CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (2012)
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(THE SCENE: A cemetery. L.L. SOARES has just finished filling up a grave. He rests on his shovel and looks at the tombstone with says “TWILIGHT.” MICHAEL ARRUDA arrives in a long black car and gets out. He’s wearing a party hat and carrying balloons. DRIVER of hearse steps out, appalled.)
DRIVER: Balloons? This is a funeral! This is most inappropriate!
MA: No it’s not. This is a funeral for the TWILIGHT series.
LS (calling over): Did you bring the vampire strippers?
MA (looks at Driver): And you think I’m inappropriate?
DRIVER: I’m appalled!
MA: Don’t lose your shirt, Taylor Lautner. (to LS) I didn’t bring any strippers.
LS: No strippers? Damn!
MA: We need to review a movie after all. I didn’t think we needed the distraction.
LS: Who asked you to think?
MA: Sorry. Well, at least it’s over.
LS: You got that right. We can finally put the damn TWILIGHT SAGA to rest. Best grave I ever dug. I made this one extra deep.
MA: All we have to do is to review BREAKING DAWN PART 2, then it will be over for good!
LS: True enough. (He is on the verge of tears). And then we’ll finally be done with this series. I thought this day would never come.
MA: Me, neither. I thought we’d be going to see these awful movies forever.
LS: If there’s a hell, then I’m sure someone is being forced to watch a never-ending marathon of these movies.
MA: So why don’t you give us a synopsis of this last movie.
LS: BREAKING DAWN PART 1 ended with the feisty, perpetually sneering heroine of the TWILIGHT series, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), finally getting what she’s been wishing for since the first movie — she finally got turned into a vampire like her beloved Edward (Robert Pattinson). We could tell because her eyes were bright red! Spooky!
As BREAKING DAWN PART 2 opens, Bella is trying to learn how to control her unquenchable thirst for blood. Edward takes his newly-vampiric bride into the deep woods so she can feast on a deer’s blood, but a mountain climber makes an unexpected appearance, and when he cuts himself, Bella goes nuts. Suddenly, that measly little deer doesn’t seem so filling.
MA: This series is so bad even “hunting” scenes like this are dull and boring, especially with Edward watching his new bride with that goofy grin on his face, as if we’re supposed to think, “Aww, isn’t she cute? Bella’s hunting.” Gag!
LS: The big question was, would she be able to control herself and not bite a human, or would she just go nuts like a lot of “newbie” vampires do when they first get “turned.” Somehow, Bella is able to pass the test.
MA: Because vampires in the TWILIGHT world would never feed on a human, or at least not vampires in the Cullen clan, the most mind-numbing vampire family you’ll ever meet. Vampire family. (Shaking his head) That kinda says it all, doesn’t it?
LS: Speaking of which, Bella is then brought back to the home of the Cullens — the vampire clan that Edward belongs to, and now Bella does to — to meet her new baby, Renesmee. What kind of name is that anyway?
MA: An annoying one.
LS: Turns out everyone is afraid Bella will turn her newborn baby into dinner, since the girl is half human and has human blood running through her veins. If you remember from the previous movie, Bella got pregnant immediately after a wild bout of sex with Edward, and the baby threatened to kill her. Which is why Edward finally relented and turned her into a vampire— he pretty much killed her in order to save her life, if that makes any sense.
MA (mockingly nodding): Of course it does.
(A couple of MOURNERS arrives, crying into their handkerchiefs)
MOURNER 1: Oh my God, it’s over! How will we ever go on with our lives?
MOURNER 2: This is just the saddest day ever. I don’t know if I want to live anymore!
MOURNER 1: I have an idea. Let’s make sure it never ends. Let’s go see BREAKING DAWN PART 2 again. And again. And then go back and read the books again and watch the DVDs again and then it will seem like the story goes on forever.
MOURNER 2: Oh my God, that sounds wonderful!
(LS suddenly raises his shovel and chops both of their heads off, with blood squirting everywhere)
LS: I’m sorry Michael, but I had to put those two poor, tortured souls out of their misery.
MA (grinning as blood spatters his suit): Totally understandable, although I was thinking more along the lines of a stern reprimand.
