So, much like with the books, I have a love-hate relationship with the movies. I honestly think I watch them with a different part of my brain than the part I use for all other movie viewing. Do I see the bad acting, low-budget effects, terrible hair and makeup, and giant oozing portions of cheese? Yes. Does it bother me? Weirdly, no.
Kind of like with the books. I see the poor writing and the absurd relationships and the infuriating characters, and they somehow don’t really bother me. It’s weird and I don’t understand it. Once again, I feel the need to compare Twilight to Twinkies. Nothing really good or substantial about it, and yet it’s tasty.
And also, I think they will both survive the zombie apocalypse.
So if you, like me, also enjoy the books and the movies while remaining totally cognizant of the fact that they are far from literary or cinematic gold, this review is for you.
As I did not marathon the other movies before watching this one, I can’t objectively say how I thought it stacked up to the others. I’m always left with the impression that each one improves on the last, but that may be just because it’s the one I saw most recently. All the typical Twilight movie complaints were still there. Robert Pattinson still makes a weirdly constipated Edward (which is something I still don’t understand, because I’ve seen him in other movies and he can act. It’s just like he has decided that Edward should be constipated. Maybe it’s something about the whole hard-as-granite thing). Kristen Stewart is still an almost painfully awkward Bella. And the combo of constipated+awkward still makes me kind of uncomfortable when they’re getting all hot-and-heavy with each other (which definitely happens at least once in the movie).
The effects were still meh (although the wolves have gotten better), and the hair and makeup people have still not figured out what to do with all the dark brunettes masquerading as blondes (ain’t no way Peter Facinelli, Jackson Rathbone, and Nikki Reed are believable as blondes. It takes away from buying them as the prettiest people ever when their hair is all dark-rooty and awkward. Sorry.) Also, it’s unfortunate that although the movie is pretty much entirely about pale-skinned vampires, they still weren’t able to make the pale skin attractive. Still just looks like caked-on white pancake makeup. Oh, and CGI-Renesmee was creepy. I know she was supposed to be cute, but no. Creepy.
But again, these are things I expect with Twilight movies. I noticed they were there, shrugged, and moved on.
So now on to what I liked.
I actually liked Taylor Lautner as Jacob a lot more in this movie than in others, probably because he wasn’t nearly so angsty (this is the beauty of splitting Breaking Dawn into two movies — all the angsty Jacob parts are in the first half). Billy Burke as Charlie has been a highlight of every movie to me, and this one is no exception. And while I still think most of the Cullens were miscast, I liked them anyway. It helped that my theater was very enthusiastic and cheered any time a Cullen was on screen. It’s hard to be cynical when everyone around you is beside themselves with glee.
I haven’t read the book in several years, but from what I remember, the movie followed the book pretty closely. Yes, some secondary characters were shoved to the background (although I think they all at least made an appearance). Yes, some very looooong sequences are shortened to just a couple scenes. But overall, it worked. Most of the best lines went to Charlie (as always) and Jacob (not as always — it was nice to see Jacob actually be funny and not all broody).
There is one major, major change…but there’s also not. You may have heard there was a big stink that the ending was changed from the book, and Stephenie Meyer was okay with it. Well, I’m guessing the reason she was okay with it is because it’s actually not changed from the book. Except that it is. Totally. But it’s not.
For the record, I loved the change-that-really-wasn’t-a-change. Best part of the movie, by far. It was exciting and awesome. It’s actually what I would like to talk about the most right now, but I’m not going to, because if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ll want to punch me for spoiling it. So I’m not gonna.
In a nutshell, it still had (many) flaws, but I still enjoyed it. Even though I still really don’t like Bella. Even though I’ve never, ever understood the appeal of Edward. Even though, basically, the moral of the Twilight universe is “massive age gaps in romantic relationships don’t actually matter so long as you look good together.” Even though when I compare it to other movies I did and didn’t like, I’m not actually sure why I liked it. Objectively, I shouldn’t like them. I really shouldn’t. And yet I do.
This is not the movie that’s going to convince Twi-haters to become Twi-hards. And really, nothing will. There are a million legitimate reasons to hate Twilight, and even though they are way less prevalent in this movie and there are a lot more enjoyable elements, you will probably still not see the merits of the franchise. But if you, like me, see those reasons as legitimate, yet have decided to like it anyway, I think you’ll like Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Embrace the cheese. Love it. Cheer it. It’s fun that way.
Oh, also, the thing they do with the credits? Yes. YES. All movie series should end that way. I would like to retroactively add that kind of ending to Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Pretty please?
Grade: B+ (qualified with all of the above caveats)
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity