Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Ghoul Versus The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Previously on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1...

Director Rob Condon opened the Gates of Hell to give us this abomination of all that is good and holy in the world: Renesmee. Also, what can laughingly be called the narrative of Twilight started smoking meth and doing bath salts while shooting up with Edward's favourite drug, heroin. It only gets worse from here folks. Let's rip the head off The Twilight Saga once and for all as it's time for A Ghoul Versus The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2!

The movie opens with a LOT of landscape footage porn as we all anxiously await Bella to start narrating another emo poem she wrote in the sixth grade. And wait. And wait... Jesus, did I throw in Prometheus by mistake? We cut to a lot of closeups of Bella's face and eyes as she... looks around. THRILLING!  Edward starts talking to her- BULLSHIT! Where is my endless boring narration by Bella “I Live Up My Own Ass” Swan?! We're not even five minutes in yet and I'm already pissed off. I wanted to see a TWILIGHT movie, not whatever the hell this is.

Bella finally remembers she has a daughter, but Edward won't let her see Renesmee until she goes hunting first to keep her thirst in check. Some TERRIBLE special effects follow of Bella being awesome as it slowly dawns on me the theme of this movie is going to be “LOOK HOW TOTES AWESOME STEPHENIE MEYER- I MEAN BELLA IS!”. She does kill a mountain lion with her bare hands, but that's the best they got? Why not an entire PACK of mountain lions? Come on Breaking Dawn, we need to see how AMAZING Bella is every three seconds or this movie isn't going to be realistic.

They return home, Bella surprised to see Jacob is still there. She's even more surprised when Jacob tells the two vampires how great they look together. Oh just you wait Bella, you don't even KNOW surprised yet. She goes inside to meet her Satanspawn and- AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! It's more horrifying than ever!  Satanspawn touches Bella's face, which gives Bella a flash of the baby's first memory. We learn the baby also has mutant powers, because Super Awesome Bella could NEVER just give birth to a lame ass normal vampire. That'd be stupid!

Jacob finally drops the bombshell about his GROSS, GROSS VIOLATION of Megan's Law, so Bella drags him outside to... hmm. I'm not sure, she's like raising her voice and saying words real loud. I think it's called “yelling” but Kristen Stewart is so fucking terrible at it I'm probably wrong. Jacob stammers through an explanation that all he wants is for Satanspawn to be safe and happy, but I'm pretty sure I saw his fingers crossed the entire time.

That night the Cullens present Bella with her “birthday” present: a big ass house they built in the woods for the newlyweds. This scene is important because there was almost kind of something going on in the movie, we actually had scenes that sort of flowed together to create cohesive storytelling that feels completely out of place in a Twilight movie. A tedious and lifeless scene of Edward and Bella having sex thankfully restores us back to the status quo as the movie loses ANY steam it had going on at this point.

It is flat out AMAZING how fast the movie quickly falls apart, and we're not even twenty minutes in yet. There's a pointless subplot with Jacob telling Charlie about the supernatural world that's been going on right under his nose, but it's only noteworthy for how embarrassed the actor playing Charlie now seems to be. You can tell he just wants to GTFO out of this franchise once and for all, and just rushes through all of his lines. Ladies and gentlemen, the face of a man who does not give a FUCK.

Because they wasted so much of Breaking Dawn's story on the wedding, the film goes FULL MONTAGE to speed things up. Renesmee goes from infant to a little girl in a very short amount of time, which is a really neat way of sparing Super Awesome Bella from having to deal with any of the things having a newborn baby usually entails. Lucky her!  Irina, the bitchy vampire from the last movie played by Maggie Grace, spots Satanspawn out in the woods one day. Bella fires up the worst running special effects I've ever seen to track her down, but Irina easily escapes and goes to the Volturi to rat out the Cullens. See, one of the major vampire laws is- hold on a second.

Caius, one of the Volturi, finally gets more than a second of screen time and damn if he doesn't look mightily familiar. Where have I-OH GOOD GOD NO! Jamie Campbell Bower of The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones.  Well, congratulations Mr. Bower, you've now been in two of the worst Young Adult Movie adaptions ever made!  Right, so one of the major vampires laws is DON'T TURN KIDS.  This triggers a vision in Alice, who sees the Volturi are coming for them for committing this crime even though everyone knows it's just a guise so they can finally be rid of the Cullens once and for all. Bella tries to point out that Satanspawn was born and not bitten, so she isn't a true Vampire Child (or “Immortal Child” as they call them here).

