Since a young, troubled (and sparkly) vampire and his forlorn teenage love first took Hollywood by storm in 2008, each film of "The Twilight Saga," the big screen adaptations of Stephenie Meyer's neo-goth young adult romance book series, has been vetted with red carpet premieres worthy of the most prestigious names in show business. It was no different Monday night, as the premiere of the series' fourth film (and the first part of its finale), "Breaking Dawn - Part 1," debuted to thunderous crowds at LA's Nokia Theater.
But, did they deserve it?
The series has made international icons out of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, and they've worn the roles well, showing humility and working around the clock to promote the films and further their own careers. So, it is no knock on them to ask, but the question is whether these films have deserved all the hype. Hollywood often rewards mega-blockbusters that are big on effects and little on plot, and the sequel business generally proves that the industry rewards cash, not prestige (see: "Transformers"). But this is now the fourth film in the series, and the first three have all received middling to negative reviews. What of the fourth one?
There have been few reviews published -- Rotten Tomatoes lists just three -- but the early returns aren't good.
The Hollywood Reporter: "Feels as bloated and anemic as Bella becomes during her pregnancy. The film is like a crab cake with three or four bits of crab surrounded by loads of bland stuffing, but many can't tell the difference or don't care, which will largely be true for its captive audience."
Variety: "All the more disappointing, then, that a story so pregnant with dramatic possibilities should wind up feeling like such an unconsummated opportunity. Drawn from Stephenie Meyer's polarizing, weirdly compelling fourth novel, the film is rich in surface pleasures but lacks any palpable sense of darkness or danger, which is a roundabout way of saying that Summit has protected its investment well."
More reviews are to come, though what really matters are the box office numbers. And they should be huge, judging by the event that unfolded last night. Check out the photos beneath for proof.
PHOTOS (all via Getty):