Saturday, January 26, 2013

Breaking Dawn Part 2: A Review


Sunset For Twilight...

At last, our long national nightmare is over. 

There will be no more Twilight movies, where middle-aged women scream at a hunky minor and a pale and sickly looking man in various stages of undress.  With Breaking Dawn Part 2 now part of history, I can report that it is not the best film of the series (all of which have been lousier than the source material).  Rather, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the least worst of the series.

Starting where we left off in Breaking Dawn Part 1, young Bella Swoon, I mean Swann (Kristen Stewart) has achieved her lifelong goal: she has become a vampire.  She now is on equal terms with the most perfect being ever created in the history of all literature, if not all mankind (with the possible exceptions of Jesus Christ and his doppelganger, Barack Obama): EDWARD CULLEN (Robert Pattinson).  Being undead makes her actually the most alive Bella has ever appeared.  She is loving the chasing and hunting and now perpetual vampire sex, but there are a couple of hiccups.  Her thwarted suitor, one Jacob...Black...Oooh (Taylor Lautner) has 'imprinted' on EDWARD CULLEN and Bella's daughter (cursed with the soon-to-be popular name of Renesmee).  This means that once Renesmee is of age, she and Jacob...Black...Oooh will marry her (thus becoming EDWARD CULLEN and Bella's son-in-law, making that twisted Rory Williams/Amy Pond/River Song/Doctor Who tangle seem almost logical...damn you, Steven Moffat!!). 

For some reason Bella isn't happy about this, or in his nickname for Renesmee: Nessie.  "You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?" she yells at him.  Given she's had sex with a vampire and was pursued by a werewolf, throwing in another mythical creature seems oddly fitting.

Well, Jacob...Black...Oooh forces the situation for EDWARD CULLEN and his wife by baring all to Bella's father, Chief Swan (Billy Burke).  He reveals that he is a werewolf and that his daughter is alive (in a roundabout way, although they present his inexplicable granddaughter as their 'niece'). 

However, we need conflict to push the story forward, and we get it in bushels.  Renesmee's existence alarms the Volturi (these Vampire Overlords in Italy).  They fear that Renesmee is an Immortal: a human child turned vampire who will become uncontrollable and devour at will.  There is only one thing for an Immortal: they must be killed.  Renesmee's rapid growth (aging from infant to child in a matter of months) probably doesn't help matters.  Fellow Cullen vampires Alice (Ashley Green) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) leave, but not before telling them to 'gather as many witnesses as possible' to try to reason with the Volturi, fight them at worst.

Thus we begin a Vampire World Tour, where we get visits to and visits from vampires spread all around the globe.  From Alaska to the Amazon, from New Orleans to Mother Russia the call goes out and the fabulously wealthy Cullens travel hither and yon to find fellow bloodsuckers and convince them Renesmee is a special creature.  This impending Coalition of the Willing does not spare Bella from fearing for Renesmee.  She has some plans, but they really aren't needed now that the Vampires and the Werewolves join in alliance (again) to battle the Volturi.

We then get an epic battle between the Volturi and the Were-Vampires with many falling.  Even the quiet but powerful Junior Volturi known by the powerful name of Jane (Dakota Fanning) facing danger, especially from bella, who now has powers of her own: the power to protect via some force field she can harness. 

However, here's a spoiler: it's all for naught.  Borrowing a page from Season Ten of Dallas, we find out that 'it was all a dream', or rather a vision presented to Aro (Michael Sheen), head of the Volturi who is convinced that 'the kid is alright'.  That and that wonderful Deus Ex Machina: a magical Brazilian that is also half-human half-vampire spawned from undead/human relations.

With that, our massive saga comes to an end...I pray Dear God it's come to an end.

I cannot verify how far Melissa Rosenberg strayed from Meyer's massive final book in her series, but what I found was that like all the other Twilight films, it's painfully slow and boring (at least until the 'battle').  However, one thing to BDP2's credit: unlike all previous Twilight films, this one doesn't take itself seriously (a major flaw in every part of this franchise). 

Instead, it seems to have accepted that everything about Twilight reduces your IQ every time you take time to read or watch it, so it basically dispenses with such trifles as characters or even acting.  Such is the goal of BDP2 that even those on screen aren't taking any of this seriously...unless Michael Sheen was suppose to make us laugh, but more on that in a moment.

It should be noted that BDP2 is unique for another reason. Jacob...Black...Oooh manages to literally keep his shirt on for almost the entire film, which might merit special recognition at the Academy Awards.  Considering that Taylor Lautner basically did everything in all Twilight films save the first shirtless, the fact that he only took his shirt off once in the film is downright shocking.   Of course, given this would be the final time we would see our teenage boy take it off for all those screaming middle-aged women (before he begins his inevitable slip into obscurity) Lautner had to go out with a bang, and this time we came as close as we will ever come to seeing him go the full monty.  In attempting to convince Chief Swan of who he is, Jacob...Black...Oooh doesn't just take his shirt off, he takes his clothes off (to where one might wonder if he was auditioning for Magic Mike 2 in hopes of starring with the equally famous and equally untalented Channing Tatum).

One thing that was genuinely surprising was that Stewart didn't suck (no pun intended) as Bella.  For four films she appeared more lifeless than her vampire family, but in BDP2 she appears fully animated, even I daresay alive, as if she's been desperate to have something close to emotions.  Who knew becoming an undead would bring her to life (which I suppose was the 'message/intent' all along)?  However, she still has perpetual puppy-dog eyes whenever anything connected to EDWARD CULLEN comes her way, so some things remain the same.

It's an unfortunate side effect of Twilight the source material that

Apart from that, BDP2 suffers from what every Twilight film has: simply no story.  The only reason BDP2 exists at all is because we can't have our 'she had great sex and the baby so her life is complete' ending.  Instead, we are given this 'epic' battle between Volturi and 'nice vampires', which really just seems absurd.  Haven't the Volturi ever rented Blade?  Actually, given how the Volturi behave, have they even heard of anything made after the Renaissance?  They don't seem to be living in this millennium (certainly their fashion sense hasn't gone past what they wore to Columbus' going-away party).

This might explain why we had some simply horrifying performances.  Michael Sheen doesn't so much give a performance as he does cash a check.  It's one thing to be self-consciously camp, but I do wonder if Bill Condon wanted audiences to laugh at his delivery, in particular when he says, "Young Bell--la, immortality becomes you", or worse, when his girlish giggle at Renesmee's heartbeat had those attending in stitches. 

For the record, he did make Bella's name about a three-syllable word. 

As for everyone else who is making their first appearance in BDP2, the scope of the story gives little time for them to stand out.  While some of them, like Lee Pace's Garret or Rami Malek's Benjamin (which does beg the question as to how an Arab vampire sparkle in the desert sun with their olive skin without being noticed) do have interesting stories, they have to be put to the side for their sole purpose to back-up our trio of stars.

In regards to everything else, it takes such a long time to get anywhere one starts becoming bored (at least those of us who aren't passionate for the series).  Furthermore, the 'it was all a fantasy' cop-out is just terrible.  I was happy when Carlyle lost his head.  At last, I thought, we get an emotional cost of being a vampire, but no, we have to have the rug pulled out from under us to provide this 'happy ending'.

Well, in a certain sense, we do have a happy ending...I will NEVER have to see another Twilight story again.   



  1. Amazing review, Rick. Enjoyed the humor, especially the reference to Channing Tatum.


  2. Great review! It was entertaining at the same time enlightening. I really can't describe how much fun I had while reading all the Twilight Series.. Excuse me, SAGA reviews! Thank you! :D


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