Edward shoots this down by saying Aro has all the evidence he'll need from reading Irina's mind to strike. Jacob wants to fight, but Edward cooks up a plan they'll get a bunch of vampires all over the world to witness Satanspawn growing which will be enough to overrule the Volturi... or something. This actually all makes sense, but since the movies did a horrible job on establishing what exactly the Volturi are it just seems silly.

As far as we've seen this is the ENTIRE Volturi, plus two extra goons that sometimes pop up whenever someone's head needs torn off. In New Moon they're said to be like a royal family, but that's about it. Are they actually the rulers of all vampires? If so, how does it all work?  It's around this time Alice and Jasper take off for mysterious reasons, although I suspect Alice had to work on memorizing her lines for The Apparition and Jasper had to get ready to star in... Cowgirls 'N Angels?!? Sadly though it appears Jackson Rathbone didn't nail his performance as he wasn't invited back for the blockbuster sequel. Poor, poor Jackson. Missed the boat on that gravy train!

Where was I? Oh joy, Bella's narrating again. The Cullens go on a worldwide tour, trying to sway as many vampires as they can to their cause. They spend a LOT of time doing this, making me actually shocked they didn't attempt to stretch this into THREE movies because ALL OF THIS IS FILLER. All of it. We get scene after scene of the Cullens traveling to different countries and recruiting to the most unimaginative stereotypical characters possible. I'm just bummed there were no African tribesmen or Japanese ninja stereotypes. Are you even TRYING anymore, Twilight?

This sets the stage for our next “It's Twilight, Time For Another WTF Moment" as all of the vampires settled down at the Cullen house. Most of these vampires are not “vegetarians” like their hosts, Bella telling Jacob they've agreed not to kill humans in the area. Jacob points out they'll just hunt elsewhere, but then shrugs his shoulders like “Oh well, who fucking cares?”. Yes, because that's EXACTLY what Jacob's character has been established as being the last two movies. He was ready to kill all the Cullens just for aiding Bella turning into a vampire when it was her own choice, but now widespread murder of humans takes a seat to his wildly inappropriate new relationship.

Reels upon reels of more filler footage of both sides preparing for the confrontation follows and at this point I am FIGHTING to stay awake. I gave Eclipse A LOT of crap for being almost completely pointless, but this... God. I'm running out of ways to scream “THIS ISN'T A MOVIE!” after enduring scene after scene of padding.  Later (I have no idea of a timespan anymore) Bella finds a note from Alice that leads her to Mr. Jenks, a lawyer in Seattle. He gives Bella an envelope containing forged documents for Jacob and Renesmee, which leads Bella to believe Alice has had a vision that she and Edward will fall in the upcoming battle. Yeah okay, I TOTALLY believe Edward and Bella are going to die at the end. SUSPENSE! They spend Christmas with Charlie to prolong the story out some more while Jacob gazes at Renesmee with all the power of Pedobear.

What are they telling Renesmee about him at this point, now that she's smart enough to understand things? “Oh, this is just our good family friend who is one day going to start thinking about you in a sexual nature!”. That'll make for the most awkward birds and the bees talk since... well, the last one Twilight did.  At this point even awkwardness would be appreciated as opposed to NOTHING. Out of all the films I've reviewed, this is BY FAR the most boring. It's been over half an hour of people standing around and talking. Sitting and talking. Driving and talking. Talking and talking and talking. I'm so glad they introduced TWENTY NEW CHARACTERS at the last minute so they could stretch this out as far as possible by giving them chunks of screen time. We so care, we really really do.

FINALLY the Volturi show up and HOLY SHIT they're rocking an army! Probably should have showed us something like this much, much earlier in the series.  Regardless this means more Aro, so at least THIS will be somewhat enjoyable. Aro reads Edward's mind, learning the truth about Satanspawn. He asks to meet her, Bella bringing her daughter over to the only reason to EVER watch Twilight. Aro gives the GREATEST CACKLING LAUGH IN HISTORY as he hears Renesmee's heart beating, and it's so comforting to know at least one person had fun making this movie.  Seriously, this laugh is completely worth sitting through the entire movie to hear.  I can just picture Sheen laughing his arse off the second the cameras stopped rolling.

Aro reads her mind, declaring she is not an Immortal Child to the rest of the Volturi. Caius calls for Irina to be brought forward, and has her head and arms fucking ripped off! GODDAMN! Irina's sisters try to attack the Volturi in retaliation, but Edward stops them so a fight doesn't break out because NOTHING is allowed to happen in this movie. Not that a fight would be even remotely entertaining based off the battle choreography of the franchise, but at least it'd mean people MOVING instead of talking.

