Film review: The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 2
Full disclosure: I am a diehard Twihard. I own the books and the Edward socks and married a man whose jawline looks very much like Robert Pattinson's. But the last three movies almost killed the magic for me. Breaking Dawn Part 1, in particular, was a travesty. A lot of the criticism so far directed at that movie would be more fairly aimed at the book, though: there's only so much you can do with a plotline that goes "vampire marries human, bruisy sex happens, human gets pregnant, vampire sulks, foetus slowly kills human, vampire administers caesarean-by-fang and changes dying wife into vampire, the end, oh wait no, werewolf falls in love with newborn baby vampire. . ."
As a Twihard I feel obliged to explain that said werewolf (Jacob) actually "imprints" on the baby (Renesmee - do not get me started) which means he is devoted to her for life. In a platonic way, unless one day she wants non-platonic, which no doubt she will because it's Jacob. There.
But, the bit where Bella strokes her perfectly flat tummy and that's the thing that makes her realise she's pregnant? The bit where the wolves have their ridiculous growl-talky summit meeting in the woodpile? The bit where Bella shaves her legs then immediately goes for a swim (sex) in the sea?
All I hoped for from Part 2 was that it wasn't any worse. And, happily, it wasn't. Having dispatched with the loopier plot points in Part 1, the second instalment was much better, and better than New Moon and Eclipse, too. But not a patch on the original Twilight. That first outing (the only one of the five directed by Catherine Hardwicke) had a dreamy addictive quality, as if the screen were exuding opioids. I've not felt that way about a movie, before or since.
Part 2 opens with Bella's first moments as a vampire. There are some truly joyful scenes of Bella revelling in her new strength and co-ordination, racing Edward through the forest and scrabbling up a vertical cliff. Cool tricks aside, it's a relief to see the couple back on an equal footing, laughing, enjoying each other: God knows we needed it after all Edward's misogynistic moping in Part 1.
Jacob gets his kit off very early on. As do Bella and Edward, but pretty much all you see of them is legs and sweaty faces, her front teeth, that jawline. The bed remains unbroken, as does the power of their love; boom.
Skip to spanner in works: the evil Volturi get wind of Renesmee, and make a plan to cull the Cullens, as they assume the child was bitten (a mortal sin, among these immortals) rather than born. Aunty Alice sees all this coming a mile off, obviously, and the Cullens race to introduce Renesmee to their friends and family. The hope is those vamps will then stand as witnesses to Renesmee's non-bitten status.
This is where it all gets a bit silly. The vampires of the world arrive two by two, each duo more ludicrous than the last: Amazonian warrior women, an Irish couple complete with red hair and cloth cap, and a pair of Russian gents who are supposed to be olde school vampire royalty, but look like hobbits dressed as Hell's Angels. One says, with a straight face: "We sat still for a very long time. We didn't notice we were beginning to petrify."
To the big-fight finale. In the book it's a Cold War, in which both sides glower at the other while the bosses do the high-stakes politicking. In the movie they obviously had to heat things up a bit, not to mention pad out a movie in which very little actually happens.
It's difficult to write about this without spoilering, so stop now if you're surprise-inclined.
OK: there is an extended dream sequence, in which two Cullens die, that is obviously intended to be an emotional rollercoaster. But because it is such a departure from the books neither "death" has any real impact.
There were no gasps of dismay from the Twihard audience at the premiere, rather a pissed-off sort of silence, broken finally with an en-masse groan at the "and then I woke up".
Which, sometimes, is how I feel about emerging from the Twilight fan-coma of the last five years. Other times, I just want to watch them all on loop. Forever.
- © Fairfax NZ News