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Twilight for non-fans

Carrie Turek | Monday, November 21, 2011

Disclaimer: I am not a Twilight fan. I have not read the books and my knowledge of vampires and werewolves is limited. However, for reasons both social and inquisitive in nature, I was at the AMC Showplace Theater on Thursday, Nov. 17, for the midnight release of “Breaking Dawn: Part 1.” I was prepared to wait in long lines with geared-up teenage girls supporting either “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.” Surprisingly, though, there were no lines and only minimal swooning taking place.

Having seen the previous three Twilight films once each, I was only moderately caught up with the intricacies of the plot. Nevertheless, with my minimal knowledge of vampires and the help of a friend tolerant of questions, I made it through “Breaking Dawn: Part 1” without great confusion, and even a very slight interest in the remainder of the series.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a human, has fallen in love with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a vampire who consumes only non-human blood. Completing the love triangle, Bella and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a werewolf, have had an ongoing attraction throughout the series. “Breaking Dawn: Part 1” is the first half of the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s final Twilight novel.

“Breaking Dawn” begins on a promising note. Within the first few scenes, Jacob, as anyone could predict, loses his shirt upon receiving an invitation for the Cullen-Swan wedding. Picking up where “Eclipse” left off, the film commences with marriage preparations for the 18 year old heroine of the series and her immortal vampire love.

Despite Jacob’s pleas to Bella to choose him over a vampire, Bella marries Edward and they depart on a stereotypical island honeymoon. Of course, a vampire-human honeymoon can only stay normal for so long. After weeks of loving glances, romantic gestures and frolics on the beach, Bella learns that she is pregnant. Much of the film focuses on efforts to save Bella from both the dangers of carrying a half-vampire with exponentially increasing strength and from the werewolves who see the vampire-child as an immense threat.

The plot may be far-fetched, but with an open mind, the complexities that Meyer weaves into the storyline and the emotional intricacies between characters can seem impressive.  Though the talking digital werewolves were a bit unsettling, the set and scenery in this film was extremely well done. Costumes for Bella and Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) were gorgeous and stylish. Edward Cullen looked clean-cut and less starkly pale in this film, and Jacob Black’s flannel wardrobe and newfound assertiveness made him a powerful, standout character (and an attractive werewolf).

Unlike the previous Twilight films, the dialogue in “Breaking Dawn” is quick, and silences are used tactfully to convey internal emotions of confusion experienced by the main characters. The overabundance of smoldering glances and sometimes static facial expressions that made the first Twilight film slightly unbelievable were mostly absent in “Breaking Dawn.”

Despite my initial reluctance to see “Breaking Dawn,” by the end of the film, my interest was piqued.

With a final jolting glance from Bella, the film cuts to credits and leaves fans counting down the days until the next installment. “Breaking Dawn” was better than I had expected it to be and the best of the Twilight films yet. Though I have not been bitten and turned into a die-hard Twilight fan, chances are good that I will be one of the many to see the conclusion of Meyer’s saga when “Breaking Dawn: Part Two” is released on Nov. 16, 2012.