LS: Anyway, in this new movie, the hateful Irina (Maggie Grace) spies Bella and her new baby and runs to tell the Voltari – those vampire overlords who act like the Vatican of bloodsuckers —because this is a big no-no in the tenants of vampire law. You see, in the past, babies and children who were turned into vampires were nothing but trouble, since they immediately stopped growing and stayed at their age (mentally and physically) forever. Suddenly, with a lust for blood and incredibly strength, they were huge threats to the human world (you don’t want to see a super-strong vampire baby have a tantrum!) and also threatened to expose the adult vampires who are always trying to stay a big secret to humankind. Thus, vampire babies are immediately destroyed. After Irana goes and finks on Bella (what a rat!), the Voltari are convinced that Renesmee is a baby turned into a vampire and the leaders of the group, especially big kahuna Aro (Michael Sheen), declare the child must be slain and those involved with her “creation” punished.
But, as we already know, they’re wrong, since Renesmee wasn’t “turned,” she was born a vampire/human hybrid because Bella was human during the child’s conception. Thus, the child is a rare creature and has started growing at an alarming rate. Like, she’s grown several years older in a matter of days!
The Voltari, however, have no interest in allowing a fair trial. If they could just talk it out, there would be no movie. Besides, Aro and his cohorts have had it in for the Cullens since the second TWILIGHT movie, NEW MOON (2009), and this is just the excuse they need to wipe out of the clan completely.
MA: This is all so interesting.
LS: I have to admit, it’s a little painful to remember all this stuff. I want to block it out of my mind.
The Cullens, in turn, find out about their impending doom when Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) has a vision that the Voltari are coming to get them. This puts a plan into motion where the Cullens travel the globe to gather friends and allies as “witnesses” to demand that the Voltari listen to reason. These same witnesses might also have to fight if the Voltari won’t listen to them.
Also along for the ride are Bella’s other love interest, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and his pack of werewolves. Jacob has sworn to protect Renesmee with his life, partly because he has “imprinted” himself on the child (something that happened in PART 1). It seems that werewolves automatically “imprint” a bond with someone when they have found their true soul mate. It’s completely out of their control. And the fact that Jacob has imprinted with a baby is kind of creepy, except when you realize that Renesmee will probably be a full-grown adult in a few months, based on how fast she’s growing.
MA: Werewolves are really nannies. Who knew? Why didn’t someone tell Lon Chaney Jr.? Larry Talbot would have made the perfect baby guardian. Look, it’s Uncle Larry! Of course, when the moon was full, he’d have eaten the kid, but he would have been good for a little while, anyway.
Werewolves protecting little kids? And people want to know what’s wrong with this series? Sheesh!
LS: And don’t forget the imprint thing. Sounds like a certain shirtless werewolf might end up on a sex offenders website if he isn’t careful. He better wait until she’s at least 18….er, days…old before he consummates their passion.
So the Voltari are coming to slaughter the Cullens. The Cullens have gathered allies to speak on their behalf, or fight for them if necessary, and the werewolves have pledged to help. And that’s the story in a nutshell.
MA: In a nutshell? It must belong to a coconut. That’s one detailed synopsis. Do we really need to know that much about this movie?
LS: Are you knocking my synopsis?
MA: No, it’s a terrific synopsis. It’s just making me relive some things I’d rather forget— like the entire plot.
LS: You mean you weren’t intrigued by questions like: Will the Cullens survive? Will the Voltari listen to reason? Will Jacob take off his shirt? Well, I can answer the last question: Jacob will definitely take off his shirt! And simpletons in the audience will “ooh” and “ahh” like they always do.
I thought BREAKING DAWN PART 2 was very telling. I have now sat through five TWILIGHT movies, and you would think that, after all this time, I would have grown to care about these characters, and be concerned about what happens to them. But the truth is, I hate all of these characters just as much as I did before. BREAKING DAWN PART 2 is not going to win over any new fans.
MA: That’s a good point. These characters have been so annoying for so long throughout this series that I can barely stand to look at them, let alone watch a movie about them. And I didn’t find the three lead characters to be quite as an annoying in this movie, yet, it didn’t matter. Based upon the previous movies, I just didn’t care about these folks.
That’s pretty bad. As you said, you’d expect characters in a series to grow on you, not grate on you.
