I know TwiFans will rip me a new one for this review, but they won’t be surprised by it since I’m a guy, and apparently guys just don’t “get it.” But I think I get it all too well; and this, the latest and hopefully last installment of the Twilight Debacle firmly cements that notion even more than the ones before it.
Stephanie Meyer’s source material was always weak teenage fluff at best, and embarrassing confusing garbage at worst. But someone was going to make a movie out of it since it sold so well, and it was therefore guaranteed to make mountains of cash no matter faithfully it was translated to the screen. But Meyer’s last book was so crammed with stuff – and notoriously weird – that it was decided that it would be split into two movies to better fit it all in, and allow an intermission to the weirdness. And milk that cash cow for all it as worth.
But all of the TwiMovies gave me the same feeling; that they were the theatrical equivalent of those little nodes of Bazooka Joe chewing um. You quickly suck the sugar out of it and then it’s just a wad of useless you leave behind. Every movie – especially this one, BD2 – leaves the impression of just rushing through to get it done, since there is so little heft to them. There’s no room, no space for the thing to breathe, since there’s no real life there in the first place; just a movement onto the next activity in the book.
But BD2 presented a special challenge since the book itself ends with such an unsatisfying wimper, especially given it’s massive buildup. After introducing that the product of Edward and Bella’s everlasting love is the very thing that may get them all killed (you’ll never look at your child’s temper tantrums the same way again), the Cullen Clan scour the globe to assemble a team of vampiric X-Men to witness unto Renesmee’s innocence, and defend her if necessary. In the book, the Volturi finally show up, get all huffy, and then Alice introduces another hybrid human/vampire, heretofore unknown to the Volturi. His angelic presence convinces the Volturi that such creatures pose no threat to them, and then… See Ya! Sour-puss X-Men and the Cullens have a group hug and go their separate ways because the Volturi just leave, without so much as a bloody nose in their wake. This leaves wolfen Jacob free to cool his imprinting jets for another 6 years until Renesmee is legal enough for him to hump her leg (if you don’t know, don’t ask); and Edward and Bella can continue to lounge in the sun sans-sparkles (?), amongst the always-in-bloom flowers of the field, and lovingly gaze into each others’ red eyes forever. And not do much else because, you know, vampires have it made.
So the filmmakers must have thought the same thing the readers of that book did; wait, all of that massive build up for it to all just go away, with every loose end sweetly tied up in a bow? That’s it? Nah, we’ve go to give them something for their trouble, end this thing with a bang. We’ve been talking for four movies about how awesome it is to be a vampire, except all they do is lay around like eternally horny teenagers and suck face. We gotta show that they can kick ass when needs be! But they should have watched `80s-era Dallas to know that the dream-sequence-as-explanation is a bad idea. This bait-and-switch is so hilarious in its execution that the audience audibly responded with a group “Whaaaa?!” when it was revealed to be the cheat it was. To say nothing of the rest of the film…
In the book, baby Renesmee is much more cognizant than an infant should be. To present this, the most hilarious CGI is on display to portray an infant capable of emoting. She looks almost as bad as the cross-eyed deadness we’ve come to expect from motion-capture, except funny. Strangely, they continue this effect well into her older years, which makes her laughably silly-looking for about half of the film. Then the effect created to show just how fast a vampire can move is equally comedic. Imagine a dour, pale-faced, puffy-shirt wearing Emo vampire wildly running in place while blurry scenery rushes by behind them, and you’ll get an idea of the hilarity imbued in a good portion of the action sequences. To say nothing of the other changes made to the movie from the book…
The crux of the conflict is that a messenger basically gets the wrong idea about Renesmee and reports this flawed assumption back to her superiors. Yes; this whole thing could have been cleared up with her asking a single question. In the book, she is purposefully deceitful and seeking revenge. But here, silly teenage misunderstanding is more than enough motivation for a silly teenage drama.
Additionally, Bella as a human was a bit of a cold fish. Awkward, sullen and klutzy, she bonds with another walking pity-party, social pariah Edward. She only really comes into her own and gets a family and friends after she changes who she is completely; becoming SuperBella! Augmented with abilities she didn’t even have in the book to some unexplained Nth degree, she leaves her old life behind (complete with her barely-there high-school friends and even her family). She only really comes alive through her relationship with Edward. There’s nary a human to be found in this installment, as her relationship with her flesh-and-blood father is quickly dispensed with, in a blissfully ignorant shrug of his shoulders at her predicament.
It seems fitting that the best part of this movie is fake since this was an Event waiting to happen. Even with the merchandizing machine that is Twilight, what’s it really about? You would think that we were witnessing the end of an era, they way the credits were played out; giving a full screen nod to each and every character – even both Victorias!. Twilight was now somehow Casablanca, Gone With The Wind and The Godfather rolled into one. This was history, here! No; but it is history now, and thankfully so. It was all too easy for me spit out that wad of spent nonsense and leave it behind since it signified a whole lot of nothing.