Monday, November 19, 2012

"Breaking Dawn: Part Two" Review

A small and far from perfect piece of filmmaking.


It's over.  It's finally over.

I've honestly never understood the widespread popularity of the Twilight series.  There are so many things wrong with it, whether it be the vapid characters, the non-existent plot, the disturbing underlying "message", the whole thing just reeks of amateur schlock.  The books are so atrociously written that it's amazing they even got published in the first place.  Upon reading them, it affirmed my own ambitions, as I thought, "Well shit, if this crap can get popular, surely I must have a shot."  

As bad as the first three books were, however, nothing could have prepared me for the awe-inducing disaster that Breaking Dawn was.  It was clear that not only did Stephenie Meyer learn nothing during the penning of the Saga, but she had somehow become more pretentious, thus Breaking Dawn is significantly longer and overblown, hence the need to split the films up, yet nothing of value happens its in entirety.  You could've chopped 2/3 of the book out and missed fuck all.

And then there was that ending.  Wow... just, wow.

I'm not even going to get into how anti-climactic it was and how it betrayed every tenet of competent storytelling, you probably know that, and if you don't, you probably aren't reading this.

So the films had quite the shoes to fill, and no matter how many solid directors took the helm, they couldn't elevate the material an inch, mostly due to how faithful to the source material they were.

Enter Breaking Dawn Part Two, the final chapter of the film saga, and it's every bit as bad as it's predecessors.

When Eclipse came out, I remember saying that watching the werewolves talk to each other via voice-over telepathy was the most unintentionally hilarious moment on screen I've seen in a long time.  Well, multiply that by ten and you have the first fifteen minutes of Breaking Dawn Part Two.  Watching Bella growl as she runs through very poorly green-screened forests and hunts down wildlife is nothing short of hilarious.

Poor, poor Kristen Stewart.  She will never live this down.

The haphazard green screen continues with Reneesme, which I assume was used to create a consistent appearance of the character throughout her accelerated growth, but it was so poorly executed that it just becomes laughably creepy.  You coulda just gotten a real baby guys, it's no big deal.

I'd like to say that the film has finally reached awesomely bad status, as so many critics seem to have asserted, but I can't.  I went into this excited, thinking that maybe I could at least appreciate BDP2 like I appreciate Commando, but the film is just plain bad.

BDP2's idea of pacing is to place a scene of unintentional hilarity next to two scenes of excruciating boredom, as the one-note characters gather to speak and/or argue in a manner completely divorced from the tangential plot that takes its sweet ass time picking up.  One of the cardinal rules of filmmaking is that if a scene is not providing character growth or vital plot information, you need to cut that scene.  Apparently this movie did not get that memo, so the first half of it just meanders on in a sea of directionless banality, much like Part One did in its entirety.

Other than the aforementioned hunting scene, much of the remainder of hilarity comes courtesy of the Volturi, particularly Michael Sheen's precious Aro, who feels like he's A) in a completely different movie, and B) the only one who realizes how terrible the movie he's found himself in is, and will make the most of it by devolving into self-parody as he delivers almost every line with magnificent histrionics.

There are two sole bright spots that this film has to offer.  The first is the explanation given for why immortal children are illegal, which is actually kind of great.  You see, when a child gets turned, they are forever chained to that level of mental development, and therefore cannot learn or be trained to the ways of the Vampire, and their inherent lack of empathy or ability to know better make them a danger to everyone around them.  I remember watching the flashback of half-aware children running through entire towns with an insatiable bloodlust, leaving a wake of destruction in their path and thinking, "This is the kind of movie I want to see.  Can we just stay here?".

But alas, we are transported back into Casa De Broodyface for the next pointless conversation or laughably melodramatic love scene.

And boy are those love scenes melodramatic.  Honestly, Bella and Edward have repeated themselves so frequently, and The Twilight Saga lays on their inexplicable yet undying love so thickly that at this stage of the game you really start to question who they are trying to convince.

Eventually, the film hits it's climax, easily the best sequence in the entire film.  Well... kinda.

Producers of the film have been touting the big twist ending that will inhabit Breaking Dawn Part Two, and I have to admit, upon hearing that knowledge, my ears twitched a little.  I mean there's no way that could in any way redeem this flagging series, but hey, any time the filmmakers give the impression that they are NOT going to follow Stephenie Meyer's stench of a blueprint is cause for both celebration and intrigue.

The way the book ends is that the Volturi meet the entire Cullen clan head on and plan to duke it out in the final Vampire free for all that will send the saga out with a bang, only right before said fight, Alice waltzes in and says, "Wait, it's totally not what you think!", to which the Volturi shrug their shoulders and walk away.

No seriously, that is the climax of Breaking Dawn.

Well the film, in its increasing effort to remain watchable, decides to actually have that fight take place, and aside from some dodgy green screen and Miachael Bay-esque edits, it's actually pretty awesome.  Heads roll, superpowers collide, grounds quake, and main characters are slaughtered in what seemed like the ballsiest move the saga has ever made, which threatened to redeem the entire film.

And then they took it back.

In one of the biggest cop-outs in cinema history, they flash back to Alice, who tells Aro that it was all just an astral projection of what will be their future should they choose to fight.  So the Volturi again shrug and walk away, though not by rationale but by a Thermopolae-like distaste for battle, and the rest of the film is basically a carbon copy of the book's ending.

I have to say, I was watching the extended credits sequence with the same level of unbridled emotion as the rest of the audience, though not for the same reasons.  Where some watched it as a poignant celebration, I watched it for the finality it was displaying, and a calm washed over me as I realized I would never have to sit through another one of these again.

Those who read this, particularly the Twi-Hards who live amongst my ranks, will undoubtedly write this review off as they dismiss me as just another person who doesn't "get" or "like" teenage vampire fiction and is just "being a guy".  I assure you, that is not the case here.  

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is my favorite television show of all time.

If you've read this blog, you can see the affinity I have for The Vampire Diaries.

I LIKE this shit.  I don't hate Twilight because its melodramatic teen vampire fiction.  I hate it because its BAD melodramatic teen vampire fiction.

Good Riddance, The Twilight Saga.  May you rest peacefully in your own small but perfect piece of forever, and may you never, ever be rebooted.


39% = ** = "Bad"


-VMA

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