The decision to break the final installment in the bestselling Stephanie Meyer abstinence-minded teen love-fest featuring sparkling vampires, shirtless werewolves and dangerously clumsy but oh-so-hip human girls came on the heels of the Harry Potter two-part bonanza, but there was narrative cause to rebel here as well. Breaking Dawn: Part 1, directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), takes its time with the inevitable wedding between dreamy vamp king Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his young queen Bella (Kristen Stewart) as the wolfpack and the high vampire order watch from the wings. First comes love, then comes marriage and then comes the implied brutality of the consummation and the awful spawn that threatens to steal forever from Edward and Bella.
For a series that has been all about the waiting and the longing, it's only fitting that Part 1 leaves audiences twisting in the breeze again. But there could have been some real payoff here, enough to actually add to the highly anticipated clash of the monstrous titans to come. Imagine David Lynch, David Cronenberg or Guillermo del Toro sinking their teeth into the swiftly evolving offspring of a vampire and a human, eager to rip its way into the world.
The body horror, while certainly capable of tipping over into R-rated territory, could have accentuated the spirit of Meyer’s morality play, serving as a cautionary tale for teens far too ready to do whatever it takes in order to have sex. Without the hint of that bit of kink, there’s nothing else to do except wait, as always, for the end. Grade: C-
Opens Nov. 18. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.