‘Breaking Dawn’ better than expected

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By Krystal Sidzyik, Senior Staff Writer

One of the most anticipated films of 2011, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” premiered over the Nov. 18 weekend, breaking opening day box-office records. The film is the fourth installment in the Twilight Saga.

According to studio estimates, “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” enjoyed the third highest opening day ever, with a projected $72 million in domestic receipts. The film could end up having the fifth highest opening weekend ever with $140 million, falling behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” “The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man 3” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

In part one of the final installment of the Twilight Saga, directed by Bill Condon, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) marry and share an intimate honeymoon on a private island off the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro known as “Isle Esme.” After Bella loses her virginity to Edward, it isn’t long until she discovers she’s pregnant. Bella then spends most of the film refusing to destroy the vampire baby, although it is destroying her from the inside. But the baby isn’t the only conflict in the film.

Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), along with the wolf pack, had much more screen time in this film. The pack wants to destroy the vampire baby because it may put the people of their town of Forks, Wash., at risk. Jacob ends up leaving the pack to defend Bella and eventually the vampire baby.

“Breaking Dawn – Part 1” feels much different from the rest of the Twilight Saga films. Condon, who also directed “Dreamgirls” in 2006, created a much heavier and sometimes outright frightening film. He explores sexual tension, blood and death, landing the film a PG-13 rating. Younger fans beware: the film is not for the faint hearted.

But don’t fret; the film also lends itself to humor. As bloody and shocking as the film is, it’s also funny. Fans laughed as Bella’s father and mother read their dedication speeches to her after the wedding and as they watched Bella frantically brush her teeth and shave her legs on the first night of her honeymoon.

Long time fans of the series will notice that Stewart has become much more comfortable on screen. Stewart cries with actual tears in her eyes when Jacob shows up at her wedding. She is also able to connect with her costars through eye contact without fluttering and shifting her eyes. Stewart does a superb job of conveying her emotions in the new film, which critics have accused Stewart incapable of doing in past films.

Overall, “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” fulfills fans’ fantasies. It’s romantic, amusing and frightening. The film is a guaranteed blockbuster, and fans will continue to fill theater seats. The final installment of the film, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” also directed by Condon, is not set to release in theaters until Nov. 16, 2012.

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