Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn: Part 2 Review

I’m glad that the Twilight Saga is finally over.  I really am.  That might sound a bit harsh, but I have absolutely no love at all for this series of films.  None of the five of them have done anything for me other than mildly entertain me at times.  The rest of the time I was subjected to lingering scenes of longing stares, bare-chested man-hunks being manly, and…sparkles.  No, I did not enjoy The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 all that much.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone who read my lovely review for Part 1 last year.

***Full Spoiler Warning is in Effect***

To be honest there were a few things that I enjoyed about Part 2, namely the final battle…that actually didn’t happen (more on that in a moment).  The only performances that entertained me in the slightest came from series newcomer Lee Pace and the always-eccentric Michael Sheen.  The former played a Revolutionary War-veteran who sides with the Cullens, whilst the latter reprised his role as the over-the-top leader of the Volturi.  It’s quite amusing to me that my favorite moments of the franchise all come from flashbacks to and discussions of vampiric actions in the past.  But I digress..
The acting from the main trio is just about the same as it’s ever been, although Bella (the stone-faced Kristin Stewart) actually got to show some emotions – more than the previous films combined.  I suppose all that sulking and emo’ing paid off in the end...continually Taylor Lautner seems to be the only one of the trio actually having any fun.  Although having fun doesn’t excuse a lackluster or stilted performance, which is what most of the cast put in on this project.

Despite loads of terribleness and buckets of mediocrity, I found myself wholly engaged in the final confrontation between Team Cullen and Team Volturi.  It is here that I must point out that I am quite the fan of action and explosions, but boy do I love me some good drama; The Artist was one of my favorite films last year.  Just because the only thing I really liked about Part 2 was an action scene isn’t a reflection of my general tastes – the actual “drama” is handled so incredibly poorly throughout the series that there was just little for me to hold on to.  But yes, the final battle was pretty intense, if not cheesy and over-the-top at times.  Vampires were decapitated and werewolves were slain.  At one point, Rami Malek’s Benjamin (who can control elements) created a fissure in the middle of the battlefield (which doesn’t really make sense – what point did that serve?) that caused many on both sides to plummet into molten lava – I highly doubt that actual molten rock is that close to the surface…but whatever.  This is Twilight we’re dealing with.  Nothing makes sense.

What I enjoyed the most about this final battle was that the stakes were sort-of high and people actually died.  Throughout the series I can’t recall many deaths, let alone deaths of main characters.  This battle saw prominent characters on both sides bite it.  When Bella and Edward tag-team Aro (Sheen) and finally rip his head off I was actually pretty stoked.  Then we find out it never happened.   
I don’t really wanna get into it here because I honestly don’t feel like expending then energy, but the whole scene took place inside Alice’s head as she was showing Aro what the outcome of the battle would be.  They decide not to fight and everyone lives happily ever after…which is a cop-out of an ending.  Now, I know nothing about how the book actually ends, but I do know good/bad storytelling when I see it.

See, in Harry Potter, people die.  I’m talking about main characters.  Sirius Black in Order of the Phoenix.  Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire.  Albus f’ing Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince.  And a ton of people in Deathly Hallows.  The stakes were high for Harry and his group and the consequences were fitting.  Both series end relatively happily, but in one it’s bittersweet because of the sacrifices made for Harry to succeed at stopping Voldemort.  The Cullens did almost nothing to earn their happy ending.  Alice runs up and shows the Volturi what will happen if they fight.  What if they just come back in a week with a thousand more vampires?  Will the Cullens have time to gather more followers if Alice sees that happening?  There are so many holes in the actual ending that it sickens me.  The writers should’ve grown a pair and ended it with how the battle played out.  The ending would have that much more weight and significance if people close to our protagonists gave up their lives to save/defend them.  This issue is simply indicative of the film series as a whole – a missed opportunity.

I do have to give quick props to one specific scene in Part 2.  One of my complaints about the series in general is that Jacob never took off his pants.  Stay with me here.  He always takes off his shirt and sometimes his shoes before he transforms into a wolf.  He never would take off his pants.  Just imagine all of the jeans that kid ruined by leaving them on during the transformation.  It really bothered me.  Thankfully, in a key scene with Bella’s dad, Jacob took off his pants and most likely his underwear, before transforming into a wolf.  I literally applauded.  It took them five films to do something right.  Bravo!

At the end of the day you know what you’re getting into if you intend to see this film.  Melodrama at its worst.  Bad CGI (the CGI face placed on baby Renesmee was horrifyingly bad.  I’m talking worse-than-Wolverine’s-claws-in-X-Men Origins-bad).  Over and under-acting.  Mediocre directing.  Poor green-screen.  And an unsatisfying ending.  Wait a second…am I describing this film or the entire “saga?”  Just something to think about.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is no better or worse than the other films…so it’s awful.

The Bearded Bullet.

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