Sunday, November 18, 2012

Twi-Curious Part Deux

I do not own the above image. Copyright Summit Entertainment. All rights reserved. For entertainment purposes only.

                Good news, everyone!  Bella Swan (Stewart) is not dead.  Bad news: she is not exactly alive either.  The transfusion during the birth worked and Bella is now a vampire & a mother. So she, Edward (Pattinson) and daughter Renesmee can go away and we all can have happy lives right?  Wrong!  A serious misunderstanding leads the Volturi believe Renesmee was originally a human, which breaks vampire law, and the Cullens must be destroyed.  But they won’t go down easily.
                And therein lies the problem with the series: the movie does not get to the end credits soon enough.  To paraphrase the late Johnny Carson, The Twilight Saga is about five hours of sparkling entertainment, spread out over ten hours of movies.  But Breaking Dawn Part Deux may be the biggest culprit.  About 35 minutes is wasted traveling to all points of the globe to find witnesses to the mutant beauty of Renesmee, only to not really use it.  Another 35 minutes is used to show just how happy Bella is to be a vampire now, even though KStew has major issues trying to express any emotion at all.
                For all intents & purposes, The Twilight Saga has featured a bunch of no names and bad actors.  No actor is worse than Taylor Lautner.  I have never seen a worse actor get top billing in a movie.  Never.  I don’t hate Lautner.  I just feel he should find another profession.
But he shouldn’t exit stage right alone.  After Part Deux, I have officially moved into the “Kristen Stewart is a terrible actress” camp.  Anytime she should have a clear emotion, she looks conflicted or like she is having a vicious bowel movement.  Robert Pattinson, on the other hand, needs to hire an acting coach and disappear for about a year.  He has potential, not a lot but way, way more than the other two.
                Most of the rest of the cast are a bunch of nobodies who I suspect won’t get more than two lines in anything for the rest of their careers.  If someone told me the only people who would hire Lee Pace are the folks involved with this, I’d say Hollywood is a really sad place.  Dakota Fanning was in four of these and did one thing, which I will get to in a moment.  But the star of Part Deux is Michael Sheen.  I can’t remember an actor having this much fun on screen.  One of his line readings got one of the ten biggest laughs I have ever heard in a movie theatre.  It is almost as if Sheen said to himself, “Boy, everyone here looks like they at a funeral.  Let’s see if I can cheer them up.”
                For as much money that was spent on this movie, I see the minimum went into the visuals.  First, there’s a three & a half minute opening credit sequence that would feel out of place in a Pacific Northwest nature documentary.  Second, the effects during the action scenes look like they were done by the best visual effects team of 1997.  But worst of all, director Bill Condon made the decision to computerize Renesmee’s face.  With effects that would work in a horror movie.  The effects are at least $10-12 million under budget.
                There is a lot of buzz about what happens at the end.  I won’t spoil it for you.  But while what occurs is the best 15-20 minutes in the series, what happens immediately after is the most infuriating.  When the sequence is over, we realize some things.  First, that the crew, especially Condon & screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, truly believes that the audience is extremely stupid.  Stupid enough to think that just because about twenty minutes of this movie is entertaining, in extremely campy fashion by the way, that we will forget the other 100 awful minutes and call the movie “good”.
But second, and most important, that writer Rosenberg is entirely capable of writing something of substance.  The spoiler sequence is a deviation from the book but then cops out and returns to the boring, simple book ending, still leaving several unanswered subplot questions.  If “author” Stephenie Meyer allowed Rosenberg to change what she changed at the end of Part Deux, I would think that asking Meyer to change or straight up cut scenes that only serve to satisfy fans.  Or is that what Rosenberg is, a fan first & screenwriter second.  I have no issue with fans working on movies.  But understand that not everyone watching will have read the books let alone be a fanatic.  Take The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Peter Jackson is a fan.  But Jackson realized that certain things needed cut in order for the movies to work and appeal to all audiences.  To this day, 12 years after filming ended, Jackson still gets it for removing Tom Bombadil from the story, with Jackson simply saying that Tom didn’t add anything to the main adventure.  There are so many moments in Breaking Dawn Part Deux: Electric Boogaloo that serve little purpose or are virtual copies of previous scenes.  Minutes of all our lives could have been saved but someone in the editing room saying, “Does Jacob need to take his shirt off three times in four minutes?”
                Our moviegoing experience was something else.  We showed up 45 minutes before the show to get seats to observe the crowd.  Immediately, a group of 6 girls sits to our immediate right.  They talked right through the commercials & trailers and even the beginning of the movie before we quieted them.  Throughout the movie, people would take their leisurely time walking out for whatever reason.  One teenage girl did it thrice.  At the end of the movie, no one, not even the six girls beside us, talked about the movie.  Instead, they talked about tomorrow or Sunday or next weekend.  Am I shocked?  A little.  I mean, why would you wait in line 45 minutes before to see the “movie event of the season”?  This leads me to believe that many, at least at my showing, that it is less about seeing the movie and more being seen at the movie.  Worst of all, these people are slobs.  The Wreck-It Ralph screening we went to, full of 6 year olds, needed a lighter cleaning crew.
                Breaking Dawn Part Two is an 85 minute movie with a plot contrivance that adds at least thirty.  Hopefully, Bill Condon gets to make whatever movie his Oscar winning self wants.  Just about everyone else?  I could care less about them.  Words cannot describe just how pissed the last 25 minutes made me when all was said & done.  And with all of these things combined, I fear the future for movies.  Breaking Dawn Part Deux, coupled with its four predecessors, is a deep tear on the painting that is the history of motion pictures.  I hope that we can all one day, sooner rather than later, look back & laugh.  Laugh at ourselves for being duped into watching these.  These hideous, amateur excuses for movies.


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