Most appealing was Bella’s final deadly skeletal look healing, filling out, and regaining color when Edward’s venom finally starts to change her. The CGI team on these films does spectacular work. The only gripe I would have with the visual aspect is the lack of glitter. Sure, lots of people have a serious hatred towards vampires who sparkle, but it’s how they were written – its part of what made their story unique enough to become the phenomenon that it is. Sadly, not once while on their honeymoon and basking openly in the sun did Edward’s skin shimmer. To me, it was a failure on their part to leave this trade mark feature out of the film.

The soundtrack for this film, while good, felt very different than all its predecessors. Previously a lot of indie rock bands were used in setting the tone of the Twilight world, but this latest film was full of upbeat poppy songs. I suppose given the general happier context of the film (or at least the beginning of it), upbeat happier music makes sense, but I am just having a hard time accepting how the lead songs went from Paramore, Death Cab for Cutie, & Muse in the previous films to Bruno Mars in this one. No offense to Bruno Mars, he’s great and all, but at least the other three lead songs all sort of fit in the same class. Bruno’s not part of that genre. I’m a fan of all sorts of music so I’m not disappointed with the soundtrack at all I’m just confused over why its overall sound changed so drastically as a whole for the series. Also, I was sad to see that Muse in particular, after being such an influence to the writing of these books and being featured on the previous three soundtracks, apparently didn’t make the cut for its finale. I will say one really cool thing about this film was it’s usage of some of the more memorable songs from important moments in the previous films for example: during the wedding scene the song, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine, from the first film’s prom scene played. It was a nice way to make their relationship come full circle with music alone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this latest installment in The Twilight Saga. Originally I couldn’t imagine how or why there was a need to break the book into two movies, but I really enjoyed the breaking point. It leaves you with a great cliffhanger for those who haven’t read the books and for those that have it gives you a little reminder of what’s to come after the credits roll. It’s hard to believe in just a year this series will have reached its end, but I’m feeling pretty confident now that they will do it justice.

Click the following titles for my previous reviews on New Moon & Eclipse.