The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2

Directed By: Bill Condon

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, and Michael Sheen

It's finally over!  After three novels, four years, and countless bad performances, the Twilight plague is finally over!  After enduring the first four films, I came to the final installment The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 ready to break out the shot glasses.  I had every right to be.  After all, I've described most of the film's predecessors as "unbearable".  After having seen the conclusion to this miserable series, it surprises me to say that Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is halfway bearable.  Well, I'll be damned because I was warming up a spot for the film on the 2012 Wasted Movies List.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) is now a newborn vampire.  Before she can meet her newborn daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), she must quench her thirst for blood.  With this in mind, Edward (Robert Pattinson) takes her on her first hunt.  Afterward, she meets her daughter and really begins her new life as a Cullen.  It's certainly not without complications.  Bella's father Charlie (Billy Burke) has been searching for some kind of answer for what has happened to his daughter and why she has mysteriously disappeared.  The Cullens will have to give him some kind of answer.  Also, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) imprinted on Renesmee, which has infuriated Bella.

As these issues are dealt with, more serious matters arise.  Renesmee is growing at an alarming rate.  Because she is half-vampire and half-human, there is no precedent for how she will grow up or what she will be capable of.  At this point, she can already share memories with just a touch, and she exhibits many of the same powers that a full vampire would have.  Beyond this, Cullen relative Irina (Maggie Grace) witnesses the young child in the forest and mistakes her for an immortal child, a vampire forever locked in its childish ways.  She reports what she mistakes as a crime to Aro (Michael Sheen), and the Volturi begin to march on Forks.  Thanks to Alice (Ashley Greene), the Cullens are aware of this.  Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) begins building support among the vampire community and gathering witnesses to confront the Volturi.

While Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is a B movie masquerading around like an A movie, I have to give the Twilight cast and crew some credit.  There's some decent storytelling (e.g. the use of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice).  There's a healthy amount of humor (e.g. the Loch Ness Monster).  There are even some good action sequences.  Best of all, the main trio has actually taken an acting lesson or two.  However, the film is rife with problems, and I can't simply overlook them.  It's relentlessly cheesy.  Michael Sheen gives a horrendous performance, and the special effects don't meet our high modern standards.  Because of these issues, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is just enjoyably bad.   Like The Expendables 2, being bad to be good is not a recipe for a high rating on STMR.

Breaking Dawn — Part 2 may just be the cheesiest film I've seen all year.  Director Bill Condon is trying so hard to make this a magical, climactic finale that stands as one of the greats in blockbuster cinema, but this will never happen.  No matter how much humor with which he peppers the film, Twilight is still Twilight.  The humor is simply corny in the hands of these lesser actors.  Beyond the humor, heads literally roll in the film.  Decapitation seems to be a vampire pastime because all these vampires carry around bloody heads like they're bowling balls.  This takes the cheesiness of this flick to a whole new level.

It surprises me to say this, but the worst performance in the movie arguably comes from the most experienced actor on set, Michael Sheen.  As Volturi leader Aro, he just completely drops the ball.  He acts like a complete clown on screen and does nothing to hold our attention.  Instead of doing some real acting in a fairly meaty role, he veils every emotion with a meaningless grin.  More so than anything else, his character is annoying as hell.

For a film with a nine-figure production budget that's expected to make $150 million at the North American box office this weekend alone, Twilight should have some good special effects.  In fact, it should have some awesome effects given the billions of dollars the franchise has collected over the last four years.  As it stands, I'm less than impressed by the graphics.  Bill Condon and his crew really dropped the ball in terms of the CGI.

While the writing is decent and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg offers a surprise twist at the end, those of us who are not Twihards have to be terrified by the fact that the film doesn't offer a whole lot of closure.  There's easily room for these historically loathed yet profitable vampires and werewolves to return to the big screen with such an open ending.  Though the conclusion isn't as bad as its predecessors, this realization is downright scary.  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few Bloody Mary cocktails with this one.