This year’s premiere of the Twilight franchise—Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1 drew in almost 14 million viewers and became the third-highest-rated movie in the series. But while the movie may have been a success at the box office, some viewers may have been disappointed with the final product and felt it wasn’t as good as some of the previous films. And, in fact, it probably wasn’t—breaking dawn is, in many ways, a culmination of all the previous films and a way of setting things up for the future of the series. It also marks a turning point for the characters, as some fans have referred to it, as they walk a “halfway” line between being childless vampires and embracing their child-bearing years. While the movie may not live up to some fans’ expectations, it’s important to remember that it was made with the best intentions and within the confines of a Hollywood blockbuster production schedule.

The Basics

Breaking Dawn—Part 1 is the first of four planned movies in the twilight series and follows the romancebetween Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen and Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan. The actors have said that they didn’t want to wait until retirement to work together, so they started filming in 2012 and wrapped up in November, so that they could release it in April 2013, which is when the next movie in the series is scheduled to come out. The filming was done in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and, according to numerous reports, was originally scheduled to take place a year later, in January 2014.

The budget for the movie was reportedly $17 million, which isn’t bad for a Hollywood production. But, of course, that doesn’t include all the other expenses that came with the making of a blockbuster such as this, such as the cost of the locations, food, crew, and all the other things that crop up in the production of a major motion picture. Based on the research I’ve done, I’d say the film’s budget probably came out to around $20 million.

The Cast And Characters

Aside from the two leads, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who are engaged and broke up in real life, the film also features Seth Cohen, Booboo Stewart, Jessica Chastain, and Kris Kristofferson. Booboo Stewart plays the role of Seth’s son, Jeremy, who is Bella’s younger brother. Booboo is best known for his role as Baby Brent on the television show My Wife And I, and he’s one of the few actors who has been in both teen comedy and drama series. Seth Cohen is best known for his role as Arnold on the television show Chuck, and Jessica Chastain plays Renesmee, the daughter of Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight saga. Jessica is best known for her role in the movie The Help and has been nominated for two Academy Awards. And last but not least, Kris Kristofferson plays the part of Jasper, one of Bella’s paternal uncles. Kristen Stewart and Booboo Stewart have known each other since they were both 15 years old and even appeared in a romantic comedy with each other, Serena, in 2005. They started dating in 2007 and were married in October 2011.

The Locations

The sets for the movie were actually pretty spectacular and reflected the resort-like atmosphere that the film was trying to portray. When I first saw the movie, I was really impressed by how well it looked and how much it seemed to rely on the actors’ costumes and makeup. One of my favorite scenes is when Bella wakes up in Edward’s bed, just after she gave birth to his child, Renesmee. It’s a beautiful, soft-focus monochromatic shot that perfectly shows how exhausted she is and how much her body has changed since giving birth. It’s also a great way to show how devoted Edward is to Bella and their child.

The Cinematography

The imagery in this movie was actually quite spectacular and one of the highlights is the opening credits sequence, which uses a combination of green-tinted camera angles, extreme close-ups, and beautiful, soft lighting to create a truly gorgeous effect. The director of photography, Dante Spinotti, has been in the business for over 20 years and has worked on major projects such as The Departed and Gangs Of New York. He has a knack for finding ways to shoot action scenes that are both dramatic and aesthetically pleasing. While the rest of the film doesn’t quite reach the same levels of visual splendor, it’s still a good-looking movie and the special effects, especially for a movie made in 2013, are pretty fantastic.

Overall Thoughts

On the whole, I thought the production values were quite high and the movie looked quite good. The main issue I had was that I was under the impression that all of the money spent was necessary and that, with the exception of a few luxury items here and there, it was all within the budget. While I have no problem with any of the actors in this movie, especially the two leads, I feel that the material could have been handled better and that some scenes were quite dull. I also think that a few more scenes of violence would have made it even more compelling for the audience—this is a very PG-13 sort of film, after all.

Despite all this, Twilight—Breaking Dawn—Part 1 is still a pretty good movie and one that I think will satisfy many fans of the series. And, let’s be honest, what’s more important is that it will satisfy the executives at Summit Entertainment, the company that owns the rights to the Twilight franchise and has the money to make more movies and TV shows, as Netflix has reportedly turned it down in the past. Because, ultimately, what’s important is that they find a way to make more money, and I’m sure that, with a few tweaks here and there, they can still pull in the big bucks.