Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Directed by Bill Condon.
2012. Rated PG-13, 116 minutes.
Robert Pattinson
Taylor Lautner
Mackenzie Foy
Peter Facinelli
Elizabeth Reaser
Billy Burke
Nikki Reed
Wendell Pierce

When last we saw our favorite co-dependently miserable couple, Bella (Stewart) was giving birth to their half-vampire, half-human, all-emo baby girl, Renesmee (played mostly by Mackenzie Foy). It was such a difficult delivery, mom almost died. To save her, Edward (Pattinson) finally turns his bride into one of the undead. Continuing the franchise’s standard practice of completely ignoring traditional vampire lore whenever it’s not actively defecating all over it, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 opens with Bella getting a good look at her new, and somehow, less pale self as she and Edward share a loving embrace in front of the mirror. Sigh. Face palm. Okay. I can. I can get through this.

To catch Bella up on the plot, and remind us, it comes to light that Jacob “imprinted” upon Renesmee, or claimed her for lack of a better, more spoiler friendly word. Soon through a sighting by Irina (Grace), those head vampires known as the Volturi hear about the Cullen’s bundle of joy and want the whole clan dead. Slowly, very very slowly, they make their way to Forks. This means we spend the better part of our two hours watching the Cullens gathering help from vampires far and near for their potential showdown.

There is very good reason the movie plays out the way it does. There is no more to the plot. Everything the franchise is built on ended with Breaking Dawn – Part 1, or presumably, about halfway through the actual book. What we have here is two hours of the filmmakers trying to figure out how to end their tale. With the whole metaphor for abstinence thing being neatly wrapped up, it would've been way too merciful on me to end it right after Bella’s transformation with a ‘happily ever after’ moment. I suppose it could be argued that we’re on to an anti-abortion rant, but I really don’t feel like going down that road. Instead, I’ll give some credit to the powers that be for wringing every last cent they possibly could out of this franchise…I mean not taking the easy way out and going an extra step. Disastrous it may be, but it’s a step.

Why is it disastrous? For starters, I've told you practically everything that happens, really nothing at all. To keep us occupied there are the occasional cuts to the bad guys getting news on our heroes, vowing to kill them, and a welcome demonstration of how evil they are. These demonstrations are generally put on by Dakota Fanning who I’m pretty sure performs more decapitations than she has lines. Cool. As far as the good guys, Carlisle (Facinelli) is even more closely impersonating Professor Xavier as those who answer his call for help are much more like X-Men than anything in any vampire flick I've ever seen. They come complete with unique powers and the standard gallery of attitudes and personalities. And the answer is no. Sunlight doesn't seem to affect anyone. Nobody even sparkles anymore. Not cool.

This gathering of mutants, including Bella trying to figure out how to use her special power, is almost excusable because we know we’ll get to see this stuff put to use in a big climactic battle scene. What’s not excusable under any circumstances is the absolute incompetence on display, even for this series, whenever the plot turns to Charlie (Burke), Bella’s dad. I’ll sum it all up by relaying one instance for you. We’re never told exactly how much time passes between the beginning and end of the movie, but it doesn't seem like it’s more than a few weeks, a few months at the most. Jeez, the Volturi are slow. Let’s suppose it’s even as much as a year. By this time, the “baby” Renesmee looks like she’s at least seven or eight years old. Charlie first sees her looking like a true newborn. The next time we witness the two of them together, which is near the end and the oldest we see her look, all he can say is how she’s grown at least half a foot since the last time he’s seen her. Huh? That’s it? I get that he’s not the most perceptive guy in the world, after all he still knows nothing of his daughter’s “condition,” but c’mon!

Sigh. Let’s move on to something I said I wasn't going to mention, but since we’re on the subject of the baby, here it goes. Human beings age while vampires do not, even in the “Twilight” zone. Scratch that reference, this franchise has no business being mentioned in the same book, let alone the same sentence as Rod Serling’s iconic series. Anyhoo, doesn't it stand to reason that Renesmee would age slower than the rest of us, not faster? Of course, that’s assuming such a birth could be possible going by what literary and cinematic history tells us about vampires and my limited recall of seventh grade biology. Oh wait, I forgot which movie I was watching and mistakenly thought it cared about something other than teenagers professing their love for each other through the seemingly constipation inspired grimaces on their faces. My bad.

In the end, we get that big battle we spend so much time building toward. Sorta. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll either have to watch it, or take a guess what that means. I’ll give you a hint, though. It’s akin to the police telling an anxious crowd “Move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here.” Regardless, at least this part of the movie is fun. So many heads get severed it’s like a deleted scene from 300, sans blood, rippling abs and red capes, of course. Predictably, this only serves to make sure everyone, and I do mean everyone, gets that ‘happily ever after moment.’ Oh, sorry – spoiler alert. Hmph. As if you didn't know.

MY SCORE: 4/10

No comments:

Post a Comment