Run away!  We're free!  Free from this God forsaken franchise!

Run away! We’re free! Free from this God forsaken franchise!

I want to state something unequivocally before I start this review: the “Twilight” series is ungodly, unfathomably, irredeemably awful.  Stephanie Meyer shat out four books (and one novella) that fly in the face of basic character development, story arcs, pacing, monster mythology, science, geography, human interaction, human decency, consistency with in-universe cosmology, any advances made by the feminist movement, and ways to keep your audience interested in your story.  These four books were then turned into five major motion pictures that wear their mercenary tactics on their sleeves, feature horrid acting, worse dialogue, and even worse special effects, and at this point (for reasons I’ll get into in this writing) can hardly be denied as a naked cash grab by the studios exploiting a teen female base they know will see these movies in droves as long as they’re loyal enough to the extremely shitty source material.  It is to our culture’s everlasting detriment and shame that this series has achieved the success that it has, and now that its finally come to an end, we will all be better off when it is quickly and rightfully forgotten in the next five to ten years.

With that out of the way, I whole-heartedly recommend you see “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” immediately.

Not because it’s good.  Oh God no.  If anything, the worst aspects of the films thus far are cranked to eleven in this final installment.  But oddly, the entertainment factor sky-rockets as a result.  The previous “Twilight” films had their unintentionally hilarious moments, but that didn’t make them any less of a slog to sit through.  This one?  I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.  I truly have never seen another film like it.  All of the bullshit that the “Twilight” series has stacked up until now finally collapses on itself, and the results are spectacular.

I should probably start at the beginning, which itself is rather sudden.  The credits roll (surprisingly quickly) over the winter landscape of Washington with the trees turned red.  I know it’s an odd thing to criticize, but credits can do just as much to create a mood as anything else in the film (like the Richard Donner “Superman” credits for example).  This one throws you right in with no warning, as if the filmmakers want to get this over with like the rest of us do (and can you blame them?).

Bella wakes up after being turned into a vampire by Edward at the end of the previous installment.  I’d like to take a minute to remind you all and catalog the numerous occasions where Bella has almost died in the previous four movies:

– Almost run over by a van in her school parking lot
– Almost raped by a bunch of drunks while walking home from a book store
– Almost killed by a coven of bad vampires in the first film, which resulted in head trauma and a broken leg
– Sent flying across the room by Edward to protect her from his brother Jasper’s blood lust
– Almost dying from exposure while trying to find Edward in the woods after he breaks up with her in “New Moon”
– Head trauma from a motorcycle accident
– Angering other members of Jacob’s werewolf tribe
– Throwing herself off an extremely high cliff into the freezing Pacific Ocean
– Getting involved in a vampire war
– Having such violent sex with Edward it literally destroyed at least one bed
– Getting pregnant with a vampire baby that caused her to slowly waste away before it broke her spine during labor and caused her to die from such internal injuries

…And here she emerges an immortal, beautiful vampire with super strength, speed, and magic powers.  Talk about failing upwards.  Forget cockroaches!  I get the feeling at this point Bella Swan would be able to survive nuclear fallout.

Edward is there when she awakens to greet her with the awful line “We’re the same temperature now” and takes her out for a test run of her new abilities.  As they run as super fast speeds through the woods, you see instantly what’s this movie’s biggest failing: the special effects.  The green-screen and CGI in this film is so incredibly lazy it has you laughing at the simplest thing in every scene.  The running scenes in particular look like they  have Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson running on a treadmill on a soundstage.

Why even bring this up?  The “Twilight” series have always had bad special effects, back when you could clearly see the wires in the first film.  And while that’s true, the special effects in “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” are so bad you start to doubt everything you’re watching.  Every scene starts to look fake, even scenes where people are just standing in a room talking.  And both parts of “Breaking Dawn” had a combined budget of $200 million.  Wherever the money went, it didn’t go to the visual effects department, that’s for sure!

The producers of the "Twilight" films are at it again!

