Yes, I saw it last night and yes, I felt my testosterone level drop as the title credits rolled across the screen. I was with a friend who loves Twilight (and who probably hates me now for the snide comments I was making throughout the film) and a bunch of other women and browbeaten boyfriends.
I am probably going to throw a few spoilers out here, so if you are for some freakish reason a fan who is going to see the film but haven’t read the books (illiterate, maybe? I can’t figure out any other reason. But then, what are you doing here?) maybe skip to the conclusion. Something I heard a couple years ago that is the author of the books, Stephanie Meyer, is an uber Mormon (magic underwear?) who not only hates the idea of premarital sex but sex in general. I know this sounds weird in a story that seems to capitalize on hot, young hairless guys who lack enough money to buy shirts, but when you think about it the main protagonist, Bella, remains a virgin until she gets married (at age 18) where on her wedding night has painful, bodily injuring sex exactly once and gets into the most horribly painful unwanted pregnancy since Eraserhead. Talk about punishment. When you think about it, seems like a certain morality agenda is being forced down the throats of young women worldwide, with some serious damage being done to women’s liberation along the way (Bella is, in almost all circumstances, the passive vessel for all of the what can laughingly be called masculinity on the screen).
Anyway, is the movie good or bad? Depends on your perspective. If you are a fan I’m sure you can enjoy it. If you are more like me and really only hold a passing interest in the cultural phenomenon generated by the series than it kind of seems sluggish and pointless, with a lot of really mediocre acting and dialog. I think the best way to describe this film is with the word “filled”, as in it is full of filler. You see, as far as I can tell the book Breaking Dawn was not really significantly longer than any of the others, yet somehow the studio has decided they need to make it into a four hour epic (Part 1 was 117 minutes). Every scene seems horribly stretched and elongated to no purpose, with a ton of flashbacks to scenes lifted from 15 minutes earlier. It’s like if you were making an energy bar and wanted to increase the size and weight by throwing in handfuls of sawdust into the mix. I spent the first 45 minutes praying for ANYTHING to happen (and by anything I mean I would have been happy if the Earth had fallen into the sun). Stretching a 2 hour movie into two parts is a way of doubling your revenue, but it really doesn’t add anything to the experience and, honestly, if it works here will set an ugly precedent for future sequels.
Anyway, the movie starts off with Jacob (Taylor Lautner-all the Twilight films plus the horrible Abduction (check out the review I did for that dog)) ripping off his shirt (surprise, surprise. Yes, ladies, he has his shirt off within five seconds of the opening credits ending) and running off into the woods as a wolf, dropping his invitation to Bella and Edwards wedding (Kristin Stewart-wow. She’s got nothing really besides the Twilight series. I guess bland doesn’t translate well to films designed to appeal to groups besides teenage girls. Edward is of course Robert Pattinson, whom I blasted in my review for Water for Elephants. Looks like his new emotion chip failed again). A bunch of other people whom I am sure would be important to me had I seen more than one of the other Twilight films get invitations too. We get subjected to more of the same chemistry-less romance between Bella and Edward and Edward runs off to his bachelor party that we don’t get to see (what to vampire bachelors who don’t actually drink human blood do at a bachelor party? Sounds like a quiet evening at the library to me). The wedding scene seemed to go on for 83,000 years and was overall kind of awkward and painful. Then a flight to Brazil and a romantic beach bungalow (what do these vampires do for money, anyway? None of them seem to have a job, unless being overly good looking pays) where the two of them have sex exactly once and spend the rest of the honeymoon playing chess (no joke. I wish I was joking). Edward is afraid he will hurt Bella because he bruised her or something during that first night.
Bella gets painfully pregnant and starts showing within a couple weeks (isn’t part of being a vampire that your cells are effectively dead, or perhaps crystallized? How, then, can vampire sperm cells fertilize an ovum? And what aspect of that union means the fetus will develop in a month?). They fly back to their estate in Washington (home of Starbucks. I’m not saying that Starbucks is run by vampires, but the evidence is stacking up) where the other main vampire/robot Carlisle (Peter Facinelli, another guy who has nothing else going on, unless playing Zan from the Wonder Twins in a film short counts for something. Everything else is garbage) announces that the fetus, who for some reason has put a lead shield or something around the womb preventing xray or ultrasound (???) from showing it, will probably kill Bella. She refuses to have the child aborted and has to drink human blood, in spite of still being human. Meanwhile, the werewolves come to the conclusion that the baby will be a monster and threat to them for reasons they opted to not really share with the audience. Once again we are treated (subjected) to vampire on werewolf action where no one of any significance dies. Vampire havoc ensues. You are finally given some action, although it is short lived and ultimately kind of pointless.
