Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Breaking Dawn Pt.2-Twi Harder

Warning: If you're looking for a serious take on the "saga", please look elsewhere.  It's been a while since I've seen a movie that I spoke out loud in the middle of (in the theater, but mostly under my breath so as not to disturb the other invested patrons who had also spent hard earned money on this experience) and I'm about to release my snark puppy on the world, so if you're a seriously-in-love with the saga fan or can honestly claim to be Team Edward or Team Jacob for life (I'll leave it to you to put in Team Edward/Jacob tattoo in Google Images and see what wonders await) what I have to say may or may not be to your liking.  I take no responsibility for your reactions or feelings. And there will be spoilers.

Well, I broke my own rule and I only have myself to blame for it.  My rule was simple.  DO NOT give in to Stephenie Myers.  I'm not sure what possessed me, honestly.  I mean I have a theory, but that's all it is, no solid proof.  My theory is that I have a genetic disposition to a syndrome known as Endism.  What that means is I have a compulsive need to know how long, drawn out stories end, even if the emotional investment is low. If I haven't moved every single penny from the "I Kind of Care" account to the "I don't give a crap" account, well there's still something to go back for.  I have no DNA evidence per se, but I can testify that sometimes I walk in to Barnes & Noble and if there's something that looks interesting, but not THAT interesting, I just read the first two pages and the last two pages of a book, honestly, just because I have to know.  This syndrome also flares up when triggered by other major pop culture events. Some I've seen through to the bitter end, patiently waiting for each morsel of story.  Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, well at least the Pond storyline. I've read the books  as they've been released, watched the episodes on time, not AHEAD of time (thoroughly pirate-free for me, matey), and I enjoy the suspense.  Heck, even, or perhaps especially, N*Sync, man I stuck with those guys to the bitter end, from their very first Disney concert special until it all came off the boy band tracks.
But there are other things that I just simply don't have that much time for.  We only have one life to live and I can only get invested in so many sagas.  Sometimes you have to put a phenomenon out to pasture to make way for more interesting things, like say, Fringe.  Anyway, at one point in my life, I got swept up in the Twilight fervor.  I bought the books on (exhibit A) recommendations from others.  (exhibit B) I was also young(er) (ish).  Ok, I should have known better.  But sometimes you don't care.  Sometimes you throw Caution to the wind.  And then sometimes Caution comes back and covers your face so that you can't see where you're going and you fall over that uprooted tree right into that smelly, muddy bog and then you only have yourself (and Caution) to blame.
Twilight has now landed me in that bog  several times.  The first time was when I bought the books.  All four at once, because, well, obviously, I was going to see this thing through.  Only I didn't.  I stopped reading at Eclipse because it was just too painful.  These are terribly written books people.  I'm not saying anything against the story.  I mean it's not groundbreaking (boy meets girl) but it's      defend-able. The writing itself? Well, there's no defense for it.  The second time was when I ponied up for the first movie.  The third offense was New Moon (which, of the story, is my 'favorite' if you get mediocre favorites) and the fourth has been this movie.  I skipped Eclipse and the first Breaking Dawn.  I thought I'd finally kicked the habit.  But like they say, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me four times, well, congratulations Stephenie Myers, you've proven to be my very own Waterloo.
So there I was in the car, on my way to theater, already sensing that this was a bad decision.  In the same way that when you're stuffed but you look at that dessert menu and what stands out to you isn't the small serving of sorbet but the gigantic, exploding, gooey chocolate lava cake.  This was a chocolate-lava-cake bad idea. Still, I had to know and thus, my Endism hubris had taken hold.  I don't know what exactly I needed to see.  I mean I already knew that BED-ward were an officially married item (by the way, how is the country not more against hybrid vampire-human marriages...what about THEIR tax status?!) I knew a lot of stuff, because I had Wiki-spoiled every gap that I felt needed filling in once I'd discarded Eclipse.  Still, there I was in the theater, surrounded by a somewhat surprisingly diverse crowd, awaiting the last of the chapter....and then suddenly there was fuzzy Edward.
Here's the re-cap kids.  Bella is a "normal" (boring) new girl who falls for the "mysterious" ( weird-cute) dude in high school.  Edward has the best hair, the hottest car and the coldest skin.  Despite both of their best efforts to stay away from each other (neither of them do anything to stay away from each other) their love cannot be denied.  Even the werewolf hottie with a body, Jacob, can't break up their soulmate status and so once the weirdly forced villains are taken care of, what is there left to do in life but get married and squeeze out a few puppies (watch The Breakfast Club people!)?  Sorry, I should have said have one Vampire-Human hybrid baby whose birthing is so dangerous it causes the mother to nearly die.
