Review: The Two Popes

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two

I read all the books, okay?? So yeah – I absolutely had to see this thing through to the end. So there! I did it! I watched, and survived, all FIVE cinematic installments of the four-book phenomenon that was “Twilight”. That’s the good news. The bad news is… this last hurrah, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two, kinda sucks, which fittingly enough, brings the franchise full circle. ‘Cause the first one kinda sucked too. But therein lies my disappointment. As the years wore on, and the broodingly attractive actors grew into their roles, I became rather smitten with the Twilight movies. New Moon in 2009, Eclipse in 2010 and Breaking Dawn – Part One in 2011 were decent enough flicks, all things considered. So what happened?

I’ll tell ya what happened. Hollywood, in its misguided attempts to bleed the franchise dry, broke the last and weakest book of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance quadrilogy into two parts, giving the most convoluted chapters a movie all their own. Big mistake.

Ready for the plot? If you’re already a Twihard, it’ll make perfect sense. The rest of you will just have to bite your tongues (firmly planted in cheek) and get over it.

Part two picks up where one left off. Bella (Kristen Stewart) has survived death and childbirth and is now a super-strong rookie vampire. She and her immortal beloved Edward (Robert Pattinson) have a beautiful half-vampire, half-human baby daughter named Renesmee. And Bella’s hot, shape-shifter werewolf friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is now part of the family because he’s “imprinted” on the newborn. It’s a creepy wolf thing. Just let it go.

Eternal life is looking downright Walton-esque for a while there. Bella and Edward are a blood-and-sex-starved young couple, running through the woods at superspeed like the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman. And Renesmee is growin’ like a weed. Trouble is, she’s growing so fast that a clueless vampire relative mistakes her for an immortal child (a major no-no in the vampire universe) and rats her out to the evil rulers known as the Volturi. Next thing you know, centuries-old vampires from across the globe are converging on Washington state for an epic fight over Renesmee’s right to survive. It’s the peace-minded Cullens versus the battle-ready Volturi. All hell breaks loose. Heads will roll.

That’s all I’m gonna say about the plot.  Except to say there’s a cheap trick thrown into the mix that isn’t in the book. I won’t spoil it. But suffice it to say, I didn’t like it.

Cinematically, the movie looks good. But from a character and plot-development standpoint, Breaking Dawn – Part Two is mortally, fatally flawed. There are too many new characters; the film relies on cheesy voiceovers to connect the dots; and Taylor Lautner only strips down to his skivvies once (in a scene that draws justifiable cheers and also features the underutilized Billy Burke as Bella’s father Charlie). 

There is definitely some hot, cold-blooded chemistry goin’ on between Bella and Edward as they push the PG-13 boundaries. But it’s hard to watch ‘em without thinking about the cheating scandal that rocked the actors’ off-screen romance. (short version: Kristen cheated on Rob with the married director of her other big movie this year, Snow White and the Huntsman). Oh what a tangled web…

Twilight had a good run. But I didn’t get nearly the level of satisfaction and closure with Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part Two that I did with the final Harry Potter flick. Oh well. Go see it, devoted Twihards. Then put a stake in it – it’s done.

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