November 18, 2012

MOVIES: "THE TWILIGHT SAGA--BREAKING DAWN, PART 2"




Thus ends the “Twilight” series with “The Twilight Saga—Breaking Dawn, Part 2,” which could also have been entitled: “Vampire Family Values.” Edward (Robert Pattinson) the vampire and Bella (Kristen Stewart) the human turned vampire—her “turning” accomplished by being bitten by Edward--are, of course, now married, and have a half-vampire, half-human daughter, Renesmee. All should be bloody well, but the Volturi (worldwide ruling body of vampires, kinda like the Hague) think that Edward and Bella have done the strictly verboten: created an “immortal child.” (It’s a big vampire no-no because these children can decimate whole villages in their “thirst.”) In other words: PLEASE DON’T BITE THE CHILDREN.

Edward and Bella must convince the Volturi that Renesmee was “born, not bitten” (Bella gave birth to her when Bella was still human). Witnesses from around the world are gathered to attest to Renesmee’s actual nature. (As Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, says: What kind of stupid vampires are these Volturi that they can’t tell what the kid is or isn’t when everyone else can? But Phillips is SO not a Twihard, and I beg to differ with him because it is well set up and it totally works.)

This last-installment-in-the-series-but-leaving-it-open-for-more-brooding-supernatural-fun does not disappoint, and is a satisfying end to the whole shebang.

Watching the film, I asked myself what exactly makes the “Twilight” FILMS so successful (I haven’t read the books) AS films. The story is a no-brainer for attracting women: an old-fashioned Prince Charming is obsessed with you and literally swoops down with his swoopy hair and sweeps you off your feet. On top of that, another man is obsessed with you, and they kinda spend a lot of time fighting over you. What’s not to like? But as for the film—and the fact that guys ARE watching them!—why? Also, the novelist, screenwriter (and director of the first film) are all female.

Some of the well-done, appealing-to-both-genders aspects of “Twilight” filmmaking are as follows:

--Gorgeous, rugged landscapes as the major setting/backdrop (we don’t see this much in films, especially an intimate-drama film like “Twilight”). Most of “Twilight” is shot outdoors.
--Lots of SPFX, action and fight scenes. Although the women have kick-butt powers, there is still some underlying male protectiveness happening.
--The intensity never really lets up—but without wearying us.
--Light touches (in “Breaking Dawn 2”): poetry, piano-playing, secret messages, contests of strength. All these keep us watching and delighted.
--There is a bouncing back and forth from the small and personal (Bella and Edward’s love story) to big and universal principles (supernatural laws, rules, territories, sacrifices, doing the right thing, loyalties, alliances, moral quandaries, issues of life and death, etc.)
--There is a hardcore consistency to each film and within each film.
--And the plot-points are just great. A great story and mythology.
--Unique mixing of genres and tropes: it’s soapy, campy, tongue-in-cheek, telenovela-esque. It sports sappy pop music with sung words over laughable dialogue alongside vampire/werewolf lore. It’s almost comic book-ish in the framing of the characters, but mixes romance, action, adventure, supernatural thriller, fantasy, teen flick, chick flick elements. A little something for everyone?

OTHER STUFF:

--The world of “Twilight” is just soooo perfect. Everyone is so comely, groomed, stylish, thin, good-looking with PERFECT skin and teeth. Vampire living spaces are well-appointed dream houses. Vampire ambience is so antiseptic, staid, honed and perfectly paced (unlike life). There is no chaos. No mess. Nobody interrupts each other. Nobody has anything to do. Nobody works, shops or blows their nose. ALL THEY DO IS FOCUS ON EACH OTHER AND TALK TO EACH OTHER. THEY DON’T EVEN HOLD THINGS IN THEIR HANDS. LIKE WHEN IT WAS JUST ADAM AND EVE IN THE GARDEN AND ALL THEY HAD WAS EACH OTHER. Renesmee—from babyhood on—is a glowing package of American Girl Doll polished finesse. But of course, this is NOT a human world. Maybe we just need to keep reminding ourselves of this.

--Actor Billy Burke, who play Bella’s Dad, Charlie, is THE most believable of all the actors.

--A guy friend of mine rails against the “Twilight” series as just so bad for women (“women’s porn”), fueling their unrealistic expectations of the men in their lives. PURE female fantasy. I have to agree with him, even though “Twilight” is a kind of guilty pleasure of mine….

--So many mythologies, so little time. Do we have time for the Christ mythology? The best, most beautiful, most daring, most perilous, most exciting, most shining and wondrous and glorious and enthralling mythology, and the only one we don’t have to play-act at because it is totally true and each one of us is terribly caught up in it? Spiritual warfare is real and going on every second of our journey to eternity. We need to immerse ourselves in HIS story, in HIM.

--Somebody really should compile (if they haven’t already) “BAD TWILIGHT LINES.” Example: “You look amazing!” TWICE in the first 5 minutes of “Breaking Dawn 2”!

--“GOOD TWILIGHT LINES”: “Artifice!”

--PRO-LIFE MOMENT: Renesmee “shows” (via telepathy) Bella her first memory of her Mom. It was Renesmee in the womb.

--Great “trial” of the Cullens by the Volturi at the end. Great twist.

--The decapitations are pretty awful, but not gorey. More like bisque doll heads.

--I’m glad Bella freaked out at Jacob for imprinting on Renesmee, BUT the whole thing is still wicked creepy. AND Jacob says he had “no choice.” Please see comments at the bottom of another “Twilight” movie I reviewed. http://hellburns.blogspot.com/2011/11/movies-twilight-saga-breaking-dawn-part.html#.UKmZBeR9L0c   All of “Twilight” can be re-read as a super-creepy textbook abuser scenario.

--When everyone kept saying vampire-human hybrids couldn’t be done (“Impossible!”), I couldn’t help thinking of the INCARNATION….

--I don’t need a vampire to make me immortal: Jesus makes me immortal. Actually, I was conceived immortal (with an immortal soul). And Jesus doesn’t drink MY blood, He has me drink His saving blood (in non-bloody fashion). "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his bloodyou have no life in you" (John 6:53). NO life? Wow.

--The credits are done in such an unusual and personal style: showing a visual of each major actor from the beginning of the series. I wonder if that was a woman’s touch there…. I just love bursts of innovation and originality harmonizing with standardized filmmaking.

I DIDN’T SEE “Twilight—Eclipse” 2010!!!!

6 comments:

  1. While I am not a huge fan, I have read the books. If I remember it right, the reason the Volturi come is that they are using the baby's birth as an excuse because they're mad that Alice and Edward wouldn't join them.

    I've heard, though, that they've given the movie and alternate ending from the book.

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  2. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Regarding this: "A guy friend of mine rails against the “Twilight” series as just so bad for women (“women’s porn”), fueling their unrealistic expectations of the men in their lives. PURE female fantasy. I have to agree with him, even though “Twilight” is a kind of guilty pleasure of mine…."

    The concern is much greater with regard to the books where you hear Bella's interior dialogue and the motivations for her actions (as a youth minister I read them for research). Her view of love is severely distorted and is dangerous for young readers to ingest. The movies do not capture quite so much of this and are much less of a concern in my eyes, but still problematic.

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  3. Yes! Friends who've read the books tell me this over and over.... Thank you!

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  5. I vote for Twilight Saga for its special effects and backdrops.

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