Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 (SPOILERS)

Who the fuck is this?
Major spoilers ahead.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the year's bravest piece of storytelling. More than any other movie, it throws out all storytelling conventions completely. Tired tropes like "characters making rational decisions," "conflict," and "an ending" are eschewed in favor of its own brand of vampires-having-conversations entertainment.

When we last saw Bella, she'd recently become a vampire to keep from being eaten by her vampire/human baby, fathered by Edward and metaphorically peed on by Jacob to mark her as his property. Or something.

A scene early in the movie sets the tone. Jacob and Bella are getting in a shouting match over who owns her Gollum-like CGI baby, and it's looking like Bella might kill Jacob. Edward is just hanging back like "hey, don't worry about it, everything will turn out okay."

Then, here's where the story abandons what some would say is a defining feature of any plot: conflict. Because Edward was right. Everything actually turns out okay.




Try to think of any other movie where that happens. Where characters are put in a potentially dangerous situation, but then they work it out, and everything goes better than expected. There are no tough choices, no consequences to actions, no suffering, no sacrifices. They just talk it out, and everyone is happy. This theme carries throughout the movie.

Mind you, there is a lot of promise of conflict. After abandoning the "characters making rational choices" principal, the Cullens decide that the best way to convince one bad guy that their kid is harmless is to travel the world and convince seventeen other evil vampires to be "witnesses" that will have a big sleepover and hopefully influence the one bad guy when he shows up.

???
Oh, and all these vampires have mutant superpowers b-t-dubs. And each gets a few minutes of screen time so they are almost real characters. Seventeen loaded Chekhov's guns just waiting to unleash their cool powers and/or tragically get killed off.

Luckily, they don't need to. The plan works. Everything goes better than expected.

End movie.

Ok wait, it's not that simple. There's also Alice, whose superpower is "seeing the future." I put that in quotes, because throughout the movies I can't recall her future visions actually coming true. It's more like speculating about one possible future. Most humans have this superpower too, except they call it "a vivid imagination."

Anyway, Alice has her own plan, which is to disappear for most of the movie then show up out of nowhere at the end with a character that has never been even mentioned before, who demonstrates that the kid is harmless, and convinces the bad guys to go away even though they were kinda leaning that way anyway.

Her plan works.

End movie.

That's the story. Literally none of the setup matters at all except to explain plans that went off without a hitch. None of the vampires actually use their superpowers. Jacob's imprinting thing only leads him to growl once in a while. Nothing bad happens except some rather tense conversations. The bad guys get away. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Ok wait, there is one more twist.

Apparently the filmmakers were like "seriously Stephanie Meyer? Seriously? You forgot to write a real ending after putting people through four fucking books of this?" So they wrote their own ending, then show it to us through Alice's power of imagination.

What results is, seriously, one of the greatest action sequences in recent memory. The previous two hours of setup actually pay off. Relationships matter, characters die due to poor decisions and sacrifices, bad guys get what they deserve, and heads are awkwardly removed. The best part of the entire saga was not actually a part of the plot.

That is brave filmmaking. Because where else will you find a five-movie series where the best part is a tacked-on dream sequence that wasn't even in the book? The creators of Breaking Dawn pulled a reverse George Lucas. They saw that Greedo shooting first (or you know, nobody shooting at all) was a terrible idea and preemptively fucked with their own movie to make it better.

Bravo, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Bravo.

3 comments:

Nikki Adams said...

I don't have a clue who that girl is in that first poster?? Was I high or something? Is that their baby all grown up?

Phronk said...

She was one of the Irish ones maybe? Or with the dracula ones? IDFK

Kcarmichael said...

She was Maggie from the Irish group of vampires