The producers of the “Twilight” films are at it again!

The effects become even more laughably bad when they return to the Cullen household and get their first look at Renesmee, who’s also a laughably bad special effect.  The E-Trade baby is more realistic looking than this kid!  My guess is they wanted the baby to somewhat resemble MacKenzie Foy, the actress who plays Renesmee when she suddenly ages to pre-school appearance in a scant few days (oh we’ll get to that), but wouldn’t it have been cheaper anyway to just have an actor baby that was actually there on the set instead of this  horrifyingly bad effect?

GAH!  I have to stop showing this picture!

GAH! I have to stop showing this picture!

Everyone’s happy to see Bella and Renesmee well, but werewolf buddy and perennial runner-up Jacob Black seems uneasy.  Turns out when Renesmee was born at the end of the previous movie, she and Jacob “imprinted” on each other, which is Stephanie Meyer’s convenient werewolf method of finding your soulmate without developing a proper connection or character development.  Bella, like the audience, is horrified by Jacob becoming “soul mates” (whatever that means) with her infant daughter and starts kicking the crap out of him.  The Cullens however (even Edward) seem to take the whole “imprinting” thing in stride and seem amused by Bella sending Jacob flying face first into the redwoods.

Bella even starts to go straight up medieval on Jacob when he reveals he nicknamed her “Nessie”, exclaiming “YOU NAMED MY DAUGHTER AFTER THE LOCH NESS MONSTER?!”, a line so funny many critics (including myself) have a hard time believing Stephanie Meyer actually wrote it.  Way to have priorities Bella.  Your fully grown (and frequently shirtless) best friend is “soul mates” with your infant daughter, you’re slightly miffed.  He gives her a slightly less stupid name than you did, that’s when you go ballistic.

As a side note, I really feel for the actors and crew here.  They’re given tons of money to film a movie about a woman who has her baby literally eaten out of her womb by her vampire husband, then a werewolf falls in love with said baby, and make sure it has a PG-13 rating to boot.  Concerning Jacob and Renesmee, they try to cushion the extremely unfortunate implications by having Jacob act as something like an older  brother to Renesmee in the film, but the undertones are still almost impossible to ignore regardless.  What a horrid task these people have been given.

Photo presented with comment.  I'm going to have myself a good cry.

Photo presented without comment. I’m going to have myself a good cry.

In any case, Bella eventually gets over Jacob falling in love with her infant daughter and decides to test out her powers some more.  Aside from super strength and speed, she eventually discovers that she has the ability to “project” mental shields onto others to protect them from psychic interference.  Well, isn’t that…specific.  The Cullens reason that it’s a natural amplification of her “extremely private mind”, which is the reason no one could read her thoughts in previous films.

…A potentially interesting plot point built up over five full-length movies squashed quickly with one throwaway line.  Welcome to “Twilight”, bitch!

Edward’s sister Alice later takes him and Bella out into the woods for their wedding present: a modest, pre-furnished cottage for them to live in.  I can scarcely describe how sickeningly twee this thing is, so I’ll let the picture do the describing.

Thomas Kincaid is having his revenge from beyond the grave!

Thomas Kincaid is having his revenge from beyond the grave!

They find their way into the bedroom, where Bella notes that vampires don’t sleep.  Edward chuckles, leans in and says “It’s not for sleeping”.  If possible, during this sex scene, you see even less than you did in “Part 1”.  It has all the passion and heat of doing your taxes.  Perhaps the most baffling part though, next to Edward’s family knowingly chuckling the next morning, is the orgasm.  Best I can describe it without a picture is “Bella and Edward come fairy dust.”

…Yea, it’s that kind of movie.

After the hot PG-13 lovin’ is over, the Cullens talk about faking Bella’s death so no humans will get suspicious.  Jacob is horrified by this (again, mirroring the audience), as no one including Bella seems to have considered her father Charlie, who’s been worried sick about her.  Exposing Bella’s vampirism to Charlie would be considered a vampire crime, and they’d kill both the Cullens and Charlie if it happened.  Jacob somehow solves this by exposing he’s a werewolf to Charlie, which involves taking off his clothes because of course it does.

Almost went a whole half hour with my shirt on!  It was unbearable!

Almost went a whole half hour with my shirt on! It was unbearable!

Putting together that weird shit has gone down, Charlie comes over to the Cullens’ house to visit Bella, where they instruct her how to act human (not moving so fast, remembering to breath, etc) so he won’t get suspicious.  Too bad they couldn’t have instructed any of these characters how to act human four movies ago.  Somehow I don’t think the Cullens, with their warped morals and ideals, are the best teachers for this kind of subject.  In the end, all Charlie is told is that Bella has changed, she can’t tell him how, but she’s happy.  They hug, and the riveting “Tell Charlie” subplot comes to an end.

Whew!  Almost had something interesting happen there!

Whew! Almost had something interesting happen there!

Months pass, and Renesmee grows rapidly from an unconvincing visual effect to an unconvincing flesh-and-blood child actor.  While out and about in the snow, the Cullens’ cousin Irina (given all of ten seconds of screen time in the previous film, so you know she’s important) spots them and runs off to taddle to the Volturi, the extra sinister “head of guys” amongst vampires led by Aro, played by Michael Sheen.  Irina is under the mistaken impression that Renesmee is an immortal child (i.e. a human child made into a vampire), which is a crime punishable by death amongst vampires.  We’re shown this in a flashback where an immortal child is captured by the Volturi and burned to death because it couldn’t control its bloodlust and had gotten out of control.

The "Twilight" series: presenting child murder and abuse for your teen audience's enjoyment since 2008!

The “Twilight” films: presenting child murder & abuse for your teen audience’s enjoyment since 2008!

Bella and Jacob suggest calmly telling the Volturi the truth about Renesmee, but that would be the reasonable option and the movie wouldn’t be able to justify being split into two parts, so the Cullens come back with the bullshit excuse that the Volturi want any excuse to kill the Cullens because they covet Alice’s ability to see the future.  Oh yes, Alice has precognition as her special power.  And Renesemee can apparently project her thoughts to other people by touching them, saving the screenwriters the trouble of bothering with any of that disgusting character development to bring people over to their side.

Bella is amazed that Renesmee can do this, and wonders how its possible.  Edward asks “How can I read minds?  Or how can Alice see the future?”…THAT’S A REASONABLE QUESTION YOU HACKS.  You’re vampires, not X-Men!  Stephanie Meyer, you can’t just make shit up as you go along!  This isn’t Vietnam!  There are rules!

The Cullens know they have to protect themselves from the Volturi, but apparently they’re in no hurry to come over to Washington to kill them, because the Cullens then take literally weeks to go around the world and recruit a dream team of vampires made up of the most offensive cultural stereotypes seen in a major motion picture since “Birth of a Nation”.  They recruit the Irish vampires, who all have red hair and wear wool sweaters.  They recruit the Eastern European vampires, whose accents are so thick I half expected them to say “nuclear wessels” at one point.  They recruit the Amazonian vampires, who literally show up in loin cloths and war paint.

It's really sad when "Twilight" manages to do worse stereotypes than your average WWII "Looney Tunes" cartoon.

It’s really sad when “Twilight” manages to do worse stereotypes than your average WWII “Looney Tunes” cartoon.

They start recruiting this army, all except for Alice, who has fucked off somewhere with Jasper with no explanation (maybe her agent finally got her out of this series).  All she’s left behind is a letter on the back of a page from “The Merchant of Venice”, and it takes Bella literally weeks to figure out it came from her copy of the book on her bookshelf and it contains a message specifically for her.

