By Tim Posada, 11/21/2012
After five grueling years, we can finally put these abysmal films to bed (until the remakes, spin-offs and sequels). Love or hate Stephanie Meyer’s wildly popular book series, there’s no denying the inferiority of this cinematic trash. I know, I know, you’ll hear that “Breaking Dawn Part 2” is a vast improvement, but come dawn’s final break, there’s little point: less bad is still bad.
Remember when Bella (Kristin Stewart) was near death? Well, she’s fine now and better than ever. She’s got the red eyes to prove it. Enjoying her newfound vamp abilities, Mrs. Bella Cullen spends most of the film learning to curb her desire for the other, other white meat, trying to not to feed on the pasty folks of Forks, Washington (since most of the Native Americans are apparently werewolves). And then there’s wolf boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who’s very protective of Bella and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) newly-born daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). In a Freudian dilemma, wolfy imprints on her (it’s a wolf thing), thus he’ll always watch over her, and one day marry her. Sound creepy? It is.
Adding more lube to this blockbusting soap opera, the Volturi — the undead governing body of the world — learns of this child, but mistakes her for a threat that requires violent resolution. The Cullen gang have little time to convince various vamp relatives to serve as witnesses or unite as a small army to save this human/vampire child (yawn).
In a trite attempt to go big, “Breaking Dawn” introduces a slew of new characters, all of which prove more interesting than the film’s leads. And even with all these fresh faces, nothing actually happens during the film’s near two-hour running time. Worse than the lack of storyline is the final showdown; for a flick with a $120 million budget, most primetime television has crisper visuals. From performance to production, it’s all so cheap.
I truly wanted to enjoy these films. I even remained optimistic, hoping the series would learn from the mistakes of each prior installment, but the filmmakers’ lack of effort is uncomfortably clear. In their effort to milk five films, Summit Entertainment, producer Meyer (who has no background in film) and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg forget to include plotlines. They should’ve taken tips from “The Vampire Diaries” on The CW –– that is hamming it up along with the right amount of intrigue, moral complexity and narrative movement. Sadly, “Breaking Dawn Part 2’s” fangless vampires rarely do more than brood.
The most interesting moment in the film is a unique glance between pseudo-siblings (meaning they’re a surrogate family formed because of their vamp-ness, no blood ties), Edward and Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene). In that brief moment, I imagine an entirely different film where they’re actually lovers scouring the world in a “Bonnie and Clyde” story of vamp angst. In this story, they battle the Voltari for the sake of all “nosferatukind”. In place of Bella and Jacob, we learn about far more interesting characters, like the Cullen family and all their friends, who do more than flirt and tell cliché stories about historic wars fought.
In this version of “Breaking Dawn”, there’s no narration to condescendingly tell us what’s going on in the protagonists’ heads because we can clearly see it based on performers’ acting abilities. Most importantly, this alternative “Dawn” incorporates more characters into the story because they add layers, not because they were in the book and the Twi-hards would revolt if their faves didn’t at least get a minute of face time.
Sadly, that didn’t happen because this is a franchise built on cowardice, not quality. I can handle sparkling vampires, poor graphics and the ridiculous Hot Topic outfits apparently all children of night sport. What I can’t take is sans energy acting coupled with minimal plotline. This is what happens when an adaptation becomes a slave to the source but forgets to capture the spirit of the work that made it popular in the first place.
“Breaking Dawn Part 2” truly goes down as some of the laziest filmmaking of 2012. This is a lesson in how to construct a film around hype, since fans will see it based on their love of the source material, not its actual merit (“50 Shades of Grey” take notes). The title alone will make it a hit. If only Twi-hards truly loved Meyer’s books enough to expect more from their adaptations. Alas, I take some joy in the calm before the next “Twilight” storm. We’ll at least have two years off before the powers that be do something else with this franchise. Until next time, I end with this: vampires might suck human blood, but “Breaking Dawn Part 2” just sucks.