OMGZ TEAM EDWARD IZ DA BEST! No, I’m just kidding. Could you imagine if I were like that?
Before I get started praising and bashing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, you should know that I have a complicated relationship with Twilight. The first book came out while I was in high school, and the final book came out when I was in my first years of college, so I was in the hormonally-crazed target demographic. Because the idea of a sexy, romantic, and overbearingly protective (possessive, more like) vampire was a much better alternative to the guy I was dating at the time, I read all of Stephenie Meyer’s books and saw all of the movies several times.
When I say I have a complicated relationship, I mean it. I am both fascinated and disgusted by the books and movies alike. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which is worse. The books are written in an eighth-grade level prose, throughout which Meyer inconsistently and unnecessarily throws in words like “chagrin” or refers to a Jane Austen novel to remind you that she has a degree in English literature. The stories are told in a similarly juvenile manner from the perspective of one of the most boring and co-dependent “shell characters” I have ever had the displeasure of imagining. Although the movies get slightly away from the shell character, they unfortunately continue the juvenility with even cheesier dialogue performed by equally annoyed actors.
While reading and watching these stories, however, I was admittedly captivated, even in full awareness of how head-shakingly bad the stories were. That’s where my fascination came into play. How is it that a book that I know is awfully written can be so interesting? Is it actually interesting, or is there something that is tricking me into thinking I like it? Well, I think it’s the latter.
Meyer knows the intensity and obsession that everyone experiences with their first love, to which we can all relate. And because of that, you can’t help but keep reading these books and watching these movies, wondering what kind of crazy, idiotic shit the character (I refuse to call Bella a heroine because she does nothing to deserve that title) will do next. It’s the same reason half of you watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. It’s not intelligent. It’s not groundbreaking. It’s just a redneck family doing stupid shit, and yet you eat that shit up. The only difference with Twilight is that it’s a dumbass teenager, a vampire, and a wolf instead of a redneck family. We can discuss how this type of media is dumbing down our society forever, but let’s talk about the movie instead.
The one thing I remember liking about Breaking Dawn in comparison to the other books was that we FINALLY get to see Bella with a more mature personality. Becoming a mother and a vampire made her braver, more powerful, more resistant to other people making decisions for her, and somewhat of a sexy badass. Rather than lip-bite through the entire story and gush about how beautiful Edward is or how much she misses Jacob, she tries to protect her family and friends. It wasn’t the writing, itself, that had gotten better with Breaking Dawn, but somehow you could tell that Stephenie Meyer felt more comfortable writing this story because she had a better knowledge of this particular Bella (because she, herself, is an adult, a wife, and a mother).
Thankfully, that was translated to the screen. Watching Bella beat the shit out of Jacob while shouting at him for imprinting on her baby was hilarious and awesome. Hell, I was even cheering when she stopped Jane’s power from hurting Edward and when she ripped Aro’s head off in the fight against the Volturi. This was the Bella I wanted to see throughout the entire series, not the selfish, whining, obsessive lip-biter.
And I think we can all agree that Kristen Stewart acting as a vampire is much better than Kristen Stewart acting as a human (which is odd, considering she’s a human…I think). The fact that she had to play a stoic, beautiful creature with sensual, motherly, and cold-blooded movements meant we didn’t have to watch her nervous tics for two hours.
Really, I can’t say the acting was any better than the other movies (because it wasn’t). But hey, at least we got a big battle sequence (a.k.a. the big “twist” everyone keeps talking about). It was badass, minus the cheesy CGI (which I’ll get to in a moment). I hate to spoil it for you, but the “twist” really isn’t a twist at all. I mean, it is a twist, but it technically isn’t because it was more a necessity to keep the movie from sucking. Wow, that told you nothing. Sorry, let me explain.
In the book, the Cullens and their allies meet up in the clearing with the Volturi and threats are shared…blah, blah, blah…Bella protects everyone with her mind-shield power, which freaks the Volturi out, and the Volturi realize a fight would be bad for them, so they leave. Extremely anti-climatic for a climax, right? Well, because Hollywood knows they have to keep your ass in the seat at the theater (and your boyfriend’s ass because, let’s be honest, he doesn’t want to go see a sparkly vampire romance unless some bitches die), they decided to add a battle sequence.
But here’s the trick—it doesn’t actually happen. INCEPTION! Wait, wrong movie. So Alice (Remember how she can see the future?) shows Aro, the leader of the Volturi, what will happen if he tries to fight the Cullens and their allies. And, unbeknownst to the audience that this is fake, some serious shit goes down. Carlisle dies, Seth dies, Leah dies, Jasper dies, Demetri dies, Alec dies, Jane dies (in the best comeuppance ever), Marcus dies, Caius dies…hell, practically everyone dies. And people in the audience at my theater freaking lost it watching this happen. But then, just kidding, it didn’t happen! It was one of those moments where you were kind of mad it didn’t actually happen because some of the deaths were gruesomely cool (like when Tanya rips a Volturi member’s head off by pulling his jaw apart), but then you were also a little relieved because watching little wolfy Seth die made you want to cry. It was a totally predictable twist, but it was definitely worth it.
