Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Directed by Bill Condon
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellen Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Sarah Clarke, Michael Sheen, Mackenzie Foy, Maggie Grace
Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer

At this point, its obvious to everyone.  This was one, big, fantastical ruse.  In the same way we see people wear costumes while demonstrating special powers and past indiscretions in The X-Men, we see the same thing happen with a romantic twist in the Twilight series.  The X-Men is as goofy and laughable as we imagine the Stephanie Meyer series is, yet it garners no more than tepid criticism for the worst  films and good will overall.  Even with this in mind, there are several problems with this movie, but not enough to take the sheer joy out of watching it.

The story starts out at a stop.  Bella (Stewart), having died giving birth in the last film, is newly made in vampire form.  She’s on a quest for blood.  Some time after, she sees her daughter for the first time.  The gap makes sense, in a way, but it sure feels out of form.  And that’s not the end of the awkwardness.  We find out that the child has been named…Renesmee.  This is perfectly within the author’s right, but there is no one who owns enough cats to make that name a good one.  We also find out that Bella’s erstwhile horn dog (literally) suitor Jacob (Lautner) is finally attached (they call it imprinted) on someone else.  That’s right, its the baby, who is not even a week old, but she is in toddler form and spoken for.  Finally the series feels like a horror show.

Bella’s kind of ticked at this, and Edward (Pattison) is not sure.  Who can blame him, because, you know, there’s never been a half-breed Vampire baby before.  Why not make that baby a wolfman’s babe?  That way their kid can be a 1/3 breed…or something.  This also kind of lays to rest the idea of these folks being the undead immortal, in case you missed all the vamps that died in the earlier films.  It’s more like a super powerful virus that requires one to die in a specific way, and just be really hungry for certain types of food.

From here we have to worry about the Volturi, who, near as I can tell, are just a bunch of Vampire freaks who banded together to form what they call a leadership of vampires.  What they are is a bunch of old freaks who get off on power and Gothic fashion.  It really does not matter how the confrontation is to happen, because it is bound to happen.  These guys can’t have something weirder than they are show up on their radar.

The Cullens scramble on varied.  Mostly, though, they just need more bodies to put up against the Volturi.  In this way, we can have our Braveheart-like stand-off at the end of the film.  Only this time there are no kilts, just two lines of folks with slightly different fashions (including fur coats), lined across from one another.  If you’ve seen this before, wait, because…you will see it again.  Or will you?

One thing I can say is that for the evolution of Bella from lovesick grouch to voracious, protective grouch is now complete.  She is more entertaining, if for no other reason than she is different.   The character of Bella’s father, Charlie (Burke), is relegated to looking as if his mind is drunk with images he cannot comprehend, but accepts anyway. Hardly the kind of behavior one would expect from the local sheriff regarding the safety of his daughter.

There is no other character development to speak of.  Instead, we have a parade of newcomers, each displaying their special gifts that mean not so much individually, but will be added to the parade of special effects in the last part of the film.  It’s in this way that the movie becomes the X-Men for chicks with cats.  That many of those chicks watch the X-Men, is of no consequence.  The men and kids who make fun of things like Bieber will continue to watch the comic book movies, make fun of Twilight, and never ponder the lack of a difference.

Even so, there are plenty of problems with each of the last two films that are mostly due to the fact that they were split into two films.  There is just not enough here, even if it is competently done.  Decisions to leave out more than a reference to the collection of characters introduced in the film makes this last half seem just stuffed with cannon fodder that can do not much more than sparkle use their special effect and exit stage left.

The result is puzzling in the way we get to play everything out with an utter lack of genuine consequence.  For many, this will work, and frankly, I appreciated the ingenuity, even if it feels a bit like cheating.  It was developed carefully from the first movie, so there is a consistency in it.  And how pleasant to know that Renesmee can hook up with a werewolf in, say, 7 years.

(***1/2 out of *****)

For my review of the other films I have reviewed in the series, try New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn Part 1.

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