A picture of something that moves faster than the plot of the "Twilight" series

A picture of something that moves faster than the plot of the “Twilight” series

The note in the book suggests Bella go visit “J. Jenks”, a lawyer who has forged documents for the Cullens in the past, and has forged passports and ID’s for Jacob and Renesmee in case they need to go on the run from the Volturi.  This is a somewhat intriguing prospect and plot point, which means of course it’ll come to absolutely nothing by the end of the movie.  Still, I give credit to Wendell Pierce, the actor who plays J. Jenks and thus far the only major black character in this film, playing the part well and escaping with his dignity.  If he had been one of the vampires he’d have had to conform to their “cultural stereotype clause” and spend all of his scenes in a grass skirt with a bone through his nose.

Then again Blacula showing up in "Twilight" would be the greatest twist ever.

Then again Blacula showing up in “Twilight” would be the greatest twist ever.

Bella is naturally distraught over the thought of her, her friends, and her family getting killed and her child having to be on the run.  Gee, maybe you should have thought of this four movies ago!  She’s almost ready to run away on her own, but one of the cultural stereotype vampires who’s had all of three lines at this point says some random bullshit to her, and she decides to stay and fight.  Another subplot crushed under the filmmaker’s heels with a big fat boot.  Whew!  That was close!

The battle draws closer (seriously Volturi, on your own time guys) and Bella decides to make sure Charlie is a safe distance away by getting him a non-refundable fishing trip for him and his Native American girlfriend who he apparently hooked up with between films and we’re only meeting now in this one.  He suspiciously notes “It almost seems like you guys are trying to get rid of me…it’s working!”.  Charlie’s apathy and resignation towards these events seems to mirror my own.

Oh, this isn't Renesmee.  While on the fishing trip we conceived a daughter WHO'LL ACTUALLY TELL ME SHIT.

While on the fishing trip we conceived a daughter WHO’LL ACTUALLY LISTEN TO ME AND TELL ME SHIT.

The Volturi finally arrive and have a showdown with the Cullens in the middle of an extremely fake looking snowfield.  It’s the cultural stereotypes versus the fruity guys in robes!  Michael Sheen has brought his henchgirl with him, played by Dakota Fanning, who has the special power to inflict pain with a thought (and get special billing without saying a single line in this movie).  Bella uses his magical bullshit shields to protect everyone, and the Cullens are able to show Aro that Renesemee is not a threat, at which point he does…this.

Seriously, I can scarcely describe how much I love Michael Sheen in these movies.  Everyone else acts sullen and miserable, but he’s the one having the time of his life being positively evil!  He’s an afro and some fishnets away from being a character in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I almost get the feeling he took it upon himself to act as camp as possible to see how much he could get away with.

I'm the only one with an Oscar nomination in this series!  Who wants some?  C'mon!

I’m the only one with an Oscar nomination in this series! Who wants some? C’mon!

Renesmee has been definitively proven to be not a threat, but Aro posits to the Volturi that the Cullens and the werewolves are still a threat.  He argues that humans now have technology that could not only expose vampires to the world, but also kill them rather easily.  I confess this was one of the bigger “WTF?” moments in the movie (and that’s saying something).  Aro is clearly reaching for any excuse to kill the Cullens, I get that, but he’s not technically wrong.  Hell, since vampires in this universe are killed by fire, technically he’s already screwed since humanity has invented the flamethrower.  The whole moment though comes off as an old person grousing “Damn kids with their Facebook!”.

The Volturi really should have checked their privacy settings.

The Volturi really should have checked their privacy settings.

Alice and Jasper suddenly return though, and Alice says she has proof that Renesmee isn’t a threat, and asks Aro to share her thoughts.  Oh yea, Aro’s vampire X-Men power is that he can read every thought you’ve ever had just by touching you.  And I discovered (having never read the books) his blonde cohort played by Jamie Campbell Bower has the ability to “sense the strength of relationships”.  Who sired him?  Oprah?

It's not like Oprah hasn't sired vampires before.

It’s not like Oprah hasn’t sired vampires before.

Anyway, Alice and Aro share thoughts, and she realizes they’re going to kill them no matter what they say.  Fucking duh!  And Aro is just cheerfully going “Yep!”.