What wasn’t worth it with this movie, however, was how ridiculously awful the pacing was. I understand that this movie picked up where Part 1 left off, and I expected to get thrown immediately into the story. But, honestly, I thought the pacing in this movie was terrible. I mean, the whole point of dividing an 800-page novel into two movies was to keep the story from feeling rushed. Breaking Dawn Part 1 built slowly on the rising tension of Bella’s pregnancy, ending in the climatic birth scene and leading us into Bella’s new life as a vampire. The director, Bill Condon, took time to develop Part 1, so that we could see the attachment Bella had to her unborn child and the strain it caused on her newlywed relationship with Edward.
Unlike Part 1, this movie was just like WHOOSH! (Yeah, it sounded just like that). One minute, we’re watching Bella learn to be a vampire; the next, the Volturi are on their way. The fast pace of Renesmee’s development makes sense because she grows very quickly, and I know that Bella is supposed to acclimate to vampire life fairly easily, but it still felt rushed. I’m not sure where to place the blame for this. Was it because the last half of the book speeds up so much more than the first half (I didn’t think it did when I read it), or is it because Melissa Rosenberg is a shitty screenwriter, who can’t write transitions to save her life (as was seen in her Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse screenplays)?
Speaking of Melissa Rosenberg, I’ve come to the conclusion that she is just awful at writing screenplays. Whenever you have a book-to-film adaptation, not only do you have the responsibility to do the book justice, but you also have the exciting challenge of making the book better. Stephenie Meyer handed over the rights to some of the most mediocre literature I’ve ever read, which means Melissa Rosenberg had the opportunity to craft better (if not at least more decent) dialogue and build more depth into the one-dimensional shell of Bella. And what did we get? One of the most memorable and mind-numbingly stupid lines of all time in Twilight: “You better hold on tight, Spider Monkey.” WTF, RIGHT?!
So you’d think after four movies and the constant demands of the fans to do a good job that Melissa Rosenberg would’ve stepped up her dialogue for Breaking Dawn Part 2, especially since Bella and Edward are parents now and not angsty teenagers. Well, spoiler alert…she didn’t. Despite the fact that maturity was now emulating in Bella’s behaviors, Rosenberg continued to write the same shitty dialogue she’s been writing for the last few movies. Her screenplays for the films remind me of my grandpa trying to use slang—it’s awkward, it sounds stupid, and I can’t help but roll my eyes.
How is it that Summit Entertainment can hire a different director for each film (except for Breaking Dawn, both parts of which were the same director), and those directors manage to be more cohesive than the screenwriter who’s written the screenplay for each film? I don’t get that. Perhaps when Summit heard people criticizing the movies for being terrible, they should’ve started by replacing Rosenberg with someone who has actual writing talent and doesn’t just add to the mess that Stephenie Meyer created.
Oh, god. And the f***ing CGI. I can’t even write about it without shaking my head. It was cheesy, if not laughable, throughout the entire movie. Did Summit spend all of their money trying to cover up Kristen Stewart’s cheating scandal? Like what the hell happened with the CGI?! You know it’s sad when the wolves look more realistic than the fight scenes. Some of the worst? Bella tackling the mountain lion, the near-flying in the fight sequence, and OH GOD, THE CREEPY BABY!
As I mentioned above, the whole point of Renesmee’s character is that she grows incredibly fast. I knew this was going to present a challenge to the studio. They found Mackenzie Foy, who I thought was the perfect little actress to play Renesmee (She was cute, charming, and she looked just like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson), but they decided to forego finding a different baby, toddler, and younger child to play Renesmee before Renesmee grows into the age played by Foy. So what did they do? They CGIed Foy’s face on a baby, on a toddler, on a younger child, and even on a teenager. It was creepy and so very obviously fake. I mean, it’s got to be difficult trying to show a child growing that quickly, but seriously…they couldn’t have done something better?
And don’t believe what anyone tells you about the “sex scenes” (AS IF they can call them that). PG-13 sex is lame. It was well-depicted, so it wasn’t awkward, but it lacked so much passion. Vampire sex is explained in the books as the best sex ever because no one gets tired or hungry or out of breath, and the pleasure is intense (so intense that Rosalie and Emmett are described to have broken a few houses in their romps). This is where the tween audience screws over what could’ve been a beautiful sex scene.
Overall, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen (nor is it the best filmed of the Twilight Saga films), but it finally gives us a chance to watch Bella mature, develop a personality, and distinguish herself beyond what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing throughout these films. The battle sequence, which is pretty awesome, will have fans cheering and gasping at the same time. If it weren’t for Bella’s development and the battle, however, this movie would fall entirely flat because of its jumpy pacing, laughable CGI, and dialogue that hasn’t matured since the first film. It’s not hard at all to overlook those elements and enjoy the movie on the screen, but it does make this a less than perfect conclusion to an already criticized saga.