[18 November 2011]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
As critic proof as the product from Pixar or the latest in a long line of unnecessary Underworld/Resident Evil/ Saw sequels, Twilight is getting ready to spin its final endgame in the two-part trial known as Breaking Dawn. Why a film focusing on the marriage of vampire Edward and his mope-about gal pal Bella and their eventual offspring requires four hours to tell its tale will always remains a Harry Potter inspired mystery (Deathly Hallows was a massive finale, book wise). What’s even more shocking, however, are the ridiculous lengths that author Stephanie Meyers will go to maintain her disaster-piece’s market share. Having already taken the slight premise of her initial novel and blown it up to all manner of illogical proportions, Breaking Dawn drives the over the top elements into the stratosphere, creating a conclusion that’s so clueless it’s like a teenager taking an Algebra II exam.
While there are dozens of dopey decision made throughout the course of this nutty narrative, at least ten stick out as more misguided than usual. Perhaps they tread all over established cliches only to embrace the truisms later on, or spend their weak-willed ingenuity like so much birthday money before going bankrupt. Whatever the case, we have chosen to preview this piecemeal entertainment by highlighting this collection of laughable logistics. While one assumes a bit of stupidity when it comes to Twilight - scratch that, a LOT of stupidity - the concepts here are more than pathetic. Instead, they show how thin an already wafer-like franchise can be expanded in order to earn more of that sweet, sweet international box office sugar, beginning with some beefcake for the shameful soccer moms in the audience:
10. It Takes Jacob Exactly 30 Seconds to Show Off His Abs
After a title crawl that lasts about 10 seconds, the first shot in Breaking Dawn has actor Taylor Lautner walking out of his rain-soaked home/shack, invitation to Edward and Bella’s wedding in his hand. Distraught, he then precedes to rip off his shirt, flex his Tiger Beat pecs, and run off into the woods, canine transformation complete. Talk about giving the spinsters what they want right up front!
9. Vampires Are Tacky!
As she prepares to get married, Bella is faced with one of the most daunting issues in her entire time with the Cullen clan—their lack of legitimate fashion sense and taste. The entire wedding is decked out in an unusual combination of pristine white and local Pacific Northwest underbrush. It’s like being stuck in the middle of a vat of marshmallow fluff that fell into some peat moss. Yummy.
8. Vampire Weddings Allow for Too Many Toasts
Everybody it seems, from Bella’s previously under-utilized mother to a couple character BFFs get to stand up in front of everyone at this shindig and make some of the worst nuptial speeches ever. One even sings a song so cheesy that guests confuse it for hors d’ oeuvres. While funny in a kind of “aren’t these people dumb” sort of way, it more or less explains why Dracula never got hitched—the reception is just endless…and awful.
7. Wolf Packs Do Enjoy Their Non-Erotic Male Bonding
As they prepare to defend their territory and protect the treaty between vampires and werewolves, our Native American shape-shifters spend their downtime in such noble pursuits as beach-side soccer jags and semi-shirtless wrestling. With only a couple claimed females in the tribe, it seems like a lot of untapped lupine testosterone is being spent in an amiable, asexual way… right?
6. Rio de Janeiro is in Brazil?!?!
This is not actually in the film, but part of something that happened before the screening itself. A local PR person was standing before the audience, offering one of her many Twilight based prize packages when she asked a question about Edward and Bella’s post-marriage mating. When a member of the audience shouted out the name of one of South America’s most famous cities, she stopped, looked at her answer key, and then queried “Is that in Brazil?” It was the biggest laugh of the whole evening.
5. Vampires are Dangerous Lovers
When Edward and Bella finally “do it” the hokey, wholesome, tastefully tiresome physical exchange is accented by a moment when our neckbiter lets his true “manliness” out. His power is illustrated by a morning after tableau which includes a destroyed headboard, a shredded comforter, and various bruises on Bella’s body… and she wants MORE!
4. Even in the Remotest Regions of the World, There’s a Superstitious Servant to Call Out the Creatures
As part of their romantic honeymoon on an isolated island off the coast of South America, Edward employees a pair of housekeepers—one male, one female—to make sure everything is right in the love nest. Of course, the older, more rickety woman immediately starts calling everyone “DEMON” and worrying over the fate of Bella’s unborn. All that’s missing from the moment is superfluous signing of the cross…or a couple of chicken hearts.
3. Forget a Spoonful of Sugar… a Styrofoam Cup Makes the Blood Smoothie Go Down Much Easier
As Bella’s baby grows inside her—faster than any mere human child ever does, mind you—our heroine starts to resemble a Holocaust victim. Her body begins eating itself, the character’s already lithe frame becoming more and more emaciated. As usual, vampire and wolf ingenuity win out, and it’s determined that Bella’s brat wants blood to thrive (really?). But how to make the vein juice more palatable to a mere mortal? Why, a Styrofoam cup and straw, of course.
2. Almost All Monsters Know How to Perform a C-Section
Bella is dying and the unholy offspring in her belly is begging to get out. As luck would have it, Carlisle Cullen has taken this very moment to go out and feed. So the rest of the family has to jump into his in-home hospital set-up (including a machine that goes “PING,” one imagines) and start chopping. While at least one of the blood suckers has a hard time resisting our heroine’s open wound, the others deliver the spawn with satisfactory surgical focus. Not bad for a bunch of unqualified undead medicos.
1. Imprinting Is a Lot Like a Lame Music Montage
All throughout the subplot of Breaking Dawn, we learn that Jacob’s biggest problem with the whole Bella/Edward situation is the lack of a soulmate love to call his own—otherwise known as “getting imprinted.” Fans know what happens the minute he sees the cherubic Renesmee. Director Bill Condon decides to confirm this via an MTV style sequence which makes the latest video from Lady Antebellum look like Citizen Kane. The only thing more ridiculous? Edward’s declaration about the import of imprinting to the entire wolf community—who should already know this, right?