02 December 2012

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

12. So that you don't make it all the way to the end and then get angry because you had hoped I was going to pan this, I'll lay everything out on the table right now.

I didn't hate it.

In fact, I even kind of liked it. =P

11. The opening credits won me over immediately. There was something about the imagery of a northern winter depicted in the Twilight palette of stark black, icy white and blood red that was just so arresting . . . and so stylishly done. I felt that the movie was going for real artistry--and the issue of whether or not Stephenie Meyer's source story deserved it seemed peripheral. 

10. But it's not peripheral, is it? It's important to be clear about what all this beauty is in the service of. Ironically, the answer is . . . not so pretty.

I can only call it the "rebranding" of vampirism as the perfect makeover that lasts forever. Or the ultimate superpower. Or a combination of both, really. And Breaking Dawn, Part 2 does it so well, that I find myself wanting to be a vampire, too.

9. So Bella turns and gets eternal beauty, enhanced physical and psychic abilities . . . and a ton of swag. It's really the swag I have an issue with.


It's even better looking on the inside.

You'd have to be blind to believe that the little cottage Bella and Edward move into isn't perfectly lovely. And if you really don't like the look of it, the collection of books already inside might yet change your mind. But for all that, it's not the best wedding present they could have received.

There is a John Wayne movie (or so I've been told) in which The Duke's character tells his engaged daughter that he will not leave his huge ranch to her and her husband-to-be, because he believes it would be the worst thing to do to them. He and his own wife, he explains, struggled for the better part of their marriage to build it together; and it is the struggle, and the refining of romantic love that comes with it, which he wants for his daughter's marriage. But Bella's own father is not allowed to be so wise, and her marriage never quite breaks out of the bubble of adolescent entitlement. It may seem odd to say this about a character who has arguably been through so much, but Bella has never actually worked for anything she has.

8. Given a protagonist with such a perfect and charmed life, how did Meyer ever come up with enough conflict to hang a plot on? It's simple, really: she pulled it out of thin air.

What happens is that a minor character sees Edward and Bella's daughter from afar and jumps to the conclusion that the Cullen coven have turned a human child into a vampire--which is forbidden by vampire law and punishable by execution. But instead of confronting them and learning the truth about Renesmee (Yes, you read that name right), she sneaks off to report them to a totalitarian governing body that she knows will punish anyone who commits that crime. And how contrived is that, really?

7. And if you thought the name Renesmee was bad . . . Another actress could have done so much more with the line, "You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?!?!" It could have actually been funny. But Kristen Stewart doesn't have a comical molecule in her body.

6. The cast is bulked up by the arrival of "witnesses" from all over the globe--friends of Carlisle Cullen who are willing to stand beside him at his "trial" and swear that no one in his coven would ever create an illegal "immortal child." Which is kind of unnecessary because it turns out that Renesmee has the ability to transmit her own memories to others--a gift the Cullens have known about from the very beginning. But Meyer isn't trying to win an award for logic, so never mind.

5. Neither will she win a medal for mythopoeia. Remember that little thing that always follows when "the ends of the earth are closing in"? (Hint: you read about it in my review of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.) Well, Meyer doesn't let it happen here--probably because it would get it the way of Bella's perfect life.

4. Then again, that's not quite accurate. Meyer does let it happen . . . only to take it back. Which is not cool. To explain why, however, would be a spoiler. (Let's rant in the combox, though, okay?)

3. Do you have any idea how happy I was during the big battle scene? It was almost cathartic. And besides that, watching Bella and Edward team up to take down the bad guy made me like them so much more as a couple. Every husband and wife should be able to battle evil like a pair of ninja ballerinas.

And now I'm brave enough to say that this entire action sequence is better filmed than a lot of the fight scenes in more "credible" Action movies. See what a difference keeping the camera steady can make?

2. My absolute favourite part was the ending--and I'm not being sardonic. There is a lovely montage of all the Twilight saga actors at the end: even those who didn't appear in this movie or in Breaking Dawn, Part 1 get credited in a way that makes their participation in the Twilight Saga seem special. And it's true (whether or not Bella herself ever believed it) that our lives are often richer because of the people who have come into it, whether they came as friend or foe. This montage is a wonderful gesture from director Bill Condon (who didn't even work on the first three movies) that shows just how much his vision outclasses Stephenie Meyer's.

1. As I've been saying for years, no matter how much you hate the Twilight movies, you have to love the music. Although I did not watch Breaking Dawn, Part 1, its flagship song, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri has become my favourite song of all time. And before I saw this movie, I couldn't imagine how its soundtrack was ever going to top it.

Then I heard it as a duet with Steve Kazee--also known as A Thousand Years, Part 2. =)


It starts @47:17 and it's beautiful


Okay, I'm ready to sing this to someone now. And while I'm at it, to become a vampire. For the Twilight rebranding is complete: vampirism is now also a metaphor for the transforming power of romantic love.

Weep with me, my friends, at how beautiful this travesty is . . .

Image Source: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 poster

4 comments:

Angie Tusa said...

I haven't seen the movie, as so far I've been able to watch the others for free and I'd like to keep doing that. But I can tell you that the fake out was not Meyer's design.

The screenwriter and Bill Condon are the ones who dreamed it up, because the book (as I understand it) has no real climactic battle at all, just a lot of build up then a peaceful ending. So it was a way to give the movie a proper climax while also not going against what happens in the book. Meyer did approve of the change though, so I guess you can partially blame her for it.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

That's interesting--and now that I think about it, not surprising. "A lot of build up then a peaceful ending" has been my experience with Meyer since the second book; and even while I was watching the battle unfold, I was thinking, "Wow! Meyer has never done this." (LOL!)

But I guess there's really no one to blame for the cop-out. =) My point about "the ends of the earth closing in" still stands--and actually stands more firmly, given that Meyer didn't even write in a fight. And I guess I should actually thank Condon for letting us have a battle, even given what happens next.

So you've seen Breaking Dawn, Part 1? What did you think of it? It's the only one I haven't watched yet--and believe it or not, I regret it now! =P

Angie Tusa said...

After two painfully boring films (I can't even remember what the proper order of New Moon and Eclipse is, because they are so non-essential to me) I found Breaking Dawn part 1 to be a drastic improvement.

Since I feel no emotional ties to this couple, watching their wedding was pretty boring, but once it got to the honeymoon, it became more interesting.

Some of it is in a "so bad it's hilarious" kind of way, but there's also a lot of really deep human concepts being explored. I'm not saying the film itself explores them fully, some of it is what you have to take away yourself and think about for a bit. But I'm actually glad I watched it, which is more than I can say for most of the previous films.

Oh, and while they did a fantastic job of making Kristin Stewart look really gaunt and near death, that scene was no where near as icky to watch as I expected it to be.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

The exploration of "deep human concepts" is exactly the sense I got from this movie--which really surprised me, given the first three and the two source novels I've read.

Okay, I'll watch Part 1. =)