Sunday 18 November 2012

Review: Twilight - Breaking Dawn (Part 2) Spoiler-free

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 poster

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Spoiler-free)
115 mins / Dir. Bill Condon

(You can read my review of Breaking Dawn Part 1 here.)

Let's be honest, no words from me are going to convince you on tTS:BDp2*1 either way. You're either going to see it, or you're not, and you already have a pretty good idea about how much you're going to enjoy it.

The temptation is for me to really rip into Breaking Dawn Part 2 and make an escalating laundry-list of its faults. It has many, including a couple of moments where I actually laughed out loud in the cinema, and yet as flawed as it is, it never becomes awful. Because in order to be watching the fifth Twilight, you pretty much have to have enjoyed the other four; there's no other excuse for being there. And since the main offenders in the list are also inherent to the previous installments, there seems little point in underlining them at this late stage. For a Twilight film, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is very much on-par. That should tell you all you need to know.

As with BD1, there seems to be an awful lot of stalling going on in the first half of the film, with plenty of things being explained but very few actually shown. There's also the issue again with the appallingly illustrated passage of time (we're told the child Renesmee is maturing rapidly, but we have nothing to compare it against since the actual timescale isn't mentioned and the other vampires aren't ageing; the film could take place over six years for all the viewer knows), and some of the CGI/makeup used on the offspring of Bella and Edward is nothing short of bizarre. The recruited vampiric witnesses gathered by the Cullens are like a United Nations of one-dimensional casual racism, and the Volturi are embarrassingly laughable, as always.*2

But… but… as a way to round off the cinematic side of the saga… it sort of works. If you're watching it from Edward and Bella's perspective*3 then you'll get what you came for and see everything tied up neatly, and in the context of this movie, that's what matters. With a couple of notable exceptions, everyone gets to do their five minutes, there's a face-off, a battle*4, and the end-sequence you'd expect (although it was far shorter than I was expecting, but LotR has done wonders for my cynicism).

If it sounds like I'm skirting around it, I am. There are far more things wrong with the film than right, but I can't actively dislike it. It knows its audience, and it treats them better than a few other films I've seen this year. It should be applauded for that, at least. You'll either love Breaking Dawn Part 2, you'll hate it, or you'll be largely indifferent. But you won't be surprised. In cinematic terms, it's the ultimate foregone conclusion.


Oh, but if you must soundtrack your film with songs featuring lyrics which which the characters can't hear (ie they're not on the radio, etc), don't cut the songs into scenes where people are talking so that the dialogue and the lyrics overlay each other. This is inexcusable, unless the film's editor has actually been paid to underline how inconsequential the script is.
So, y'know. Well done, there.

*1 That's what the kids are calling it, right?
*2 Oops. I made that list after all, didn't I? Well, no. That's far from the full thing, trust me.
*3 And I get the impression that you're meant to be, although I don't fit into that demographic, physically or psychologically.
*4 Don't get me started on the battle. I actually enjoyed it, and then it underlines its own ridiculousness to the point where I guffawed. I salute the nerve of the screenwriters.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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