The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Review No. 442

Good news: It’s over. Bad news: See below.

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Directed by: Bill Condon
Screenplay by: Melissa Rosenberg and Stephenie Meyer
Based on: “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer
Bella Swan: Kristen Stewart
Edward Cullen: Robert Pattinson
Jacob Black: Taylor Lautner
Also Starring: Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Christopher Heyerdahl, Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kellan Lutz, Mackenzie Foy, Maggie Grace, Michael Sheen, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli

Distributed by Summit Entertainment on November 16, 2012. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 115 mins. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA–violence, infrequent sexual situations, infrequent/brief nudity.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was watched on March 3, 2013.

“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” –Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The good news: the Twilight saga has earned its stars enough dough to retire right now. That means, perhaps these ex-vampires and ex-werewolves can stop lazily bleeding/drooling over Hollywood. That means, maybe the solitude of their own mansions would delight them just as much as their absence from the silver screen would delight us. The bad news: they won’t retire. Sorry to burst your bubble.

The idea of splitting Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn into two separate films seemed like a cash grab upon my viewing of Part 1, back in 2011. It’s interesting, for lack of a better word, to think that no one in the film industry would pick up the novel itself and realize how uneventfully everything plays out. It’s just an egregious soap opera with three back-to-back narrations. Whereas the first three books were huge elaborations on love, this one has three events, which can be labelled just as shallowly as they are explained/rambled about: marriage, pregnancy, protecting the offspring. The entire novel, as I recall it, could fit well into a ninety-minute feature film. But these producers, they just figure, it’s over seven-hundred pages, so why not split it in two? And now the book marks a total of almost four hours onscreen. Bad acting abounds to try and keep you awake, as does a screenwriter who rusts in so much cornball dialogue, it’s almost certain she hates the series.

Part 1 found Edward and Bella newlywed and unable to take their hands off each other. The interspecies mating (that is, vampire-to-human) causes Bella to become pregnant with a half-human-half-vampire breed. And now he must save her from some sort of strange, possessive, vampiric STD she has acquired. And that’s all there really is to any sort of plot.

In Part 2, Bella is a “newborn,” or a being who has recently endured a transformation from human to vampire. That’s all I can really say of the story, if there was one. Oh yeah, and Bella watches her baby RenesmΓ©e mature rapidly, as the Volturi try and kidnap the child.

Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is, under my impression, one of the most elongated ways to say “Life goes on.” Part 1 came so close to reaching the two-hour mark, which all of its predecessors had significantly succeeded.

Just on the way to getting there, Part 2 dies hard. The movie ends up with 115 minutes to use against its innocent audience. A disambiguation of this record short length brings several useless bits that makes the movie feel twice as long. A two-minute CGI opening credits sequence (which wasn’t that bad, but could have been spared). At least nine minutes of closing credits. A grotesquely extended finale that features a montage for the Twihards (still, I’d estimate about 60-70% of them would still be awake by this point). A routine, twenty-minute battle scene featuring the offings of several characters, if you can follow the hyperkinetic camerawork. And to top it all off, one of the most absurdly angled love scenes since the dreamlike one in Fight Club (which was computer generated, for that matter).

I’m not sure how well this follows the novel, since that has left my memory as well, but from what I’ve heard, there are several additives and alterations. All this delivered by “actors” and “actresses” who, although clearly stupid, know how to carry out one common but unpunished crime: that a typical Hollywood audience is the easiest bank to rob.

Proof: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 warranted the eighth largest opening weekend. During its 101 days plaguing the cinema, it managed to roll in nearly $850 million. That’s a lot of people begging for their money back. Worse, Lincoln opened the same day, and I’m not sure how many of those had time and money to fit in a viewing of that dozen-Oscar nominee.

Visuals aside (why is it that this is Hollywood’s easiest means of waking us all up, yet it’s so damn time-consuming a process?), there are two upsides to this production. One: it’s instantly forgettable. It’s so boring that you often forget you were watching it, and the easiest sequences to think back to are those that evoke laughter. For those who have not acquainted with the saga, there are quite a few.

Two (and this one’s slight!): the film’s producers can finally call themselves award-winners. In fact, I’m not sure why “MOVIE OF THE YEAR” hasn’t been branded across the Blu-Ray design. Probably because it hit home video before winning the Golden Raspberry for Worst Picture. Some films that garner that recognition are truly awful but easy to enjoy for their guilty pleasure. Not here. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, like its title, is long, plodding, and a waste of time to try and finish.

D MINUS

TOMORROW, ON CINEMANIAC REVIEWS…

Undefeated

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8 thoughts on “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

  1. Whenever someone asks me if I have watched a Twilight movie, all I say is that I was staring at a black screen for two hours. Because that’s all I saw in every Twilight installment. But the fact Bill Condon directed the final two parts is such a shame (because he did one of my favourite movies)…

  2. This movie may not be great cinema, but i enjoyed the Twilight books very much and just liked the movie version as entertainment and visuals. It is just my personal point of view and I sometimes just watch a movie to take me away, even if its only for 2 hours. Plus I am old. I do appreciate your artistic point of view however different from mine.

    • I was in your shoes for so long, Alec. I saw 2, 3, and 4p1 in theaters, and I’ve read all the books, plus The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. (In my defense, it took me until about 7th or 8th grade to realize how bad the series is hahah.)

      I feel like when I went to see Lincoln (the same day Twilight opened), I wasn’t made mad enough. I’d never seen so many people I knew from school before at a movie theater; they were all going to see BDP2. I guess it was the OCD in me that didn’t want to see part 1 and not part 2, so I kind of made sure I saw it at all costs.

      But yeah, you’ve been warned. If you do plan on watching this just to say you did watch it, I’d try and see if there’s a RiffTrax commentary available online (basically feature length movie mocking from the guys who did Mystery Science Theater 3000).

    • Oh and thanks for that compliment. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, like its title, is long, plodding, and a waste of time to try and finish.” I should have added something like, “Given that I pushed myself through it, it’s a perfect example of ‘do as I say, not as I do.'”

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