I’ve just seen five Twilights in the span of 24 hours. I’m tired, I’m weak and I’m punchy. So cognizance and lucidity are out the window for this one. I just want to make sure that’s clear, as this is less of a review and more me just wanting to document where exactly I was the precise moment my mind when away.
“Show, don’t tell” is a popular adage seasoned writers like to imbue on those brave souls just starting to hone their craft. It took four books, five films and legions of misguided fans for Stephenie Meyer to tell us she’s not very good at showing.
You know who else isn’t good at showing? Bella Swan. As Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 attempts to put the pieces of her broken womb back together after her husband ate a baby out of it. If Part 1 was the pinnacle of this series’ predisposition to bizarre storytelling, Part 2 is the comedown, concluding the franchise on… a note, neither high nor low – mostly just flat.
I get it, Twilight‘s been hated on for so long it’s become cliché at this point. But bad movies is bad movies is bad movies. The last entry wasn’t high art, but it was fun in the way trainwreck cinema is supposed to be. If Breaking Dawn Part 1 was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s buldging, muscular mountain of Julius, Part 2 is Danny DeVito’s Vincent, aka the leftover crap. Stephenie Meyer is saying “Okay, you’ve had your fun, your snorkling, your freaksex and your pillow feathers. Now sit and watch while I wrap this up.”
But, save for a few fleeting moments of bugfuckery (and a glorious final battle), wrapping it up proves pretty boring (IF ONLY Edward adhered to wrapping it up, we’d have been spared Renesmee). There are a few scenes that match Condon’s OG schlock masterpiece. Bella eats a live bobcat, Jacob strips down naked in front of Bella’s dad to prove a point, and a baby’s limbs get torn off right before it’s thrown into a fire. There’s even a scene where Edward gives Jacob his blessing to romance his seven month old. Jacob responds by asking “Can I call you dad?”But there’s a lot of exposition in between these grand moments of ridiculous.
It reads like Meyer jotted a list of every vampire idea she’d ever had and used Breaking Dawn to mindpoop them into existence. New vampires come from all over the world to bear witness to Renesmee not being an immortal child. In the film, Imortal Children are vampires who were turned in youth and trapped in an adolescent state. These children pose a threat to the Volturi (think enclave of drum majors at an all-goth high school) who come to Forks to face off this growing insurgency and judge Renesmee.
In Twilightverse, every vampire gets an X-Men power. Meaning Edward can read minds, Alice (Ashley Greene) can see the future, Kate (Casey LaBow) shoots sparks, Kellan Lutz can crush almonds with his glutes, and Bella can project shields. Much of the movie is an extended montage of vampires showing these powers off and gearing up for the Volturi onslaught. And Jacob and Renesmee are there as well. Renesmee’s face is almost entirely CG for the duration of the running time. You could switch her out with the freak baby from Splice and not miss a beat. Taylor Lautner, who is trying really hard and seems like a genuinely nice guy in interviews, gives a performance not dissimilar to pouring wet cement onto a screen and goading the audience into watching it dry.
The ending is the real reason to see the film, as Condon takes Meyer’s conclusion and tries to throw everything and the kitchen sink at it to wring some life out of it. A climatic showdown that (spoiler alert) is revealed to be neither climactic nor an actual showdown, sadly it’s all a vision telepathically passed from one sparklepire to another. But while we’re in the thick of it Condon bestows upon us one of the finer gifts of 2012: Head Poppin’ Medley.
Head poppings are this year’s throat rips. So many heads get popped off in five minutes you’d think the economy was going through a head shortage and concerned citizens were trying to stock up. For theatregoers anticipating seeing Dakota Fanning’s head get torn off by a wolf, Breaking Dawn 2 is the only game in town. It has the market cornered on merry head poppings. Merry. Merry Poppings. Poppins. Head Poppins. Mary Poppins! I want a Popsicle. A Head Popsicle.
Did I just uncover a massive conspiracy involving Twilight’s connection to Julie Andrews’ iconic nanny? Or has watching 10+ hours of Twilight movies put me in a psychotropic-like hallucinatory state where up is down and Stephenie Meyers just won the election? The election to decide who, in all the land, is the prettiest princess? Unfortunately the series concludes on neither a bang nor a whimper, more of a quiet, prolonged fart that gets lost to wind and perspective. If you’re game for a challenge, the ending dazzles. But getting there is trying, and has been for several years.
(Head Popsicle Sticks out of 5)