Before I get into the stars and black holes, I have a few questions I want to ask of any Twilight fans out there. First of all, if you are a vampire and your plush vampire house is surrounded by werewolves who significantly outnumber you, wouldn’t you look for some kind of equalizer? And by that I mean guns. Is there some rule that vampires can’t use guns at all? They seem to have unlimited money. A couple of SPAS 12′s would have put a hurt on the wolves as they came bounding towards you. For that matter, if you have the resources just mount an M2 .50 cal on the roof and surround your house with Claymores. That would put paid to the wolves pretty quick, and it’s not like local law enforcement has any interest in what goes on in the woods.
The second question is when did the Twilight series turn into a Saga? Crowbarring that into the title really bugged me, like adding Part 2 to the Hangover. Saga is a Norse term for an epic tale. Sorry, but there is nothing epic about watching Bella and Edward having “romantic” scenes with all the natural chemistry of a sugar cube being dissolved in water while Jacob skulks around outside.
Thirdly, what ever happened to the vampires sparkling in daylight? This is actually a point that grinds me like nothing else about this series, but if you are going to make it a point of the film please try to maintain it. Don’t just drop it (Sparkly vampire image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category).
Fourth, what the hell was the deal with those creepy looking vamps and the hot girl during the credits? I know those guys are the bosses from Italy, but what exactly was up with the girl? She didn’t seem to do anything wrong. Also, one thing I kind of liked about Twilight (there are words that I thought I would never type) is they managed to stay away from the Emo vampires, and then at the end there they are. Is there a minimum Emo requirement for any vampire movie?
Fifth, they seem to make sure you see Jacob and the rest of the werewolves rip out of their clothes every time they transform in an attempt to help show how wild and savage they are, but where do they get clothes for their next human scene? The wolves surrounding the house clearly left their territory in wolf form, but when they need to talk all of a sudden it’s like they found a lost truck full of Abercrombie and Fitch merchandise. Do they have secret caches of clothing hidden all over the place? Does the magic that transforms them back to human give them clothes again? I could actually buy that, as it was a premise in a Harry Dresden novel, but why then show the clothes ripping off? Muscle shirts a go go. For that matter, what do the werewolves do for a living as well? Their wardrobe budget would bankrupt a small European country.
Anyway, I could go on, but better get to the stars. I don’t know if this is a accurate assessment, as my liking his acting is only in comparison to the sub mediocre acting from everyone else, but I kind of liked Taylor Lautner’s performance. At least he showed emotion once in a while. One star. The flash back to the 30′s when Edward was killing humans was kind of cool, I guess. One star. I can’t think of anything specific, but will award two stars for not sucking as bad as I thought it was going to suck. Total: four stars.
The black holes. The plot had more holes than a golf course. One black hole. Horrible, deadpan, emotionless, drab acting from almost everyone. One black hole. Long, boring scenes that accomplished nothing. One black hole. Stretching one two hour film into 2 two hour films in a blatant attempt to take advantage of your gullible fans. One black hole. Filler added by recycling scenes from earlier in the movie just to run out the clock. One black hole. A decided lack of motivation on the part of the werewolves. A little more thought and/or expository dialog would have been appreciated. One black hole. The writer seemed to pull the ending from so deep in her ass that she must have bumped her tonsils on the way out. One second you are gearing up for the final, epic battle where someone might have actually been in mortal danger, and the next everyone goes home and orders pizza. One black hole. Robert Pattinson’s eyebrows. One black hole (petty, I know. But still. They are almost hypnotic in how they draw your eyes). Deus Ex Machina set to full power. One black hole. Thinly disguised religious morality message. One black hole. Total: ten black holes.
So a grand total of six black holes. Honestly, before you hate spam me I could have been a lot harsher. On a bad day each of those questions I asked earlier would have been another black hole. And again, if you are a fan I am sure you will find the love for this film. Just do your suffering boyfriend a favor and go with your girlfriends. Date movie? Maybe. I think a lot of girls might look at you weird if you expressed an interest in seeing this. Not the most macho choice you could make.
Thanks for reading this particularly long review. Feel free to post comments here, and as long as you don’t cuss I will approve them and try to respond. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. More coming up soon. Cheap movie night so I should be able to see something. Talk to you soon.