Saturday, 17 November 2012



Well, it's finally over. And at least the Twilight franchise has gone out, if not on a high, then on a moderate at the very least. The fifth in a variable series of mopey emo nonsense aimed primarily at teenage girls, it does deliver the expected in terms of almost literally unspeakable dialogue (the very final exchange almost had me falling off my seat for giggling), endless shots of autumnal forests and hunks with their shirts off. But fortunately there are two factors that liven the movie up to the point where it's actually rather fun: firstly there's a whole reel of roaring monster-on-monster action with severed heads and people flying through the air and vampires and werewolves beating each other up, and secondly Michael Sheen finally gets plenty of screen time in which to camp it up something splendid as the pantomime dame King Of The Vampires.

In the event, it's probably the best of the Twilights, though in the same way as Revenge Of The Sith is the best of the Star Wars prequels - in other words, that ain't saying a whole lot. The original was way overlong and glum, New Moon was no better and Eclipse was an improvement, but Breaking Dawn Part One went back to the angsty emotional dullness. And there's still a lot of daytime soap opera-level blither to get through here: as detailed in the last movie, Bella is not just a newborn vampire, but the mother of baby Renesmee, a human-vampire hybrid with a silly name. A hybrid who is already growing and developing at an unprecedented rate, and who is assumed by the Volturi (the Vampire High Council) to be an "immortal child" who will bring about massacre and destruction and therefore must be destroyed. The Cullens, and Jacob's werewolf pack, vow to stand against the Volturi even as the armies are assembled, to do bloody battle on the day the snow sticks to the ground...

Much of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two doesn't make a whole lot of sense: not the least of which is why the Volturi wait so long before assembling their troops on the side of a snowfield, and how do two of the Cullens know this so far in advance? Why don't the Volturi swoop on Day One before the enemy have a chance to marshal their own forces? Still, it's kind of forgiven once the robed legions of the Volturi do turn up and Michael Sheen gets to overact and inject some fun into the otherwise insipid proceedings. Then there's twenty minutes of spectacular head-ripping monster action in which all the cast get to show off their special powers like it's the X-Men taking on the Marvel Avengers. It's perhaps a pity that this huge battle sequence doesn't resolve itself in the best way: some might even regard it as a cheat and there were some groans from the audience I saw it with.

Still, it's lightened up from the established Twilight tradition of Kristen Stewart humourlessly moping while mournful whiny guitar ballads play on the soundtrack, Robert Pattinson being all soulful and tortured and Taylor Lautner taking his shirt off. Now that they've made the choice of Team Edward over Team Jacob, the miserable angsty stuff (best summed up by that scene where Bella apparently sulks in a chair for a whole year) has been dialled down and there are a few more laughs on offer. For that, Sheen, and the battle sequence, I didn't mind Breaking Dawn Part Two and, despite the the sense that it's finally all over, the film does leave the door open for further instalments if the money is right. Which it almost certainly will be. As Edward Cullen says at one point: "It's painful, but it's bearable."


No comments: