Monday, November 26, 2012

Breaking Dawn, Part II

Unless I miss my guess, I have at least one reader/friend who’s gonna want to know how I feel about Breaking Dawn, Part II.


I feel like I need to back up and talk about my feelings about Twilight in general, so here goes.  I had a friend who really loved the first three books, told me to read them, and then read book four.  She hated it so much that she INSISTED that I read all four books, just to see what happens when a series goes completely wrong.


I eventually audio-read the series, because that’s what I do with books I care about only marginally. The time in the car must pass regardless, and this way I can at least get in on the pop culture conversation.


My review was, in general, that the books were, and are, boring.  They are easy to read, and the pages mostly fly by (except during long, seemingly unedited dialogue sections) but that nothing happens.  Girl meets vampire, boy and girl fall in love, vampire baseball, girl is taken away from anything that might be interesting, girl goes to save mom, girl is saved by vampires.


The end.  At least for book one.


The bigger problem I had with the books as I was reading them were the sheer number of love story riffs that basically said that if your boyfriend breaks up with you, you’re better off dead.  Ick.  Just ick.


Oh, and the dude falling in love with a baby.  That was touchy too. 




So.  I read the books, and wrote up reviews for the blog I used to post to, Fox Valley Geeks.  That’s been shut down now, though you can locate it if you really want to.


Then I was forced to get into a relationship with the movies, because my wife wanted to see what the fuss was all about.


I was sorta-kinda okay with this, mostly because I figured the movies would take out most of the dull stuff and leave only the interesting bits.  I was more or less right about this.  Frankly, the movies didn’t deviate much from the books.  They weren’t allowed to.  And it worked out well for them, as they spent a few hundred million dollars and will probably pull in over four billion dollars by the time they’re done.


Pretty great investment, really.


The joke was, they had to keep taking out boring conversations to insert action sequences that weren’t in the actual text of the books, because it was the only way to keep the audience awake.  Heck, in order to keep the third movie interesting, Stephenie Meyer had to write a whole new book about a new vampire, so they could cram scenes from it into the movie so people wouldn’t go into a coma waiting for something to happen.


And here is where my story takes a bit of a turn.


For a long time, I had a no money clause with the series.  I got the books from the library, and borrowed copies of the movies so I didn’t have to actually lose any money in the process.  In the end, my wife insisted on buying the books, but I would only do so during the holidays, when the price would drop to four bucks for the paperback.


But then it all fell apart.


Kara’s friend was going to be around for the holidays, and she wanted to see Breaking Dawn in a theater.




It’s a little more insulting to pay for something you don’t care about, and now I was paying good money to watch mediocre actors say not-very-entertaining lines.  What’s more, it was only the first part of the story, which meant I would have to go back and see the second part in a theater as well.


And see it I did.


Hoo, mama.


The joke here is that the movies should have been exceptionally long.  The final Twilight book is a massive doorstopper of a thing, somewhere north of 700 pages.  But much like the previous books, nothing actually happens.


There are probably close to 100 pages that involve a wedding.  There’s a massive section devoted to the honeymoon.  And then finally, Bella gets pregnant and the plot tries desperately to kick in.


The problem is, the book is hamstrung by the fact that Bella is the hero, and the book is told in the first person.


Now, the story tries to skirt that by moving the perspective to another character for a while, but, blah.  At that point Meyer had already demonstrated that she didn’t have the guts to hurt a character in an important way, much less kill them. 


So, the baby is born, Bella becomes a vampire, Jacob falls in love with the baby.  The vampire police show up to kill the baby, because baby vampires are bad, mmm-kay?  And then… they talk it out.


Oh, there’s some bits where other vampires show up to act as witnesses or whatever, and Bella learns she’s even MORE special than everyone already thought she was.  But those are subplots that, in the end, have little or nothing to do with the actual story.


The book, and the series, was a complete failure at that point.  But the fans, who mostly hated the ending, still loved the characters.  I guess they just tried not to think about how it ended, or something.  And then they all went to see the movies of the book they hated.


Why talk about all of this?  Because I still, at this point, have no idea why they broke the movie into two parts.  I mean, except for the part where they get the money.


The thing is, Part II first offers the audience a really, really long credits sequence.  It looks pretty terrible, as though it was cobbled together from stock footage by an intern whose only job was to make it last as long as possible.


Then the movie jumps right into Bella waking up, and then there’s a feeding sequence.  The joke is that it’s supposed to be hard for her not to eat a human, only they don’t bother showing just how hard it is.  So it doesn’t matter.


Then she meets her creepy CGI baby.  The baby grows up.  Despite the fact that Bella had to give her up family to become a vampire, she doesn’t give up her family.  The decision is, of course, made for her, as are all her decisions.


She gets a house.  She beats a guy at arm wrestling.  Her toddler gets spotted by another vampire who turns her in because there aren’t supposed to be vampire babies.


Then we meet a bunch of vampires who, ultimately, won’t matter to the plot at all.  As a bonus, the movie totally strands Lee Pace, a really brilliant actor, by giving him terrible dialogue and almost no personality.


Everyone gets ready for the Volturi to show up.  They show up.


And here’s the big twist, so don’t read this, if you don’t want it spoiled.


In the books, they talk it out.


In the movie… there’s a giant action sequence with lots of fighting, and I gotta say, it’s actually pretty great.  It is, in fact, hands down the best sequence in all five movies, and I really enjoyed it.  Important people died.  Fates were changed. 


And then, in my favorite moment in a movie theater this year, it was revealed to be a dream sequence.


And a woman two rows down from me yelled out, “Seriously!?”


It was the best thing ever.


Of course, this was supposed to be “the future,” as shown by Alice.  Except, if you’re paying attention, you know Alice can’t see the future when werewolves are involved.


So either she made it up, and the dude who checked her head was an idiot, or the movies managed to do something interesting by violating their own internal rules.


And so it goes.


The movie comes to an end, and then we got ANOTHER really long credits sequence, for every single character in all five movies, followed by even more credits.  Long story short, they padded the heck out of this flick in hopes that you wouldn’t notice that if they stuck the two movies together, and cut out the dream sequences and credits, they could have cranked these things out in a not-as-moneymaking three hours.  Probably less.


Word has come down from on high that Meyer is now saying “Never say never” to future vampire stories.  I don’t really know what they’d be about, since all the characters involved seem to be set up for eternal youth and beauty.




I think I’ll go back to watching The Vampire Diaries, thankyewverymuch.

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