08 June 2013

#2LR - Breaking Dawn, Part 2 with a Thankful Assist from "Rifftrax"

There they were.  Aligned on two sides of a snowy field, all waiting for the signal to start.  There is a brief parlay, representatives of one side bridging the gap to meet with the leaders of the other side.  Negotiation seems to calm the leaders of the other side... up until the leader makes a bold, decisive choice to cut the insurrection off at the head.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?  If I were to talk to you about the Twilight series without actually telling you that it was the Twilight series, I may be lucky enough to talk you into it.

I mean, think about it.   You have vampires hiding out in broad... err, cloudy daylight.  A pack of werewolves who are the vampires' enemies.  Other vampires who are also rogue vampires that must be brought to justice.  An international vampire cabal that tries to keep a lid on things but is kind of self-indulgent and unpredictable.  And the "good" vampires, a definite twist in the story, who are trying to do the right thing.

With that being said, let's delve into the mind of Stephenie Meyer one last time, by watching Breaking Dawn, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

(Spoiler Space here on in, because I would absolutely be MORTIFIED if I spoiled this film for you.)

If you don't remember the previous movie, you didn't miss much.  Ahem, in essence the movie was about Bella's marriage, Bella's honeymoon, and the demon spawn growing inside of her.  At the end of that movie, Edward had just about enough of Bella's complaining and finally turned her into a vampire.

As this movie begins, we get to meet what little subplot existed in the story... Jacob has now "imprinted" (remember, werewolves are like baby duckies!) onto the two-minute-old child and is now her guardian and lover wrapped up into one neat woofy package.  The child is unfortunately named "Renesmee" (yeah, remember when that was a fad, giving poor kids bad names?)  and the rest of the movie is devoted to Renesmee's defense.

Yes.  The two-minute-old child is now the Golden Child, and the rest of the movie is about keeping her alive at all costs.  Why?  Dunno.  Is she going to do something awesome later?  Dunno.  But, Bella really really cares about keeping her alive, so it matters... because Bella is the heroine and all.  And oh, by the way... I can't believe that I forgot this, but as I was listing the other issues of this movie, I neglected to mention that they literally digitally overwrote a face onto the baby.  Holy heck, that's off-putting.

Anyway, Bella is now a vampire, and she quickly proves to be better than Edward in running, can beat Emmitt in arm-wrestling, and can pulverize rocks with her feet.  Oh, and she also has one of the most awesome powers for vampires (remember, vampires get their own mutant powerz when they turn into vampires!)  See, she can prevent all the other vampires from using their powers on her, she's a shield!  So, to sum it up, she can beat up anyone she doesn't like, is better than them physically, AND she can prevent other vampires from affecting her AND the ones she loves too.  I'm so glad to see Bella overcoming all those obstacles put in her path.

About ten-fifteen minutes into the film, Alice leads Bella and Edward to their new house.  Yes, their new house... no down payment, mortgage, or anything.  It's fully furnished with a reinforced bed so that Bella and Edward can go after each other like crazed wildebeests, and also has a nursery for Renesmee to sleep in.  Two quick notes about that... there's no couch for poor Jacob to sleep in, so he has to share the crib.  And even my spellcheck thinks that Renesmee isn't a word.

Thankfully for Jacob, the baby is growing.  Quickly.  Not quite quick enough for legality, but hey.  The first plot point turns on Charlie finding out that Bella is now "different", through Jacob stripping in front of him.  To turn into a werewolf!  Not to kiss him or anything...  The Cullen clan flip out aggressively at Jacob, convinced that he's put Bella's dad in danger.  I yawn aggressively, this is like almost thirty minutes into this thing and there's been two plot points.

Anyway, the rest of the story finally gets revealed when another vampire sees Bella play with Renesmee as a four-year-old.  The peeping vampire goes to the international vampire syndicate and tattles... we find out in the movie that since kids are immature, they make for bad vampires 'cause they have no self-control, and the international syndicate kills the little boogers on sight.  They believe that Renesmee is a child vampire, and instantly the Cullen clan expects a problem.

The Cullen clan gathers sympathetic vampires to their side, explain the situation, and suddenly the Cullens have a small army.  Alice and... Jasper (gosh, trying to keep these names straight...) bug out somewhere else so that they can be deus ex machinas for the plot later.  The rest of the Cullen clan expects possible trouble and/or a major fight from the syndicate, and pretty much prepare the troops through the next hour or so.  Yes, all these other vampires somehow or another got talked into opposing a larger number of vampires in order to save the life of one little girl... but it's what Bella wants, and this series is not doing anything but what Bella wants.

So, remember that scene I wrote about to begin this article?  It really DID HAPPEN in this film.  I know, right?  Who would've thought?  Near the end of the movie, the Cullen allies and the syndicate face off.  At first, the syndicate seems happy that the child will cause no danger, but then the leader of the Syndicate (I'll call him Nos-fey-ratu for very pertinent reasons) decides that the kid represents a tiny sliver of control that they could claim, and then they start to fight.

