| The Red Right Hand
THE TWILIGHT SAGA
Thank you! After increasingly positive reviews for the Twilight sequels, I can finally go back to ripping this shit to shreds. With its terrible direction, hammy acting and atrocious script, Twilight was pitiful escapist nonsense but at least it had great comedic value, Breaking Dawn on the other hand, is hopelessly boring. I cannot stress this enough, NOTHING HAPPENS! Making this final instalment a two-parter was probably the biggest mistake of the entire saga.
So after all the drama of the last three films, Bella Swan [Stewart] has set a date to be married to vampire Edward Cullen [Pattinson], on the condition he turn her into a vampire after their honeymoon. Naturally, this knowledge infuriates werewolf, Jacob Black [Lautner] who still feels that Bella is throwing her life away. The ceremony takes place, as does the honeymoon, shortly after which, Bella discovers she is somehow pregnant with a lethal immortal child that's growing at an exponential rate; fearing for Bella's life, Edward brings her home. As her condition deteriorates, the wolves plot on how to destroy the unholy abomination child with only Jacob and the Cullens standing in their way. See? See that? That's a neat breakdown of a simple fifty minute premise! You don't need two fucking hours to tell that! What we end up with is terrible structure and pacing, overly indulging in a forty minute wedding, forty minute honeymoon and forty minutes of actual plot.
Before I dissect this beast, let's quickly run over the positive elements. Carter Burwell's return was rather positive for me as I'm not only a fan of his work but his score is one of the only good things about the first instalment. Unfortunately, other than a nice return of the original theme, there's no real opportunity for him to stretch his legs and we're served up rather bland incidental music. As ever, Billy Burke as Bella's grumpy almost uncommunicative father is both a source of amusement and a light break from the pap churned out by the leads and Taylor Lautner still manages to come out with a fraction of credibility, despite the ridiculous set-ups and appalling dialogue. Finally, there's the gaunt/skinny CGI enhancement to give Bella that afflicted anorexic look, which was incredibly impressive throughout.
With that out of the way, it's time for a spoiler happy breakdown of the entire film, scene-by-scene. Before the wedding, Edward visits Bella to reveal some last minute details about his 'true nature' - having spent three films whining about it, you'd think he'd be out of examples. Despite the fact it's nicely filmed, the Edward flashback is nauseatingly stupid with refrains of "I'm a monster, Bella" only to be quickly batted away with the justification that because he was only taking the lives of murderers, it was perfectly acceptable. Then we get the first dream sequence - yep, first - which, I dunno, is supposed to show Bella's concerns about becoming a vampire. Standing at the altar, she looks back and notices the red petals scattered down the aisle are now in fact a river of blood, as she stands atop a pile of corpses like some grim cake decoration. As with all Twilight films it's impossible to read the facial expressions and emotive glances so fuck knows if she is supposed to be hurt, confused, scared, concerned, aroused or whatever by this. So the actual wedding takes place and it's littered with abysmal cliché nonsense, starting with Bella's apprehensive walk to the aisle, in which she looks like she's trying to hold off explosive diarrhoea. Then she sees him. Edward. At the altar. And the world makes sense and everything's good and she strides confidently and blergh. At this point we're probably about twenty or thirty minutes in and still waiting for the film to start. Instead the plot moves on to a rather embarrassing reception, littered with moronic speeches (granted, Billy Burke's was funny), outlandish dancing (vampires love to dance, foolish mortals), indecipherable expressions and Maggie Grace among the extras, she'll no doubt play a large role in the next part. Then Edward leads Bella into the woods for her wedding gift.. which turns out to be Jacob. This scene actually runs without incident until Bella subtly implies she's going to allow Edward to make love to her... I say "allow", she's been heavily pushing for this since the first film. Jacob becomes infuriated at the potential of vamp loving (seemingly more so than her opting to become a vampire, proving it's all about the sex) before being dragged off into the woods by his wolf buddies.