Jane tries to use her powers to inflict pain on Edward, but Bella deflects it with her power dampening ability. Oh, I forgot to mention it turns out Bella has the ability to negate any vampire power because she's Super Awesome. She had this even when she was human, which is why Edward was never able to read her mind. So not only are there vampires and werewolves in the Twilight universe, there's mutants too because Stephenie Meyer is NOT making this all up as she goes along. I repeat, Stephenie Meyer is NOT making this up as she goes along.

Aro's not giving up though, changing tact and saying Renesmee is too dangerous to their kind to live. Alice and Jasper suddenly reappear, Alice saying she has proof contrary to this. She gives Aro her hand, but then realizes he's going to kill everyone no matter what he's shown. Aro has his men grab Alice because she's the thing he was referring to at the end of the last movie, as he wants her unique ability for his coven. Carlisle tries to stop him, but Aro RIPS HIS BLOODY HEAD OFF! HOLY SHIT! The movie turns into Lord of the Rings as both sides rush each other and the battle is on!

Heads are getting severed right and left in the most violent ways possible as I reflect this series began about some stupid high school girl and her bullshit relationship drama. How far we've come. One of the good vampires, who I'm going to call Avatar the Last Airbender because he has elemental powers, opens a rift in the ground that is so deep we can see magma as vampires and wolves start falling in. The main Volturi join the fight next, first up is Caius. It doesn't go well for him. He dies is one of the most graphic murders ever captured on screen as he gets the top of his head RIPPED OFF. FUCKING SHIT! Mother of God, if all preteen romance movies were this violent the horror genre would be out of business! Seriously, did they think this is something a bunch of twelve year olds wanted to see?!?

Marcus, the other of the Volturi Big Three, is the next to fall so Aro sets foot onto the field. Now it's time for the real boss fight! ...or not, Bella and Edward tag team him and decapitate him in like a few seconds. You know, back when I first started watching this series I never thought “Bella literally tears someone's head off” would ever come into play, but here we are.  Bella sets his body on fire and then- huh? Aro lets go of Alice's hand looking horrified? Did they just- no, they wouldn't... OMFG they did. THAT ENTIRE FIGHT SCENE WAS JUST A VISION IN ALICE'S HEAD SHE SHOWED ARO.

I can't believe it. Twilight did it! They- they actually just did that. This is the point where I began to actually RESPECT this franchise for how much it does NOT give fuck one. It's been four movies of nonstop cliches and horrible writing, and in every movie you got the hints that no one really cared they just wanted to crank these things out on a yearly basis to bring in jaw dropping amounts of money. But this... this is just SPECTACULAR.

There is no mass battle fakeout in the book. Alice never shows Aro a vision of the future, the vampires just stand around and talk. And talk. And talk. The film makers probably realized they had just made one of the most boring and pointless movies in HISTORY so they had to do something, anything, to reward the people that were still awake in the theater at this point. I guess they felt sorry for torturing countless boyfriends and husbands the past four movies so threw them a bone with some horrific video game violence because that's all guys care about apparently.

I can think of no other reason for what we just saw. That's not to say women don't love gratuitous violence as much as men do, but again, think of the TARGET AUDIENCE of these movies.  They paid to see the “epicer than epic” love story between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, not cranked up violence that would totally fit in with something like Saw or 300. It seems though even Twilight isn't immune from the “All Fantasy Movies Targeted For Young Adults Must Now End With Mass Violence” syndrome that has infested Hollywood lately. This bizarre phenomenon will be covered in depth later on as I have another themed review series in the works.

Edward asks if they can prove Renesmee will remain hidden from the human world if the Volturi will leave them alone. Caius replies yes, but it's impossible to prove that. Alice is all “Don't go there boyfriend!” and snaps her fingers, causing two more vampires to appear out of nowhere.  One reveals he's half human/half vampire just like Renesmee and has been alive 150 years with no incidents. Caius, determined to win this pissing match, now points out the Cullens have been consorting with werewolves but even Aro's like “Just let it go dude!” and they all leave. That's your climax everyone, a movie that was all about people standing around and talking ends with people standing around and talking.

Bella and Edward wind up in their meadow as we learn Super Awesome Bella has also gained Renesmee's power to give Edward a montage of the past- seven? I think it's been seven movies? It sure FELT like seven- movies plays set to Christina Perri's “A Thousand Years”, which I now realize is the most appropriate song title of ALL TIME. She tells Edward “Nobody's ever loved anybody as much as I love you”. They start kissing and the scene transitions to the last page of the Breaking Dawn book. Sadly the camera doesn't pan out to Bastian reading the page, looking up at the camera and saying “That fucking SUCKED!”.


