I admit that as the screen faded to black at the end of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn-Part 2,” I felt a wave of relief. The four-film saga, notable for its Mormon undertones and uncomfortably protracted yet passionate teenage romances—better described as “Breaking Bella”—was finally over.
Nonetheless, I found myself tearing up at the end of a film with all the elements of a successful Twilight installment: a montage of vampires performing unimaginable feats of strength, a token sex scene which we are to take as evidence of just how much more awesome post-nuptial vampire sex really is, and a solid fifteen minutes of gory decapitations.
The final chapter in Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling book-to-movie series wraps up with Bella, a freshly minted vampire, learning to control her newfound blood-thirst while at the same time exercising her maternal instincts with her half-vampire, half-human baby girl (and yes, big kudos are given to Bella for not eating her own child). Unfortunately, the top dogs of the vampire community declare war on the happy family after discovering Bella and Edward’s mysteriously fast-aging hybrid child and mistaking her for one of the “immortal children,” a species of super-strong baby vampires known to casually eat up entire villages of people. Bella, Edward & co. proceed to gather a dream team of vampire allies, which comically resembles a United Nations convention of Egyptians, Alaskans, Brits, Amazonians, and leather-clad Russians among other nationalities to fight in their epic battle.
Still, when the most appealing character in the movie is Bella’s father—a Carhartt-wearing, small-town mortal sheriff—you have to wonder whether the film hits any sort of emotional mark. Intended to be a story of the most powerful and other-worldly of romances, “Twilight” fails to achieve the drama and gravitas that the actors (visibly) strive to convey through their acting.
Herein lies the fatal flaw of the film: a great deal of the story’s action takes place through telepathy, which the franchise’s young and (to put it generously) mediocre actors simply do not possess the thespian talent to pull off. While a prolonged shot of Al Pacino silently stewing at the end of “The Godfather: Part II” hits home, a lingering shot of Kristen Stewart trying unsuccessfully to conjure a protective force field with her mind left me empty of everything but a bout of suppressed giggling.
Though watching Stewart try oh-so-hard to act like a mother is almost as amusing as watching Taylor Lautner try to flirt with a seven-year old, the effort this requires of the actors is perceptible in nearly every frame of the movie. Nonetheless, despite the laughable acting, anti-feminist undercurrents, and generally off-the-wall plot, I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun watching this movie, albeit largely at its own expense. It is the kind of movie that does not take itself too seriously, and neither should its audience. With this in mind, I rate the movie as a success.
Am I an unbiased viewer? No! Clearly I am hoping that Robert Pattinson will read my bitingly honest yet endearing review and subsequently contact me to suggest that we date seriously. But if you are just looking to see a couple hours of ridiculously good-looking people running around, biting each other’s heads off (and who hasn’t been there?) then you might find that the final Twilight installment is a pretty good time.