LS: Of course, that doesn’t really matter, because the fans of the series who already exist are more than enough. I actually got my ticket online before the showing, because the past few times a TWILIGHT movie has come out, all the showings on the first day sold out immediately. But even though I bought my ticket in advance this time, I still had to stand in a long line before they let us into the theater (even with tickets!) and the place was pretty packed. So this series has just as many—if not more— hardcore fans as ever.
But in all seriousness, I thought this movie was excruciating to sit through. We’ve seen worse movies this year—the latest RESIDENT EVIL movie comes to mind—but TWILIGHT is the only series that consistently bores the hell out of me every time I sit through another chapter. I still think Bella is irritating and I have no clue what Edward or Jacob see in her. I think Edward and Jacob are morons. I think the Cullen family is a snooze. And I really hate the Voltari—who are lame-ass villains—even though their number includes Dakota Fanning as Jane and Michael Sheen as Aro, two actors I normally like.
And there’s some new stuff this time around. It turns out a lot of these vampires have super powers. As if being a super-strong, blood-drinking vampire wasn’t enough! One guy can shoot fire from his hands. Another one can shoot out tendrils of darkness that can blind or suffocate someone. Other ones can foretell the future, create electric shocks or create shields around themselves.
Who knew these sparkly vampires were really THE X-MEN!
I actually found this “look at my cool powers!” aspect to be extra annoying, since there’s no logical reason for these extra powers.
(THE SCENE suddenly SHIFTS to a field of colorful wildflowers. BELLA and EDWARD are sitting in the flowers, snuggling and giggling)
BELLA: Oh God, I love you so much.
EDWARD: And I, you.
BELLA: I love you so much it hurts. I love love love you.
EDWARD: Oh, how I love the word Love.
BELLA: It’s is a lovely word, isn’t it? And it’s so wonderful to be this much in love.
(SHOT moves to JACOB and RENESMEE, sitting in a different part of the garden)
JACOB: And I love you, too, little Renesmee. You’re just a toddler now, but soon we’ll be lovers and I’ll sweep you up in my arms and we can have long-winded conversations about love, like Edward and Bella.
RENESSEE: Uncle Jacob, you’re really starting to creep me out, man. Besides, I hate the name Renesmee. It sounds stupid. I much prefer to be called HONEY BOO BOO.
JACOB: Anything you wish, oh love of my life. Oh joy of my jowls. Oops, I spilled some Kool-ade on my shirt. Would you mind if I take it off? This stain offends me so.
RENESMEE A BOO BOO: Oh boy. Do what you gotta do, buster.
(THE SCENE returns to the graveyard. LS is off to one side, vomiting)
MA: Ahem, the camera is back on us again.
LS: Oh, sorry (wipes his mouth)
I’m also sick of the exaggerated emotions and affectations of the main characters here. Everyone is in love in big CAPITAL LETTERS. The characters are pretentious, sappy, and stupid. At least Bella and Edward get to have some sex in the BREAKING DAWN movies. After three movies before that where the two of them were forever locked in torturous abstinence, it’s nice to at least see them go at it, even if it’s all very sanitized and romanticized. What a tasteful nibble of a neck. What a very safe interlocking of naked limbs with not a glimpse of any naughty bits…
The audience I saw it with was so emotionally invested in these dumb characters that it was embarrassing. They had reactions that were as exaggerated as the characters on the screen. And they laughed at everything – even things that weren’t funny. Like everything out of Bella (and Edward and Jacob)’s mouth was the most clever, witty dialogue ever written. Let me tell you a secret – it wasn’t. The only scene that struck me as even mildly amusing was one where Jacob takes his clothes off in front of Bella’s father, Charlie (Billy Burke) to show him how he turns into a big CGI wolf, and Charlie looks very uncomfortable, wondering if he just stepped into a scene from MAGIC MIKE. But otherwise, it wasn’t as clever or as emotionally charged as the audience pretended it was.
MA: Yes, that was a funny scene. Hey, after five movies, they got a scene right!
LS: I really, truly hate this series. And seeing the saga finally come to an end filled me with joy. I give this movie one knife for the fact that the story is finally over alone! Otherwise, there’s nothing here I can recommend. It’s complete crap.
What did you think, Michael?