So that's where we stand.  Bella's just coming around after being out for two days...that's why Edward's all blurry.  Also, apparently, becoming a vampire does WONDERS for your biotin intake because homegirl's hair is looking super fab.  No one can believe how much BETTER Bella looks as a vampire.  Edward would probably say he would have loved her either way, but we all know he prefers smoking hot blood sucking Bella to whiny crybaby eats-human-food Bella.  The pastiness is pretty much the same.  In the very next scene, all of my suspended disbelief is immediately un-suspended.  It's time for Bella to hunt, animals of course, and what does she wear?  A tiny blue minidress.  I'm serious.  I couldn't get over the fact that Vampire Bella loved body hugging clothing (THAT'S HOW YOU KNOW SHE'S FINALLY COMFORTABLE WITH HERSELF HINT HINT) and would hunt in what is the equivalent of a cocktail dress.  Either she's overdressed or the mountain lion is under dressed, but someone needs to get those two on the same page.
Vampire Bella is better at just about everything than Human Bella.  She's a whiz at self control, is super strong, super fast, has super sex drive, and is super protective mom.  Which reminds me, let me cover the creep factor now.  Soooo, remember when I said that Jacob couldn't break up Bella and Edward?  It turns out that Jacob wasn't really into Bella, but he was super into the hybrid baby she was going to birth.  He imprinted on the baby.  Yup, that's just about as creepy as it sounds.  If you care, you should look up what imprinting means, but I think it's much more fun to let your imaginations run wild, like the wolf.
Alright, I give, up, I'll tell you.  In PG-13 terms, what it means is that Jacob is going to be crazy protective of Renesmee (the baby) until she comes of age and then, well there's no polite way of saying it, then he's going to bone her, while still being protective of her, of course.  Well I guess the more polite way of saying it would have been to say that as soon as this bedraggled, mucous-covered, genetically mutated baby is pulled from the mother's womb that it's been feeding on, Jacob realizes "hey! YOU'RE my lady love soulmate" but what fun is there in saying that?  When Bella realizes what's happened, she's none too pleased, because, well, she feels like she's been palling around with a furry pedo.  Jacob accidentally utters his nickname for his soulbaby "Nessie" to which Bella angrily replies "you nicknamed my baby after the Loch Ness MONSTER?!" (I'll give props to that line)
After the getting-to-know-Bella-and-baby sequence (in which I'm also fairly sure that the baby's face was CGI'd on) we get to what I've determined to be the plot of the movie.  Irina, somebody from one of the things I didn't read or see, is coming to apologize to the Cullens and on her way spies flying Baby Nessie and VampBella, along with WolfJacob and flips out. She goes to the Volturi, who are only cool because Michael Sheen is totally in on the joke, and tells them that those crazy Cullens have done the unthinkable and created an immortal child!! She's wrong, but it's good for the audience that she's not because we're treated to a flashback sequence that explains the immortal children.   Basically, they're kids under Kindergarten-age that were turned by vampires who still had some paternal yearning.  The problem is that these children were never able to learn self-control and so, if someone took their binkie away, they'd kill a whole village, all by their barely-crawling selves.  The clincher in this scene is when a blond-haired toddler turns towards the camera with a face full of blood.  Bravo, Twilight, bravo.
So, there the Volturi are, thinking they've finally nabbed those dastardly Cullens on a charge that is irrefutable!! MUHAHAHAH.  But alas, refute, the Cullens will. They gather as many other vampires as they can who will testify that the baby ISN'T an immortal child, but a biological wonder that could only be produced by Bella Swan, of course.  They gather 27 Vampires.  27 is really the best they could come up with?  That's like some dudes 50th birthday party, attended by only co-workers.  And this is their baby's life on the line.  Good job Cullens.  Maybe if you'd been a little more social and not acted so "oh we drink animal blood" superior, you could have done a better job of rallying the troops.  Anyway, I'm thankful that it gives Lee Pace a job.  Lee, talk to your agent though, you're talent and super-adorable status should have nailed you more jobs than you've had lately, and that's including Lincoln.  I miss you.
Now where was I?  Oh troop rallying!  So both sides are heatedly preparing for serious vampire feuding. Jacob assures the vampires that the wolves will fight for Renesmee's side (who by the way, now looks to be about 7 or 8, so the whole imprinting thing is slowly losing its ick factor...just kidding, it's still icky), because he can't really be bothered with finding ANOTHER child to imprint on, and so, after some training sequences, it's time to get down to war! WAR I SAY!
