New Release: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
SPOILERS (Even for those who've read the book.)
For those of you not in the know, I really dug this series, in an ironic sort of way. The hype around it brings a smile to my face for all the wrong reasons. I've read the books numerous times and I've watched the films numerous times (but always just once in the theater). And I know it's sexist, teen trash. Now, if my daughter(s) were in the target demographic, I'd feel differently, but I'm old enough to know what's right and wrong, and though I know everything this saga preaches is totally wrong, I still find it loads of superficial fun. And I'm not even there to drool over guys at least a decade my junior because by now everyone should know that I'm Team Charlie for life.
All that being said, Breaking Dawn: Part 2 wasn't all that bad. Not just for a Twilight movie, but for a movie in general. And this is coming from someone who hated the last book with a passion. I honestly think it should have just ended after they defeated Victoria in Eclipse, but apparently creepy half breed, vampire-human children that tease grown werewolves are where the money's at in the teen literary market these days. I really didn't care for Part I, which painfully detailed Edward and Bella's wedding/honeymoon/c-section-by-vampire-teeth birth. It just dragged on and on, and the only hope left was that I had the last film to look forward to, when sixty people stand in a snowy field and stare at each other before anti-climatically going their separate ways. Thankfully, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg finally took some pity on us.
Bella (Kristen Stewart) wakes up a vampire, something she's actually good at being, which showed, because this is the least annoying Bella has been throughout the series. She finally doesn't take crap from anyone, especially her new husband Edward (Robert Pattinson). Be it her new bloodsucking outlook on life or her new role as a mother, it took getting further away from Bella's first person point of view to quit despising her so much. And most of the awkwardness from the principal players that permeated the first films is mostly gone. It's as if they finally got comfortable in their characters in time for the entire series to end. Hence, there are far fewer silent pauses of everyone just staring at each other. Also hence, Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is much better paced than any of its predecessors.
And then there is the matter of the twenty minute (at least) action sequence that didn't exist within the book. Actually, none of the action sequences in any of the films were written out in the book, because Stephenie Meyer simply can't write. She always used some lame excuse to get out of writing anything adrenaline-fueled, by having our first person narrator in another place or just passed out. I wish I was making this up. But the action that takes place within the previous films was alluded to or referenced in one way another. However the actual fight we see on screen between the Cullens and the Volturi was never apart of the original source material in any form, because Meyer has admitted to being a big baby that can't hack killing off her characters. I'm sort of paraphrasing here.
So after the Volturi (vampire overlords) believe the Cullens have created a vampire child (a big effing no-no in the vampire world) they decide to pay them a visit and execute them. Alice's (Ashley Greene) psychic powers give the Cullens an advantage as they can know what the Volturi are planning and when they'll be coming. So the Cullens do the only logical thing: bring an ass-ton of vampires to Forks to witness that the alleged vampire child is Bella and Edwdard's half human daughter and not a threat to anyone. Yes, it's an incredibly thin plot when you think that with all their combined super powers, the Cullens could easily convince the Volturi of the truth, but this is all from the head of the woman who cursed humankind with the name Renesmee, so we just have to watch it play out at this point.
Now, besides the paper-thin plot, this is my main issue with the film. I like that we are introduced to a number of vampires from around the world, but few of them are given enough character to really matter. It takes awhile to gather them all up and for each to show off their magical powers, which drags down the flow of the film a bit, but I'm just waiting for the epic battle the trailer promised, so I didn't mind too much, because I know the book took even longer going through all this, so I should just be thankful the movie is only two hours long.
So the showdown with the Volturi finally arrives, but first we have to sit through a lot of talking, only made tolerable by the indescribable performance of Michael Sheen as leader Aro. Seriously, he's worth the price of a ticket and you have to see it to believe the insanity. But then something peculiar happens. During all this talking, Aro and Cullen leader Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) get into a scuffle that ends with Carlisle's beheading. Hmmm...that wasn't in the book. Then the battle that the trailer teased us with begins. And it's pretty awesome, counting the losses on both sides. And any time Dakota Fanning dies, I'm pretty sure an angel gets its wings.
However, in the back of my mind, as Jasper is ripped to shreds, then Seth is crushed to death and Leah falls into a giant crevice to the center of the Earth, I know it's not all real. I know that Stephenie Meyer, admittedly being a giant, thumb-sucking baby, would never allow the final film adaptation of her beloved art to fall to such heresy just for general popcorn entertainment. I almost finished typing that with a straight face. And in the end I was right, because that energetic action sequence with real sacrifices being made was just a vision that Alice showed to Aro, to change his mind of starting a war. Then there's more talking, the Volturi run off and everyone lives happily ever after, to repeat high school for all eternity.
Normally the fake-out ending is shat upon, as we all give a collective groan when it was "just a dream." But here it worked. Probably everyone in the theater had read (and hopefully loathed) the final book and when Carlisle died on screen, the game suddenly changed. This injection of genuine excitement appeased both the audience who had to have more than a long conversation in a snowy field and the Royal Overlord who refused to write a real climax. In other words, it was...satisfying.
And with that, it's finally over, kids. You can rest easy knowing you survived the five consecutive years of the Twilight saga milking your precious box office. That is until the next love sick, emo infused, supernatural young adult series hits theaters, which is probably a lot sooner than you think.