A.C. at the Movies

Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part 2:

A decent end to an uneven franchise

TWO AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS

This movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity

 

Yes, after five movies spread over five years the polarizing saga of a moody teenage girl and the vampire that she loved has finally come to an end.  This franchise has been very uneven when it comes to quality, with every good entry followed by a terrible one.  Seeing as Breaking Dawn Part 1 was among the worst movies ever, the pattern pointed toward a strong finale in Part 2.  For the most part, that’s true, but this final film has two serious flaws that really drag it down.  

The final film is among the most focused of the whole franchise, which works well for it.  Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire husband Edward (Robert Pattinson) find their strange new daughter threatened by the Volturi, the evil vampire ruling council.  That’s the sole focus of the film, as they try to gather allies to help them convince the Volturi their daughter is of no threat to anyone.

Putting the focus solely on things like family works well for a franchise that has been centered around themes like soul mates and true love since the beginning.  Of course, that’s one of the film’s major flaws.

The entire Twilight franchise has largely been based around the love triangle between Bella, Edward and the werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).  Fans of the series often divide themselves up between which boy they think Bella should choose, and that situation has been a driving force in the plots of the films.

So to see the writers explain the love triangle away in a matter of seconds early in this final film is not only stunning, it’s downright disgusting.  To build something up over four movies just to completely dismiss it with an inane, senseless thirty second explanation is an insult to the fans who supported this franchise.

It comes down to a fatal flaw with this entire series, which is its inability to let anything bad happen to any of the characters.  Author of the book series Stephanie Meyer has been heavily criticized as not being a real writer, and while her billions of dollars in wealth likely keep her feeling okay about the criticism, I have to add my voice to those who doubt her true commitment to storytelling.

The thing that has kept casual fans like myself from ever truly buying into this franchise, and the thing that greatly hampers this final film, is the fact that there’s never any true threat to any of it.  This is a Disney princess fairytale, a storybook fantasy, and everyone knows those end happily ever after.

And that’s where Breaking Dawn Part 2 really let me down — the ending.  It’s hard to talk about it too much without giving anything away, but suffice to say it’s unbelievably disappointing.  It’s the final chance the film has to make an emotional impact, to show that the true depth of love between the characters matters because they’re willing to make incredible sacrifices to protect it.

That chance is totally squandered, and all you get is a moment so aggravating that I wanted to yell at the screen.  Will it leave die hard Twilight fans happy?  I suppose, but for anyone else who just wanted to enjoy a good story that made sense and had a real ending, it’s hugely disappointing.  Just another uneven moment that takes the easy way out in a franchise full of such moments.

There are plenty of trademark Twilight awkward scenes in the film, accompanied by some terrible special effects.  The movie introduces some awesome new characters, all of which would’ve been great additions to the story if they received more than twenty seconds of screen time.

Chances are, if you’ve stuck with this film franchise this long, then you’ll love this final film.  From a casual standpoint, it was a suitable ending to a film series that has contained both great (Eclipse) and awful (Breaking Dawn Part 1) movies.

 

This Weekend at the Theater

T

here are three new movies releasing this week and they all release today, on Wednesday. If you’re wanting to head to the theater as part of your Thanksgiving holiday, here’s what is waiting for you there.

First up is the computer animated film Rise of the Guardians.  Featuring exaggerated versions of characters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, this movie tells the story of these characters banding together to save the holidays.

Next up is the remake of the classic 80’s film, Red Dawn.  Chris Hemsworth stars in this one as he leads a group of young people as they fight back against a foreign army that invades their quaint American town.

Some people hate all remakes, but this one was due for an overhaul.  With some great young stars and an updated threat, this one could be a lot of fun.

The final new release is the fantastical story Life of Pi.  Based on the novel of the same name, the movie follows the adventure of a young man who survives a shipwreck.  The lifeboat he ends up on also has a Bengal Tiger on it, and the two of them face several amazing obstacles as they try to survive in the ocean.

Releasing on home video this week is the action hero packed film The Expendables 2.

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