And, for a change, we're treated to actual plot.  Main characters really do die here.  The syndicate outnumbers the Cullen allies about two to one, which makes scenes of three Cullens on one syndicate vampire kind of implausible, but I didn't mind.  There was actual action here!  Not really enough to engage me, but it was far better than all the talking that was going on during the first three-quarters of the movie!  Some of the Cullens die too as my mental cheering starts to take a fever pace.  Would the author be bold enough to have Edward die, leaving Jacob imprinted to Bella's daughter, and have Bella go into an absolute sublime melancholy, having no one left to mushily LUUUUV the rest of her immortal existence?  A leadership vacuum of the international vampire syndicate, leaving the few survivors to try to pick up the pieces and establish a new order?  Some sort of actual conflict in this story to give it the least shred of suspense?

Nope.  It was all a DREAM.

"As if a switch had been turned, as if an eye had been blinked, as if some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension, suddenly, there was no fight! There was no awesomeness, no plot advancement, no thing called "suspense" to be followed. "

At first I search for as many capital letters as I can find to express my disgust.  Then I remember the last four movies and think to myself, "I suppose that's what I get for raising my expectations."  After the movie goes on for one epilogue too many (there's a second extremely unnecessary epilogue to make sure that you know that Bella rulez this world completely), we get to see the cast of actors that got paid for this.  I hope that all that money was worth it, you guys.

Spoiler space over

I do try to respect the spoiler space things, even though I marked up the biggest problem with the final scene above (which probably would draw an eye if you cared to see).  It's awfully hard to address this issue with the plot in the "review" area past the spoiler space, but here goes.

There's really no challenge to be overcome for this character.  No matter what horrible scrape Bella is in, there's always someone there who is in an absolute thrall to her to get her through her problem.  If that wasn't enough, she also has one of the most boss powers a vampire could have, and can even beat up Edward, Jacob, Emmitt, or any other supernatural anything with her strength alone.  The Twilight series has the ultimate Mary Sue outside of fanfiction.  (Marrissa Picard still carries the torch for number one, though that could be because I like the Trek universe while I could care less about the Twilight one.)  We covered this before, so I know that this isn't new.

  The other characters -- nay, all the characters are pretty much cardboard cutouts.  They're describable within about five words, and little else.  For example: Alice: vampire future seer good sister.  Edward: vampire Bella worshipper.... uhh, that's it.  Charlie: Bella's dad, mustache, cop... okay, fine, five words TOPS.  To some extent, Bella is also a five-word character, but those five words are not exactly sympathy-inducing.  Strong invulnerable protagonist who two boys fight over immediately and is always protected.  Sorry, that's not five words, but I'm hard-pressed to find anything past that sentence deeper with that character.  And that's not a character that I am invested in whatsoever.  The MAIN let's-spend-eleven-hours-developing-a-story-around character.

The side effect of the character not really being put in any sort of believable danger is that there's no suspense in this.  There's no "will she or won't see?" aspect to this.  She will.  No matter what, she will.  I don't know when it was made apparent... possibly around the "death wish" phase in the second movie I suppose was the most blatant, but Bella Swan will not die.  Bella Swan will not suffer.  She may have blood on her, but big whoop.  The only people allowed to suffer are the ones around her.  And when you already know what the character will allow the story to do, there's really no reason to keep reading (watching).  Of course, that means that the plot will trundle along, not really introducing anything new... like, for instance, the Cullens turning the whole city of Forks, Washington into a colony of syndicate-hating we're-going-to-rule-the-vampire-world-now vampires.  Or, heck, *running away* and hiding.  (Heaven forbid that Bella has to deal with a little bit of hardship!)  Or taking the battle to the syndicate, picking them off one-by-one... preemptive strike, in perpetual danger of being found, "Assassin's Creed" style... oh wait, that'd imply that Bella might possibly be killed, can't have that either.  Nope, she's going to stand her ground, with all sorts of new-found allies, waiting for Alice to bring the deus-ex-machina, and the only real danger turns out to be a dream sequence.

And let's not forget again that vampires sparkle (like, only once a film though, so it's no real danger), werewolves imprint, and everybody gets l33t s|<1llz.

To sum this movie, and really the whole series... 0.0.  Ugh.  Seriously.  After that, I can't even summon the half-hearted openmindedness I had on that last review, this was just garbage.

I would like to tell the writers of Rifftrax and the performers, "Thank you."  I cannot imagine how they managed to riff these movies... I could tell that there was some hostility, mind you, but overall they did an excellent job, and the first hour was absolutely sparkling.  As the plot bogged down at about the eighty minute mark, the riffing went down in quality a little bit, but they picked it right back up for the climax scene and kept it going well through the end.

The Rifftrax for this movie: 3.1  It's one of the best they've done, but the reason it's not a 4 is that I'd have to watch the movie along with the Rifftrax again, and I'm not sure how quickly I can do that.  

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