I have seen the “Star Wars” movies a considerable number of times, and not once had I noticed that Vader’s costume clearly shows what he’s packing besides his lightsaber. But now, it’s all I can see. In a photo of Vader and Palpatine “crossing swords”, no less.
Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife. Eagles snatchin’ everybody out here.
Alison Brie and Danny Pudi from “Community” freestyle rapping at The Viper Room. Could I listen to this all day? Why yes, yes I could.
Those were the first words to come out of my mouth after having sat through “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part Two: If Harry Potter Can Break The Last Book Into Two Movies, So Can We, Bitznatch”!
You may be asking yourself why someone like me — who is clearly not in the teenage-slash-inappropriately-emotionally-immature-twenty-something lady demographic this flick is catered toward, nor someone who has had any real interest in the series — would go and see this Sparkling Vampire Turd. The circumstances were these:
- My friend, Zubair, was being dragged by his girlfriend, Jenn, to see this cinematic nightmare. I didn’t want to leave the poor guy suffering through this alone, because I am the sort of friend who should have statues erected in his honor.1
- Jenn also invited me along, and I am a sucker.
- I had nothing better to do. Seriously. Not a goddamn thing.
As you intelligent2 people likely figured out by now, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the movie. That said, before you go ahead and tell me that I’m just being “obtuse”3, or that I don’t “get it”, or that I should “die in a fire”, I should point out that my displeasure was not based on the story or the characters. I should also point out that I do not judge the Twilight flicks based on the same criteria that I would judge other movies, because that would be like putting a tee-ball team up against a successful Major League Baseball team. As far as I’m concerned, Twilight gets a participation ribbon and juice box just for showing up, so I’ll forgive a lot in the way of “terrible characterization” and “poor narrative choices”.
That said, let’s get to what I didn’t like about this giant pile of overly-abtastic werewolf dung. Naturally, there’s spoilers ahead, should you care about such things.
The Special Effects: Sub-Par For Even A SyFy Original Movie
Let’s be absolutely clear why this movie exists: Summit Entertainment, the studio behind “The Twilight Saga”, wanted to make a crapton of cash. And who can blame them? Studio executives survive solely on hookers and cocaine, and those things don’t come cheap, gang.
That said, if you’re not going to spend any part of your budget on lessons for Kristen Stewart to show a greater range of emotions than a tree stump, perhaps you can make up for it with some quality effects, you know?
In the first fifteen minutes of the movie, a now-undead Bella4 goes on her first hunt, dashing through the woods in search of a deer to munch upon. Of course, because she’s a vampire now, Bella has super speed5, and that means we could have a mind-blowingly spectacular sequence ahead of us.
‘Cept that “super speed” is indicated by Kristen Stewart apparently lazily jogging in place while the forest speeds past her in the background. They didn’t even spring for a treadmill so she could appear to have some form of forward motion going on. It looked far worse than the effects on the 1990’s “Flash” television show, and they spent all their budget on the costume.
And, look, okay, I get that I’m a comic book nerd, so my expectations of super powers being shown on screen may be a bit high. Had that been the only issue, I’d have forgotten it. But then they threw Renesmee Cullen, the horribly named demonspawn of Bella and Edward, at us.
By now, I’m hoping you’ve seen pictures of this freakshow, but, if not, let me paint a picture for you: instead of using an actual baby, the filmmakers decided it would be better to have an animatronic doll play the part. Unfortunately, that It’s A Small World reject looked too unnatural to pass for a living baby, so they CGI’d what can only be described as a “dead-eyed zombie baby face” onto the thing to make it seem more “natural”. Yes, I know, the only major monster they were missing here was a zombie, so maybe they were going for that, but, still, creepy as hell, gang.
The point is this: When “Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus” has spent their effects budget more wisely than a major studio motion picture, something has gone completely off the rails.
Poor Lee Pace
Did you watch “Pushing Daisies” when it was on ABC?6 It was phenomenal, and you should stop everything to go watch the two seasons of it on Netflix. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Wasn’t that rad? Man, that Piemaker, what a dude, right? Clearly that guy is great, and should be getting a whole bunch of work. And, admittedly, he is… The work just happens to be in movies like this and freakin’ “Marmaduke”. He deserves better than that.
