starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke
screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
directed by Bill Condon
by Walter Chaw Appalling by pretty much every measure, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (hereafter Twilight 4.1) is the predictable end result of a film based on a book written by an illiterate Mormon housewife mistaking her profound ignorance for profundity. It's about a really old guy who talks a really young girl into marrying him and enduring really, really painful childbirth as her portion of God's judgment on her kind; and then it's about another kind of pedophilia, wherein a 19-year-old badly in need of acting lessons gets turned on by a baby and decides he's going to marry that infant once she's old enough to breed. Still with me? So, yes, I knew it was going to be bad and, yes, I went anyway. And you know what? For as girded as I was to the raw incompetence of this franchise, Twilight 4.1 still managed to plumb a few new depths. See, Twilight 4.1 is an apologia for spousal abuse and a clumsy pro-life screed (what about this crap isn't clumsy?) before turning into cartoon Grand Guignol horseshit meant to freak out an audience of pre-teens and lonely housewives who think that this object of their devotion is selling them anything except loneliness and delusion. It's sledgehammer racist in its depiction of a native housekeeper cast as Maria Ouspenskaya, and it has a moment in which a circle of wolves "think-talk" to each other in some ineffable evocation of an Optimus Prime pep talk. It's completely inexplicable, in other words, and irritating for it.