The 'Twilight' franchise has long been a critical punching bag, but is that about to change with the release of 'Breaking Dawn Part 1'? Probably not -- at least judging by the current 21 percent Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- but that doesn't mean there won't be some vocal dissenters. Take venerable New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, who gives what amounts to a rave review of 'Breaking Dawn,' while infusing it with some of the best critical one-liners of the year. Ahead, the five best quotes.

1. "Dawn isn't the only thing that gets broken in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I,' the latest and best of the movies about a girl, her vampire and their impossible, ridiculously appealing - yes, I surrendered - love story. Marked by a canny mix of violence and chastity, the franchise has always had plenty of broken heads to go along with its pure thoughts, but here it also features a marital bed reduced to kindling after a rough night."

2. "Poor [Jacob] never stood a chance; vampires aren't just hot (and sometimes scorching, as on the HBO show 'True Blood'), they have, in recent years, also become the favorite go-to romantic male lead, the last, possibly sole defense against the nice-guy tide embodied by the Apatowesque freaks and geeks and their bromantic brethren."

3. "[Bill] Condon handles the little bit of action in 'Breaking Dawn' capably, but it's his work with (and sometimes around) the actors and his ability to translate ideas visually that lifts this movie above the rest. [...] Crucially and as important, Mr. Condon, whose earlier films include 'Dreamgirls' and 'Gods and Monsters,' can also offer up, and without a suggestion of filmmaker embarrassment, the sight of Mr. Lautner ripping off his shirt."

4. "[T]he unavoidable truth [is] that [Taylor] Lautner, whose pumped physique and flat affect bring to mind one of those friendly pizza delivery boys in a pornographic movie, remains a dish best served with as few words and clothes as possible."

5. "Mostly, [Condon] brings Bella toward her happily-ever-after by giving this movie over to her, her dreams and her desires, as in a cosmic montage sequence worthy of 'The Tree of Life,' but, you know, shorter. Edward may finally change Bella, but it's Mr. Condon who resurrects her."

If you had 'Breaking Dawn' and 'The Tree of Life' appearing in the same sentence at any point this year, congratulations! Read Manohla Dargis' entire review over at the New York Times.

[Photo: Summit Entertainment]





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