So she…roundhouse kicks him to the face and sends him flying across the field.  Wait, what?

And once he lands, he has his men rip Carlisle’s head straight off.  Wait WHAT?!

The video below is the best I could find, but see for yourself:

Yea!  The Cullens and the Volturi charge at each other and engage in the most batshit bonkers final battle I’ve seen in some time.  Vampires are killed by decapitation and fire in this series, so heads are getting ripped off left and right by vampire and werewolf alike.  And since there’s no blood for the PG-13 rating, they can do whatever they please!  Jamie Campbell Bower gets his head ripped off at the fucking jawline, and Dakota Fanning gets goddamn fed to one of the wolves by Alice!  Holy shit!!!  Suddenly this movie got awesome!

The vampires and wolves are fighting when we cut to the young Egyptian vampire the Cullens recruited, whose power is that he can control the elements (wait how can he control fire if fire kills vam…oh nevermind).  Out of nowhere he PUNCHES THE GROUND and it splits open, revealing the molten magma beneath the surface of the Earth’s crust (which is apparently only 100 feet down, but whatever it’s awesome).  Vampires and werewolves all go plummeting in, and finally we cut back to Aro watching everything go to shit around him.

And finally get the one time Bella does something awesome in the series, when Edward pulls a Fastball Special and fucking flings Bella at Aro and they twist his head off together like it’s a fucking bottle cap!  We see his head roll, and even the expression on his decapitated head is camp, but whatever!  And Bella grabs a torch and goes to set it on fire!  And we see the flames approach the camera!

AND…it was all a dream.


That was the exact reaction I heard everyone exclaim in the theater, fan and hater alike.  One guy behind us straight up exclaim “It was all a dream?!”.  But yes.  The epic final showdown we just saw is merely a future vision Alice let Aro see when he read her mind.  None of it actually happened.

This is why I recommend people actually see “Breaking Dawn: Part 2”.  “Twilight” already doesn’t know the basics of good character drama, growth, conflict, or interaction.  I’ve already told you that anything that could be possibly interesting is undone almost instantly mere minutes later.  But the climax (or anti-climax) takes it as far as it can go.  The only awesome thing we’ve seen happen in these movies…didn’t happen.  It’s five movies building up to one punchline, and the audience reaction was priceless!  I’ve never seen a franchise, or even a film in general, do this before!

I’m told in the book it was worse, where everyone gets together on this big snowfield and…they have a talk and walk away.  And while that still happens in the movie, the filmmakers at least went “We gotta give them SOMETHING.”  So hats off to them for delivering on the most entertaining thing tied to the “Twilight” series.  Doesn’t make the final product any better mind you, but at least they tried.

Ugh, now I’m depressed. Here’s a mash-up of Aro’s laugh versus Voldemort’s laugh.

That’s better. Anyway, it’s back to sullen people mumbling at each other and horrible stereotypes, because that’s what people really came to see!

Alice reiterates to Aro that she has proof that half-vampire children aren’t a threat by presenting another vampire in a fucking loincloth named Nahuel, who’s half-human himself.  He says he’s from South America, so why does he have a stereotypically NORTHERN Native American accent?  I half expect him to say “Me John BIG TREE!”

Dude, how did you get here?  Did you get on an airplane dressed like that?

Dude, how did you get here? Did you get on an airplane dressed like that?


Come to think of it, did YOU get on an airplane dressed like THAT??

Come to think of it, did YOU get on an airplane dressed like THAT??

Nahuel explains that Renesmee is not a threat and that she will come of age at seven years, which means it’ll be extra illegal for Jacob then!  The Volturi fuck off and the Cullens are left to their happy ending without having to sacrifice a thing or grow as characters.  The villains are still roaming about and are still free to kill whomever they please, but the heroes got what they wanted so this is still somehow considered a victory.

Edward and Bella are left to their own insufferable devices and live happily ever after.

…Until Rupert Graves comes along that is.