*pause to get my breath back*
I understand Rio de Janeiro as a honeymoon location, with the exotic nightlife sparkly boy could hideout and have a good time with his young bride. But then they take a boat to a private island. Which I sort of understand as well, maybe they're aiming for secrecy so he can be his sparkly self on some private beach. Right? Nope. Unlike the other films, there's not one sparkly diamond-skinned scene in this entire film, despite the fact they spend several weeks in South America, or as its better known 'the land of no sun'! But suddenly it doesn't matter and everything that came before becomes instantly irrelevant as you start to realise it's time for sex. After a lot of awkward shuffling and preparation, Bella and Edward finally get to rut to their heart's content. And it's fucking horrifying! I have a strict belief that sex scenes in films are always limited by the fact they can't show anything and as such they're usually unrealistic, badly filmed failures, or as I like to call them, "fleshy sadness piles". After all the abstinent-heavy subliminal messages and "I'll hurt you" speeches, they finally go at it and it's so fucking ecstatic that Edward rips the bed in half within the first two seconds, no doubt due to the fact that he's probably a premature ejaculator - cemented by Bella's condescending, "It's alright", a classic film cliché. The next morning, Bella awakes among the devastation and stares herself down in the mirror, remembering every second of their passionate night. Enter a moody Edward, who reveals the various bruises on Bella's body and refuses to penetrate her again as a human - which is actually quite funny. Their little holiday continues with a lot of chess playing (sexy, sexy chess) and walks in the jungle, which leads to the second dream sequence: Bella defeats Edward at chess and nails him on the beach. But wait! It was just a dream! Oh no! How fucking terrible! Crying her eyes out, Bella begs and pleads for his dead icicle penis and Edward finally submits and they decimate the bedroom again. Every single second of this footage is a generic nightmare of writhing shoulders and rolling around nonsense that just bored the piss out of me. I'll admit the start of the pregnancy stuff, the pro-life/pro-choice argument and the wolf pack politics (if you can call it that) are fairly engaging, so we'll skip ahead a bit.
Despite all the "get it out of her" talk, Edward accidentally links with the baby using his psychic powers and everything's shit again. Suddenly there's talk of baby names (Edward Jacob and Renesme - for fuck's sake!) and one of the weirdest birthing scenes in history. The last three major plot developments are filmed in exactly the same way with flash-cuts and montages of previous footage. The first is the birthing scene, which is quite impressive for how much they get away with in a 12a but that doesn't negate the fact that he delivers the baby by eating it out of her womb! The second is Jacob's imprinting on Renesme - I'll admit it was better handled than I had expected it to be but it's still a mind bogglingly lame concept, falling in love with a baby because it'll be a hot teenager? For crying out loud. And finally there's the Cullen/wolf fight which is probably awful - I say 'probably' because you can't actually see anything. I appreciate it takes place at night but with super-speed vampires and CGI wolves all we have are dark blurs charging other dark blurs against a dark backdrop. And the final shot is Bella coming back from the dead, reborn as a vampire, again, heavily utilising voiceovers, flashbacks and montage clips of blood cells and synapses. To be honest, the whole thing ends very anti-climactically, topped off with a bold, wholly out-of-place credit sequence.
I realise this is only half a film and in the same vain as The Matrix: Reloaded, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part I, it's difficult to form a reaction on a story split down the middle. Having said that, Breaking Dawn is a shockingly bloated mess with the same weak narrative, the same unimpressive characters and the same dodgy one-liners. I appreciate no one's hoping to snare newcomers with this release but I can't help but assume the decision to cut the last book into two releases was a purely financial one.
18th November 2011
The Scene To Look Out For:
What else can I expand on after that massive one and a half thousand word tirade? Hmm.. I liked the monk's reward. Michael Sheen's brief reprisal of the campy vampire leader Aro was amusing.
As always I found the wolf tribe acting far superior to the vampire acting (for the most part), most notably by Booboo Stewart and Julia Jones who play Clearwater siblings, Seth and Leah. As with most positive points in the Twilight films they are far from perfect but work well with what they're given.
"I know how this ends and I'm not going to stick around to watch"
In A Few Words:
"Combining all the flaws of the last three films with a skull-fuckingly boring story that takes a good hour to actually get off the ground, Breaking Dawn is by far the worst of the Twilight films so far"