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September 21, 2017

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (暮光之城:破曉Ⅰ)

"Laughable" probably isn't the word the makers of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" were aiming for, but there it is; laughter, in all the wrong places.

The fourth movie in the freakishly popular girl-vamp-wolf love triangle series is so self-serious, it is hard not to cackle at it. The dialogue is, of course, ridiculous and the acting ranges from stiff to mopey. But moments that should be pulsating with tension are usually hilarious because the special effects are still just so distractingly cheesy.

This latest installment has yet another new director — Bill Condon, a man capable of both panache ("Dreamgirls" [夢幻女郎]) and serious artistry ("Gods and Monsters" [眾神與野獸]), little of which you will see here — and yet again, the werewolves look jarringly out of place with their surroundings. In a technological age in which Gollum from the "Lord of the Rings" (魔戒) movies blends in seamlessly with everyone and everything around him, how are such sloppy visual effects still possible? Adam Sandler played opposite himself more convincingly in "Jack and Jill."

But we digress, because other movies are more fun to discuss. "Breaking Dawn — Part 1," the first of two films adapted from the final book in Stephenie Meyer's series (with part two coming next year), serves as a placeholder for the ultimate finale but is jam-packed with developments in its own right. (Melissa Rosenberg once again wrote the adapted screenplay.) So much happens that you wonder, how can there be another entire film after this? Alas, there will be.

Part one begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), marrying in a lavish, romantic outdoor ceremony. Bella's childhood best friend and the other man in the equation, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner, barely recognizable with his shirt on), stops by as a gesture of goodwill. Guests mingle and dance and you have to wonder, do they realize that the groom and his entire family are the living dead? Do their eerie, porcelain complexions and glowing amber eyes betray them? The mind wanders.

Anyway, finally — finally! — Bella and Edward can have sex, the thing she has wanted all along but he has been reluctant to do for fear that deflowering her will, you know, kill her. Yes, the "Twilight" movies (and the books that inspired them) may be filled with swoony vampires and hunky werewolves, but they are firmly pro-abstinence — and, later, firmly anti-abortion.

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