This is what I posted on my blog half-asleep at 4 in the morning:
Just saw the Breaking Dawn midnight showing and wanted to get my thoughts down while they were fresh on my mind. There will be a ton of spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie and are planning to, do not read this!
First of all, I absolutely love the soundtrack. Alexandra Patsavas is a genius. The use of Iron & Wine's "Flightless Bird, American Mouth (Wedding Version)" was perfection. This was clearly re-recorded from the original used during the prom scene in Twilight. The little details in the music, like the quartet at the reception playing the music from "My Love" by Sia from Eclipse or Carter Burwell's brillance of bringing in the score from Twilight, really made all the difference. It really was incredibly thought out and truly is a wonderful soundtrack to the movie.
On to the movie itself! Let me start by saying these movies are clearly made for the fans of the books. People with no vested interest in these characters or stories aren't going to like it. It is what it is. That being said, I obviously am a huge fan of the books. The lighthearted comedy used throughout the movie was a welcomed surprise, as were the dreams and flashback. The pre-wedding scenes were perfect. Billy Burke as Charlie is always a standout in every movie. I feel like he is so underrated, but consistently delivers a flawless performance. Breaking Dawn was no different. He and Sarah Clarke as Renee are the perfect parents.
The wedding overall was just as I'd imagined, if not, better. The little parts with the human friends were great, just as I mentioned with the welcomed comedy. The wedding dress was stunning! Carolina Herrera, I bow down! (By the way, the dream about the wedding was really odd. Wasn't that dream from Eclipse? I remember the premise of the humans being dead in a pile, but this was strange.) Anyway, the kiss was amazing! I instantly welled up when "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" started. I loved all the wedding/reception scenes so much I actually wanted more. Love the addition of the wedding toasts, too! I really wish Mike Newton would have said something. I wanted to see the traditional cake cutting and the first dances. That was a little bit of a let down. Jacob's entrance and scenes we're straight from the book and executed perfectly. Bella's goodbyes to her parents were heartbreaking and I loved every second.
The honeymoon was really well done. Enough to tell the story without being over the top. The chess games were a clever tie in to the cover of the book. I absolutely loved Bella strutting her stuff in front of Edward. A few of the vampire effects were cheesy (i.e. the jumping off the waterfall, for one), but overall the entire time they spent at Isle Esme did the book justice. I didn't miss anything, which was a pleasant surprise. (except for eggs)
The wolfpack scenes are usually done well. The beach scene was a great way to combine a few different parts of the book that are important into one. The CGI wolves seemed to regress a little in quality, but that really isn't my beef with the pack. I found myself really irritated that the wolves in human form were so well dressed! They're layering now?! You expect me to believe these guys are carrying around nice jeans, a v-neck, and a button down around their leg with a piece of string? Okay, moving on, I thought BooBoo Stewart as Seth was touching and so improved from Eclipse. Julia Jones was great as Leah, too. Taylor Lautner was much more mature and believable. The end when he thinks Bella died actually hit me.
Bella's pregnancy and birth were shot amazingly well. I didn't expect her deterioration to be so realistic. The effects and makeup used on her face and then later with her emaciated body were perfect. The birth was done tastefully with enough gore to do the book justice. The part I actually had to turn away from was her drinking the blood. That got to me more than the birth itself. The scene that hit me when I wasn't expecting it was angry Edward! The rant at Bella was heartbreaking and Rob Pattinson at his best. Speaking of great acting, Edward trying to revive Bella, his pleading for her to stay alive was incredible. I don't care what you think about these movies, those two scenes from Rob Pattinson were brilliance. I also wanted to mention dead-looking Bella. Wow. Kristen Stewart through the whole movie (side note) was amazing. Her best yet hands down.
The addition of the wolves attacking the Cullens was fine with me. I didn't mind the variation from the book. The scene that did bother me was Jacob meeting with Paul, Quil, Embry and the others to be a distraction so the Cullens could narrowly escape. That was a little too far off for my liking, as exciting as it was. The imprinting scene was weird in my opinion, but I don't really know how else they could go about showing that. And then! Bella's transformation. A work of art. The effects on that were really well done. And my goodness does she look simply gorgeous. I knew the movie would end with her red eyes opening. It's EXACTLY what I pictured, so well done Bill Condon!
So my review in a nutshell:
Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were the best they've been in the series. The movie followed the book as well as anyone could hope. I was left missing a few scenes I particularly liked such as Jacob and Rosalie's banter and a few of the traditional parts of the wedding. Taylor Lautner has matured as Jacob Black, which really needed to happen with the turn this character takes. This was the best Alice has ever looked. The music was perfection! And overall I am left really satisfied with the way Breaking Dawn Part 1 turned out. PS- The Volturi scene in the credits was so good. Love Michael Sheen as Aro!
Can't wait to wrap up this series next year when Breaking Dawn Part 2 comes out!