THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART TWO (M) (116 min)
REVIEW: Directed by Bill Condon. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen.
It's over. I have seen the fifth and final Twilight film. And you know what, casting my thoughts back over the entire series, I can barely recall a minute. There was the wedding and spousal rape in Breaking Dawn - Part One, which only sticks out in my mind because I remember my revulsion at realising that author Stephenie Meyer thought that her pornographic garbage was in some way "romantic". But apart from that one sickening bump in the road, very little of Twilight even registers. And the reason is simple. Nothing happens.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. She quite likes another boy, but we all know that she will stick with boy number one. His family have a few doubts, but they eventually come around. That's it. Spun out over 10 hours.
And yet, here we are, at the end of this non-story, and there has to be a climactic battle. Not for any reason at all. It's just that Stephenie Meyer has read a bit of Tolkien, and she knows that a climactic battle is one of those things you have to have if you're writing fantasy. Only trouble is, there is nothing else that can happen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part Two except for that battle.
What scant plot there was, was disposed of in Part One. So what we get is 100 minutes of characters sitting around discussing the absolutely lunatic reason that the Volturi (that's the bad guy vampires, led by Michael Sheen in a performance that wouldn't look out of place in an amateur theatre re-staging of The Rocky Horror Show) might have for picking a fight. And the reason is this: they think that Bella and Edward's baby is an "immortal child". Apparently a vampire toddler is a very bad thing, and generally to be avoided. The nipper isn't immortal, and everyone knows this, but still the Volturi come running over from Italy to have a wee barney in a snowy field. Which accounts for roughly the other 16 minutes of the film. And just to add insult to inanity, the whole enterprise is capped off by a "and then I woke up and it was all a dream" stunt that struck me as an egregiously bad piece of writing, even by the so-low-they're-subterranean standards of this series.
So, there's no plot, and no discernible acting talent, except for Sheen, who stands out only because he can barely contain his laughter. And oddly, for a film with a $130 million budget, there's no real spectacle either. The big fight is a pretty low key affair, while the Taylor Lautner-turns-into-a-wolf schtick has been done so often now it elicits no more reaction than a polite yawn. In fact, the only notable special effect in the film is the baby, a CGI creation of quite surpassing grotesqueness. It's not supposed to be, you understand. This is supposed to be a normal looking infant. But with a virtual blank cheque and four years to work on it, and the digital effects team have handed in something that looks as though it was sired by Gollum out of an acquiescent beagle.
Add to that the comically inept makeup, the $2 shop hair pieces, the unimaginative wardrobe and set dressing, and you have to ask where the money is being spent, because it's certainly not on the screen. For a nine figure budget, you expect at least to see technical competence. But, with the exception of the camera work and the edit, both of which are acceptably whizzy at times, there is nothing here that doesn't look cheap, badly thought through, and tediously realised.
And so goodbye Twilight. And good riddance. You have been dreadful.
- The Dominion Post
Have you read Kiwi author Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries?Related story: What now for Eleanor Catton?