DVD Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD boxSTUDIO: Summit | DIRECTOR: Bill Condon | CAST: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 2/11/2012 | PRICE: Two-DVD $30.49, Blu-ray $33.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, wedding video, Edward or Jacob fast forward
SPECS: PG-13 | 117 min. | Fantasy romance | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | Dolby Digital 5.1 audio | English, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1The first half of this fourth movie in the franchise based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer is all about the wedding. Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) knows what the predominantly female audience wants to see and piles it on in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Still human teen Bella (Kristen Stewart, The Runaways) and centuries-old vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants) are tieing the knot in the wedding of the century, and for all their waiting through three earlier films, viewers are rewarded with every second. From the vampires decorating the woods to create the perfect natural setting, to Bella and Edward’s night-before romantic meet, to Bella’s jittery walk up the aisle, the vows, the kiss — oh yes, the kiss — the reception and loads and loads of speeches.

Rabid fans of the Twilight series will soak it all up, but regular viewers might get a bit impatient. Condon plods through the lead-in, wedding and honeymoon, reeling out romantic scene after romantic scene after… you get the point.

Then, somewhere in the movie’s middle, the story really begins. Bella realizes she’s pregnant, a feat thought impossible for a human and vampire pairing, and the couple race home to face the issue.

The story gets more dimension here, with the newly-weds facing an uncertain future and Jacob (Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: New Moon) battling his wolfpack and his own feelings about a baby human-vampire-hybrid.

But the most interesting part and what wowed this viewer is Stewart’s rapid emmaciation as the fetus within her grows quickly, sucking the life out of its mother. The visual effects that transform Stewart are by far the most memorable parts of Breaking Dawn.

How they did it is detailed in the six-part making-of documentary on the two-DVD set. We hear from experts in lighting, makeup and artists at Lola VFX, the company that has become famous in Hollywood for digitally removing bags from under actresses eyes’ (yep, they don’t really look that good). Lola created a digital skin that modified Stewart’s face and body to trim about 20 pounds off her already skinny frame. Stewart also talks about the looks she’d get walking around the set with the very convincing makeup.

The rest of the more-than-an-hour documentary explores shooting in Brazil (with fun footage of excited fans in the country), the costumes, the story, the locations and, of course, that wedding. Included in the interviews are Stewart, Pattinson, Lautner, Condon and author Stephenie Meyer herself, who was a producer for the film.

In the brief featurette “Jacob’s Destiny,” Lautner talks about his character’s role in the movie and how the frustrations he has held since the first film regarding his love for Bella are finely paid off.

And whether you’re a Jacob or Edward fan, the disc also offers a way to quickly jump to those scenes, a feature that has been included in other DVDs in the Twilight franchise.

Buy or Rent The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.