I’m not even going to bother dissing this movie. That would be predictable and it has been thoroughly covered by many other reviews on many other sites. I will say that while I’m not a twihard, I do have a secret penchant for bad films; the ones that are so bad they are thoroughly awesome. I suspected this may have been one of those films so I was eager to see it.
There are positives to this film, like it being the last one so surely the hype has to begin to die off soon and stop clogging up my facebook feed with countdown timers and sparkly white people. So that’s the positives dealt with.
It pays to remember with films like Breaking Dawn, Part II is that TV, books and movies are supposed to be about stimulating the imagination. So my standard coping mechanism was to apply that belief to this film (related: also applied gin) and the end result is that I loved it, possibly putting it in my top ten. Well, top one thousand at least.
It’s kind of like how when I finally sat down and watched all of Prison Break, right down to ‘the final break’ TV movie, I spent the following two days wandering around with a Thousand Yard Stare and attempting to calibrate the horror ending to what until that point had been a reasonable series, and finally decided that it would be best to just pretend the last episodes with the whole ‘wife goes to prison, dude electrocutes himself getting her out but it’s ok because he had a terminal brain tumor anyway’ story-line just didn’t exist and the series ended with Michael flicking T-Bag some gum before shunting him back off to prison. Or choosing to believe that the movie Swordfish was a spoof, which actually turned it into an intelligent send up of the genre. This approach has made many, many bad movies and TV shows not only endurable, but enjoyable (nothing could save War Games 2 though sadly).
So on to Breaking Dawn: Part II and how to make it watchable.
First, I pretended KStewart was actually an Irish Setter, which is easy because like an Irish Setter, Stewart’s facial expression for abject terror is identical to her facial expression for extraordinary bliss. Being an Irish Setter, she can’t help but jerk one eyebrow and twitch the corner of her mouth and cock her head a little, no matter the situation. In this regard, the only thing missing from her acting was the occasional panting and tongue hanging out one side of her mouth. In her defense though, this time around she did give ‘Seriously Angry Face’ a red hot try, which is an improvement on the other films.
Next, I played the swapping game. The idea here is to use cognitive dissonance to your full advantage, block out scenes that were truly unwatchable and perform an imaginary exchange whereby they are replaced with better ones, even if they are entirely made up.
For example, take the grisly scene when the baby is introduced. It possibly wasn’t intended to be grisly, but the CGI’d baby scared the pants off me. I actually recoiled in my seat and kinda went, ‘whoa….’. So lets pretend that scene doesn’t exist, and use that time to fully explore how Bella practiced and worked on her powers, rather than showing her try it once and then master it in the heat of battle. Actually we can remove the cringe worthy, ‘you nicknamed my baby after the Loch Ness Monster?’ scene and apply that time also. Removing all the cheesy one-liners would free up a good hour of film time, but without completely changing the plot one could only really fill it with vamps showing off their super powers, at which point it’s time to just give up and watch X-Men.
Of course, the biggest swap out of them all would be deleting the last 10 minutes of the film; actually everything after the ‘it was all a dream’ realisation, and that, in my head, became this epic ending to a series where they are all a little elated to be free of the Volturi, mourning Carlisle and Jasper and whoever else went down, and the Cullins default to being the new authority over the vamps. Winning ending, if I say so myself.