Update: In Breaking Dawn, Part 1, Bella marries Edward, gives birth to a demon baby and Jacob stops moping long enough to “implant” with the infant. These predictable plot details are not spoilers; the film itself is a spoiler. All the potential of the Twilight vampire series is squandered. Part 2 may already be in the can, but for the audience there’s no point in going further. It’s apparent from Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (sequel three) that the filmmakers gave up a long time ago when the original Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was fired from the series.

Bill Condon, who made a mess of Dreamgirls and Kinsey, takes out the dreaminess and neuters the sex. Condon’s non-direction shows no attempt at style or visualized emotion (each bland sequence is staged to ineffectual music). Even Bella’s hideous pregnancy (she wastes to corpse-like pallor and CGI thinness) is just part of the narrative slog. Author Stephenie Meyer’s ludicrous plot is stripped of the pubescent tumescence that was Hardwicke’s specialty and gave the first film its Brontesque compulsion.

Twilight represents the worst series of sequels since Harry Potter and had a lot more to lose: an audience of sentient readers eager to see their romantic fantasies realized on the big screen. After building up to Bella’s sexual initiation, Condon flubs it—almost indifferently with an awkward wedding night that scuttles the entire Twilight enterprise.

Blame the film’s producers who lack even a suspicion of cinema’s romantic potential or its sexual possibilities. Bella’s deflowering has a great precedent: Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1996) got the essence of such a moment when he depicted Liv Tyler’s lost virginity through her twinkling eyes. Tyler looked alert and fascinated about the new world that had dawned for her.

Condon tempts viewers to close their eyes. Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is a mess of inert action sequences and repetitious dialogue scenes between werewolf families and vampire families where the actors seem to have forgotten their motivation from four films ago. They’re the lucky ones, unlike the legions of hoodwinked Twilighters.

Read John Demetry’s take on the Twilight Saga.