MA: Well, the best thing I can say for this movie is that it’s the first TWILIGHT movie that didn’t bore me to tears, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. It means that for once, things actually happened in this movie. They may have been stupid things — like lame vampire superheroes— but they were things. See, usually, these movies are so dull I start chomping on my fingernails once the popcorn is gone. My fingernails survived this installment.
Another positive is BREAKING DAWN PART 2 gets all of its whining out of the way early. Bella whines at Jacob because he imprinted on her baby daughter. Now, in past movies, we’d have to suffer through multiple scenes of Bella’s angst. She’d talk about it with Edward. She talk about it with Jacob. She’d go back and talk to Edward some more. Edward and Jacob would talk. Blah, blah, blah. But here in BREAKING DAWN PART 2, it’s one and done. That’s a good thing.
They also got the boring “Bella talks to her dad” scenes out of the way early as well.
That’s because in this movie, there’s actually a plot and things actually happen. There’s a build-up to a big battle showdown. Did I enjoy this build up? Not really. But somehow this one just wasn’t as painful. And of course there’s a big bloodbath at the end— not really. It’s a pretty lame battle. You’ll find more intense stuff in a Disney movie.
The acting is what you’d expect, although I have to admit the three leads didn’t annoy me as much this time around. I think it’s because they spoke less in this movie. The closest thing I came to enjoying a performance was watching Michael Sheen ham it up as Aro. His over-the-top performance is one of the movies few highlights.
LS: He actually has a couple of funny scenes this time. I can’t blame the guy for wanting a decent paycheck.
MA: Director Bill Condon could have easily filmed BREAKING DAWN as one movie as opposed to dragging it out into two parts. PART 1, basically a wedding, could have been condensed in about 15 minutes of screen time. PART 2 is definitely better, but again, this isn’t saying much.
Melissa Rosenberg wrote the screenplay, and she wrote the screenplays for the entire series. Not something I’d want on my resume.
LS: But I’m sure she’s happy it’s on hers. These movies made a shitload of money!
MA: It’s funny, here we have this paranormal romance, this love story, this love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, but what is the series finale about? Vampires with superpowers and the meddling Voltari. The love triangle was resolved movies ago.
LS: And it was never much of a triangle. We always knew Bella had the hots for Edward. Her relationship with Jacob was always just an intense friendship. She never returned Jacob’s feelings like he wanted her to. So the triangle angle was almost kind of forced, don’t you think.
MA: Yep. To me, this just shows that this love story wasn’t much to begin with. You’d think this series would be driven by a tale of unbelievable love, but it’s not, which just reinforces the ridiculousness of building a “saga” around these characters.
But, hey, at the end of the day, the TWILIGHT series will long be remembered for featuring the cutest werewolves ever! One day, when Disney buys the franchise, we’ll see little Jacob-werewolf-nannies on the shelf next to Winnie the Pooh.
It goes without saying, but I am overjoyed that this series is finally over. That being said, this last installment, TWILIGHT BREAKING DAWN PART 2, didn’t torture me with mind-numbing boredom, and as you said at the outset, we’ve seen worse movies this year.
I give it two knives.
LS: Fair enough. You’re much more generous than me this time around. Maybe you’re just relieved it’s finally over…
Or maybe your heart has finally let the love in…
MA: I don’t think so.
LS: Of course, the way it ends, the storyline could always be continued. And there could be spin-offs…and you know the studios will seriously consider it…but for now, this moment in time, let’s pretend like TWILIGHT is really over. That we never have to see another TWILIGHT movie again. And, for the moment, let’s sparkle with happiness.
MA: Now let’s go somewhere and celebrate!
LS: Sounds good. (Looks at TWILIGHT tombstone.) It’s hard to believe. We’ve buried the TWILIGHT movies forever.
MA: It’s about time.
LS: That celebration is long overdue. Let’s get out of here.
(MA & LS exit. From behind a gravestone appear a young man and his hunchbacked assistant. The young man carries a shovel, the hunchback a camera. They dig up the grave. The young man holds a TWILIGHT DVD in his hand.)
YOUNG MAN: It’s just resting. Waiting for a new life to come!
HUNCHBACK: Yes, master.
YOUNG MAN: We shall give it life again. We shall re-make them!
(Loud groans and wails are heard off-camera): Nooooooooooooooooo!!
© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
Michael Arruda gives THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 ~ two knives!
LL Soares gives THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 ~one knife!