Heavens above, they finally did it. After four failed Twilight movies ranging from unwatchable to barely tolerable, the cast and crew behind the franchise have at long last figured out how to make this bullshit palatable. See, the past four films strived to faithfully adapt Stephenie Meyer’s turgid novels with a straight face, but that all changes with 2012’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. This time, returning director Bill Condon and the long-suffering cast seem to embrace the fact that the material indeed sucks, giving this final picture the chance to be the ludicrous joke that the fan-base don’t seem to realise that it is. Cranking its ridiculous aspects up to eleven, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is quite simply hilarious, one of the funniest and most enjoyable movie-watching experiences of 2012. It’s a brilliant parody of itself, and the end result, ironically, is more entertaining than the parody film Vampires Suck.
With Bella (Kristen Stewart) having finally made the transformation to vampire, she begins to feel out her new powers and deal with her thirst for blood with help from husband Edward (Robert Pattinson). Meanwhile, the couple’s newborn daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) is growing at a rapid rate, and Bella is compelled to confront the fact that werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted his everlasting (paedophiliac) love on the infant. Word of Renesmee soon reaches the leader of the Volturi, Aro (Michael Sheen), who assumes that the Cullens have actually turned a child, which is against the rules and will apparently lead to the downfall of their kind for reasons that are never adequately explained. Because Aro has been seeking an excuse to kill the Cullens since the beginning of the franchise, he begins planning for war, while Edward’s family recruit as many bloodsuckers as possible to help in the impending battle.
From the very first scene, it’s clear that Condon and the actors are finally in tune with the material, finding the campy tone that we’ve wanted all along. Part 1 showed evidence of hilarious camp at times, but Part 2 embraces it entirely, giving us scene after scene of uproariously bad dialogue and stiff performances that are amusing as opposed to flat-out boring. Not having read Meyer’s books, I cannot comment on the quality of the adaptation, but the dialogue here is absolutely killer. In an early scene, Jacob reveals that he has nicknamed Bella’s newborn “Nessie,” to which Bella angrily responds with “You named my baby after the Loch Ness Monster?!” Tears of laughter were shed. In another scene, Bella discusses the fact that her and Edward can have consistent sex 24/7, since they will never get tired. Furthermore, an early reveal of Bella the blood-thirsty vampire, hunting for animals to kill, is side-splitting. Couple the dreadful CGI with the campy cinematography and performances, and the end result had this reviewer on the floor gasping for breath. There’s also a bizarre arm wrestling scene that defies explanation.
Unfortunately, the delirious hilarity of the first act begins to wane as the dramatic stuff kicks in, leading to a midsection that drags and only provides a few laughs here and there. It’s during the second act that the missteps of the prior Twilight movies begin to emerge yet again, with mundane dialogue and uninteresting proceedings, crying out for better-judged pacing. Luckily, it’s almost worth enduring the dreariness for the climax, when we finally get to the payoff. The ending of Meyer’s novel was insultingly anticlimactic, but Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg rejig the climax, leading to a tremendous battle sequence that must be seen to be believed. Vampires with X-Men-esque abilities and vicious werewolves absolutely go at it; many bloodsuckers are decapitated, central characters are killed without remorse, one character opens up the ground to reveal a pit of goddamn lava, and Dakota Fanning is mauled by a fucking wolf. Best of all, Condon handled this sequence with utmost confidence. The digital effects remain terrible, but there’s no lazy shaky-cam; it’s easy to follow the mayhem. Believe me, it’s awesome! But then Rosenberg literally introduces the “it was just a dream” conceit, which kind of undercuts the experience. If only the movie stuck to its guns and let that battle actually exist, Part 2 would’ve been even better. How ironic that this is an average movie that actually envisions a better version of itself…
To cap off the series, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 closes with a montage that recaps the prior movies, just to remind us about the journey we’ve taken. It’s meant to be an emotional, weepy moment to allow the fan-girls to reflect on their memories, but it’s actually funny because of how slight the montage truly is, validating yet again that nothing ever happens in these fucking motion pictures and showing just how little really has occurred over the franchise’s ten-hour lifespan. It also fails to be moving. As a matter of fact, the final scene surrounding this montage is total fucking bullshit, finding the actors spouting woefully cheesy dialogue and staring at each other.
At this point, one has to pity the actors, who probably took the job not knowing exactly what they were in for and wound up being contractually bound to the goddamn franchise. To their credit, it genuinely looks as if the cast wanted to take the piss this time around, gleefully hamming it up and no longer taking the material with a self-serious disposition. Stewart is frequently uproarious, but it’s Pattinson and Lautner who walk away with the show this time. Pattinson has openly stated that he hates Twilight and doesn’t understand the love for Edward, and he seems to incorporate this hatred into his performance. He’s very, very funny. Likewise, Lautner ostensibly knows that this is stuff is total shit, and loosens up big time. Plus, again, he’s only shirtless in one scene. Holy shit! But the standout is Michael Sheen, who’s very much aware of the film that he’s in, and completely goes for broke. His performance is a whole lot of fun.
Let’s get this perfectly clear: I am not endorsing Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 because it’s a legitimately good motion picture. On the contrary, it’s pretty poor, and it’s especially awful if the filmmakers actually intended to make a straight-faced franchise closer. But Part 2 is a whole lot of fun in the same vein as The Room, and for the most part plays out as if the cast and crew wanted to give a great big “Fuck you!” to the fans, who (ironically) probably won’t be unable to see the humour in the production and will take it with a straight face. Consummate trolling. Twilight haters, believe me when I say that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the Twilight movie that we’ve been waiting for since the beginning. It’s a total blast. And it’s even better that it finally spells the end of the Twilight franchise. It’s over. It’s actually over. Praise the film Gods!