5 years, 5 films, $3.3 billion in worldwide box office sales, and millions of devoted fans. The Twilight Saga has now come and gone. In its wake, movie studios are looking for the next big book-to-movie franchise. If anything, Twilight has shown that movie adaptations of young adult books can be big business. Therefore, it looks like screaming preteens will remain a profitable movie audience for many more years to come.
For the past few years, it has been a tradition of mine to review the latest Twilight movie when it comes out. I do this more to gauge the current state of popular culture than for any avid devotion to the source material (Of which I am absolutely devoid). My experiences with the previous installments were all mostly the same; these movies weren’t particularly great at anything except making me gag. But then again, I’m a viewer outside of the target audience, and as such, my perspective is not of primary concern to the film makers.
This is the last movie of the series—as far as we know—and although I will miss the chance to write my annual scathing review, it’s mostly good riddance. The acting has been terrible, the plots have been downright boring, and the action sequences are not only a letdown, they are also few and far between. Even the fidelity to the source material has been suspect at times. Breaking Dawn Part 2 is more of the same, to no one’s surprise. What is a surprise, however, is that it manages to be the most disappointing film in the series. It’s not the worst; just the biggest letdown.
Part of the problem is that the final Twilight book itself does not have a major climactic moment which the entire series was leading up to, unlike Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings; the two other big-time franchises based on book-to-movie adaptations. Most of the tension, drama, and even part of the surprise had been used up in Part 1. What we’re left with is a movie that seemingly exists to tie up a few loose ends and give diehard fans another chance to cheer on their favorite characters. There is a pretty good action sequence before the climax stabs you in the back and the film fizzles out. This is no way to end a big-budget, blockbuster franchise. This is Hollywood up to its usual tricks.
Story: Edward is helping Bella get used to her new powers but the most difficult thing seems to be acting normal and explaining everything that happened to her dad. There’s another scene of Jacob taking off his shirt to help with that last part. Bella’s daughter Renesmee (what kind of name is that?), however, seems to have special powers of her own. She’s so special, in fact, that the vampire head honchos learn about her and seem to think that she is a threat. Can Bella’s new family round up enough supporters to convince the bosses otherwise or will they have to fight for her right to exist? Okay (6.0/10)
Acting: The series has been no stranger to awkward acting and this final installment is no change to that formula; Billy Burke being the only consistent exception once again. Kristin Stewart is just plain painful to watch at times. She bites her lip so frequently that you literally feel the pain. R. Patz is no better. His bizarre delivery of lines and half-assed smirks are at their worst. Taylor Lautner isn’t pouting for once, which is nice, but he honestly doesn’t have much to do in this episode, and even when he does, it is somehow underwhelming. The supporting cast is much of the same—some are funny, some are stoic. Everyone’s merely adequate. Bad (4.4/10)
Directing: Bill Condon is back, but for what reason we don’t exactly know. The best part of the movie, from a directing perspective, is the opening credits, which move at a brisk pace so that the preteen audience doesn’t get bored. The rest of the movie feels unpolished and equally rushed. The first 15 minutes of the movie are downright horrible, with poor camera placements, questionable framing and too much zooming in. ZOOM OUT DAMMIT! It makes the movie feel claustrophobic and Condon has no idea how to construct a scene so that the special effects are enhanced. The film still looks as cheap as ever, despite all the money they are raking in, and the fault for that lies with Condon, too. Horrible (2.4/10)
Special Effects/X-Factor: As I said above, the special effects still don’t look up to par for a movie franchise that makes this much money. I will admit, however, that this film does have the best special effects of the series. Especially good are the action sequences towards the end of the film. They are easy to follow and interesting, even if they’re a little cheesy and over-the-top. One of the worst special effects-related mishaps of this film is the choice to use CGI special effects to create Bella’s daughter, which they do until almost the end of the film, when she is older. This CGI baby is downright creepy. As for the music, the film doesn’t stray too far from its gag-inducing predecessors. Overall, this film is for diehard Twilight fans and no one else. Where the first film in the series had hoped to attract a new audience as well as fans of the book, this last film is proof that that strategy has failed and been abandoned. Okay (6.8/10)
Rating: (4.9/10) = F (Avoid)
· What’s Good: Less whiney Jacob; finally a good action sequence; this is the last one!
· What’s Bad: Awkward as always; film making at its most incompetent; the plot is rushed; the special effects are not special; a very controversial ending and therefore a very unfitting way to finish off the franchise.
Verdict: Yay! No more Twilight movies!