It is so perfect the Twilight Saga ended with THE single oldest copout in the history of all fiction: it was all a dream. The first four movies were all terrible but this one makes them look... well, still terrible in comparison but NOT AS TERRIBLE.  The first three movies are reprehensible for their story content and disturbing implications, but at least you can criticize them for an ATTEMPT at a story. The Breaking Dawn movies are 100% DEVOID of a story, they are just totally straightforward scenes with nothing happening, no characterization, no subtext, nothing.

-Bella and Edward get married and go on their honeymoon
-Bella get pregnant, gives birth, and becomes a vampire
-The Volturi come to kill everyone but then don't. The End!

Now I'm aware you can boil down ANY movie like that, for example here's The Dark Knight given the same treatment:

-The Joker terrorizes Gotham
-Batman stops him. The End!

However, in The Dark Knight they actually played with the novel concept of letting us GET TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS. We saw them having to deal with the various situations they were placed in, the morality of it all, and what they'd have to do to resolve them.  When Bella gets pregnant, does she her discuss it with Edward? Does she express any kind of concern or fear for her unborn child? Does Edward show a hint of remorse than he wants to abort his child to save the life of his wife? No, it's all just... nothing. Everything in this film is nothing. Show the scene, don't bother to make it real with any kind of reaction to it.

This is a series that inspired so much hate and mockery, something I've discussed in the past that usually happens when a film gets too big and popular. The difference here versus so many other movies, it EARNED it. It deserves it. Each five of these movies are among some of the worst I've ever seen, and I commend them for each earning my scorn in their unique way.

Twilight was a horribly unconvincing love story. New Moon was the tale of a sociopath manipulating a man for her amusement. Eclipse was flat out fucked up with its positive endorsement of abusive relationships and sexual assault. Breaking Dawn Part 1 was slit-my-wrists boring and Breaking Dawn Part 2 was tear-off-my-own-head boring.  Add liberal dashes of shitty, SHITTY acting, special effects that would have been embarrassing in the 1960s, sets that looked like a low budget soap opera, and these movies sink even lower. I am not criticizing Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote all five movies, for the story and dialogue because she stayed fiercely true to the books for the most part. It's very strange when you contend for “Most Loyal Book Adaption EVER” and that's quite possibly the worst thing about your movie.

As I brought up during my review of Stephenie Meyer's The Host, she has A FEW issues when it comes to relationships. She loves her bland yet somehow perfect heroines that hottie hot hottie men trip over themselves to fawn on, and fuck EVERYTHING ELSE like story or characterization or even common sense. Especially common sense.  I picture someone who grew up on classic romance stories, but just like Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character in 500 Days Of Summer kind of missed the point of a lot of them and took the wrong lessons to heart. Or maybe she's just a hack writer that loves money and knows her legions of rabid up fans will buy anything with Edward Cullen in it. That's all just speculation on my part of course, but when I see Edward dominating Bella's life or Jacob forcing himself on Bella and then laughing about it I really, REALLY start wondering.

That is Twilight in a nutshell, really. Scene after scene of totally fucked up behaviour and actions mixed in with mind numbing boredom for TEN HOURS. You know what though? I ABSOLUTELY recommend watching them all if you've never seen them before. Don't watch them back to back like I did lest you risk your sanity, space them out over the span of a few weeks at least.  These are fascinating movies, a product of their time and culture more than anything.  I was constantly amazed to see the movies consistently hit new lows as I realized they were among the most popular things of ALL TIME. Over five billion dollars in book, movie, and merchandise sales. Just think about that. The future leaders of the world grew up with this prominently in their lives... I can't even imagine what ramifications this will hold down the road.

One quick positive: Michael Sheen as Aro OWNED the movies he was in. It is literally worth enduring the hell of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn Part 2 just to see him have some of the most PURE FUN ever captured on film outside of Al Pacino in Scarface. Scenery chewing is often looked down upon as a negative thing, Mr. Sheen just made it into an all new art form.  A blissful, blissful art form.

I believe that's everything I have to say about the Twilight phenomenon that bafflingly took over the world for a few years.  Sadly this wasn't as enjoyable as when I looked at The Prophecy films but my A Ghoul Versus Film Franchises can't all be winners I suppose. I'm sure the next film series I'm going to review will be a good one thou- OH GOOD GOD.  MOTHERFUCKER.