Stupid Disingenuous Fight Scene Is Stupid and Disingenuous7
When I went to go see “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part One: That’s A Lot Of PG-13 Rated Screwing’!”, the girl I was seeing at the time commented that she had absolutely no idea how they were going to stretch what was left of “Breaking Dawn” — which apparently wasn’t much — into another two or more hour movie. You, dear reader, may be wondering that as well.
Turns out they did it in the most annoying way possible: an overdrawn fight scene. Fist bump! Here’s what went down:
- On one side, you have The Cullen Corps, who are a bunch of okay-I-guess-for-the-monster-version-of-serial-killers vampires, lead by Cullen patriarch and Albus Dumbledore analog Carlisle. On the other side is The Volturi, the vampire shadow government who want to take Renesmee away from Bella and Edward, presumably because anyone who names their kid “Renesmee” shouldn’t be allowed to have a child in the first place.
- The Volturi tell the assorted Culli that if they just give up the kid, everyone can go on their way. Naturally, that doesn’t go well, and a giant fight ensues. This fight, by the way, is actually fairly well choreographed and shocking in its quality.
- Through the fight, a number of scenes play out that elicit gasps of shock and horror from the tweens all around us, including the surprise death by beheading of Carlisle Cullen8 by Volturi leader and super-creepy dude Aro.9
- Then, the twist: The entire fight was a vision Aro had of what would happen if he engages the Cullens. And since that vision ends with his own head being removed from his neck by Bella, he basically tells everyone to pack up their toys and go home.
Now, if the majority of the reviews of this movie are to be believed, this twist was brilliant… a magnificent way to keep the Twi-hard faithful engaged in the movie and unsure of what was to happen next. If you ask me, though, this whole thing was nothing more than a cheap trick to make people forget that they were basically hosed out of $11 to watch a movie that was 60 minutes of story in a 115 minute movie.
Consider this: When you remove Aro’s vision, all you’re left with is two large groups of people coming together, having a quick chat, and deciding that everything was cool. Everyone hugs, maybe a chest bump here and there, and we’re off to Friendly’s for a celebratory Fribble. You could shoot that scene in a Chuck E. Cheese and it’d have the same level of dramatic impact and tension. In fact, it’s the 21st century — couldn’t they have just gotten on Google Chat and hashed this all out? Of course they could.
However, when you throw in a fight scene where you watch some particularly gruesome deaths of characters you were sure would make it through the story unscathed? When suddenly everyone has to survive a great deal of adversity to get to the happy ending you assumed was coming? That’s emotionally taxing. Then to wipe it all away because it was just a vision? You’re tricked into feeling like the characters did survive the shenanigans. It’s the laziest hero’s journey ever, and a cheap justification of splitting the thing in two. I’d have preferred they just cut out the fight and stuck with the “Nah, it’s cool” ending we eventually got to… It would have been a more obvious shameless cash-grab, but at least it would have been more honest.
So, yeah, that’s what I got. Disagree? Think I’m a bozo? Feel free to tweet at me and tell me how wrong I am. Hashtag it #DoucheCanoe, because that’ll make it a lot funnier for me.
- Admittedly, Jenn also invited me along, and I’m a sucker who will say “yes” to just about anything a girl asks of me, short of kicking a puppy or genocide. ↩
- And insanely good-looking, I’m sure. ↩
- Honest to Batman, some anonymous internet troll once said I was “obtuse” for thinking that the first Twilight book was a repetitive bunch of nonsense that could have been a serviceable novel if cut in half, since a lot of the book is essentially Bella talking about how “hot” and “mysterious” Edward is. When the first Twilight movie came out, they basically did everything I said that would make it a better story. So who’s the obtuse one now, random internet troll?! ↩
- Not that you can tell the difference, honestly. ↩
- Among a host of other powers. Seriously, vampires in Twilight have a skill set that is as poorly defined as Superman’s powers were in the 50’s. ↩
- Of course not. If you did, it’d still be on the air, damn you. ↩
- You might wanna get a sandwich for this part, it’s going to take a bunch of explaining. ↩
- With that name, I’m surprised that the character wasn’t created by Stan Lee. ↩
- Which I’m pretty sure is vampire for “Dude who is not even 1/8th as interesting as the chair Voldemort sits in”, for the record. ↩