The two sides gather across a frozen tundra, moving all slow motion and purposefully to some music no doubt inspired by Carmina Burana.  I'll admit it, I felt a twinge of epic in that moment.  THIS is the battle we've been waiting for!! The good vamps versus the evil bloodsuckers! WHO WILL WIN?  And then Alice shows up!  She'd been missing for a chunk of the movie.  I'm sure the book explains more why, but Bella's voiceover narrative has told us that she's making plans to save Renesmee's life.  But who cares? Alice is BACK and she's going to show Michael Sheen what will happen if The Volturi try to fight The Cullens' Clan.  She stops mid-premonition and says "it doesn't matter what I say does it?  You'll fight anyway," and throws Mr. Vampire Sheen for an unexpected loop.
That kicks things off.  What follows is as ultimate of a fight sequence as an unnecessary second movie can build up to.  The battle is actually somewhat intense, living up to the ominous music.  I mean it's no Helm's Deep, but I'll take what I can get.  Now that we know that vampires are killed, in this story, mostly by popping their heads off, you can imagine what follows.  Carlisle's (oddly bloated) head is handily removed, then Jasper's (alright, I actually did gasp at that) and then it's basically a one-by-one pick off of all of those nasty Volturi, like Vampire Pez.  One of the wolves, I think it was the one named Lea tumbles down the giant crevice that's been opened in the barren wasteland.  Bella, who has like 5 special vampire gifts, one of which is being a shield (she can't be affected by other vampires' talents) is busy trying to protect Edward. At one point they do a nifty move that looks like it's borrowed from WWE but that's in the trailer, so that's not a surprise.  I'm not sure Dakota Fanning actually spoke in the movie but I was sure rooting for her to get what was coming to her.  It turns out that what was coming to her was a wolf's jaw, which was kind of awesome.  And finally, Team BED-ward takes down Vampire Sheen in what feels like a perfectly satisfactory manual decapitation.
But WAIT!! I've been HAD!  It wasn't a real battle at all!  It was all part of Alice's premonition! That's right.  We've been premonition-cock-blocked!!  Carlisle's head is still there, all of it.  And Jasper is still standing there, not saying anything!  And then, to really settle this matter The Volturi...turn around...and leave?  For real.  That's what happens.  They turn around and leave.  The exact opposite of the Battle of Hogwarts.
What follows in the last 7 minutes of the movie is by far the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen filmed.  Alice gives Edward a glimpse of his now sedate future in which Bella and Edward join Jacob & a now grown Renesmee on the beach as one big happy supernatural family (sure that's not creepy at all).  In addition, Bella's other gift is apparently memory-sharing, just like her imprinted-on daughter, and she's been practicing and now in THEIR meadow, both glittering like a couple of ravers recovering from last nights' ecstasy bender, she shares with Edward all of her memories of their story together.  It's a chance for us to relive all of those really important moments from the saga, in a BED-ward montage.  Then she says to him "now you know that no one has ever loved anyone the way I love you" (which I bet is what she said to her Snow White & The Huntsman director...or what he said to her) and then Edward  says "with one exception" before they go on with their forever kiss.  Yack.  Finally, it's time for the final credit sequence, which they treat as a really huge deal.  It's hilarious.  Like some sort of black and white video put together by the yearbook staff going through all of the bit players (including BOTH Vicotrias...scandal!) until the final moments where Jacob, Bella and Edward have been voted the most popular couple and most likely to imprint on an under-age and we're assured, the saga is over.

Oh man, this was a fun one.  It's so incredibly unnecessary.  I refuse to believe that they couldn't have finished off the story in four movies instead of five, but god bless that grazing cash cow.  The effects are awful.  Have they been this bad in the movies I didn't see?  If a tree falls in the woods will a vampire catch it and make firewood?  Who knows.  The writing is about on par with the books, so you pretty much know if there were screenwriting delusions of grandeur, someone's going home frowny-faced when the Oscar nominations are made this year.  It's just so melodramatic, but maybe most of them are in on the joke.  Maybe it wasn't just Michael Sheen.  I'm pretty sure Lee Pace is in on it.  I'm not sure about the others.  But overall, the things I was happiest with in the movie were Jacob's strip-down scene and my nachos and cheese snack bar decision.  Still, it did make me laugh.  Oh man.  I might have paid that green goodness to the pied piper and it might slowly find it's way to Ms. Myers, but the laugh I had once I got in my car was easily worth at least three of the six dollars I spent to get in.

Like I said, I only have myself to blame.

Overall: 2 out of 5 stars.  That's generous but hey, it's the last one ever, so if I can't be kind now, when can I be?

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