Bill Condon directs the fourth installment of the ‘Twilight‘ series as though it were a lush television soap opera, making for a claustrophic experience. Exquisitely photographed by Guillermo Navarro, a frequent colloborator with Guillerdo Del Toro, that makes for a rather awesome, nearly-endless collection of medium shots, close-ups, and extremely tight close-ups. Lovers of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and/or Taylor Lautner may well die of sensory image overload before the credits roll.
The claustrophobia is in service of a story that is much more intimate and contained than the previous three films. ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ does not stand alone; its structure can only be described as exceedingly clumsy for non Twi-hards. It begins with a wedding between 18-year-old human Bella Swan (Stewart) and 108-year-old vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a January to December romantic match if ever there was one.
Said wedding is captured in loving, suffocating detail — multiple extreme close-ups of Bella’s dress, Bella’s hands, Bella’s feet, the leaves at her feet, the dappled light cutting through the forest — which might work if it came at the end of a epic film, but, placed at the beginning, it functions solely as fanservice. The less charitable might describe it as “padding the running time to help justify why the movie was split in two and disguise the naked cash grab,” but why quibble?
— From my review at Twitch.
‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ opens wide across the Metroplex today.