Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2": Family values for the immortal (and not just vampires)


The Twilight Saga, just like Harry Potter, became not only a movie franchise, but it spawned a franchise within itself, the last two “Breaking Dawn” movies.  The nomenclature gets rather uninteresting, like organic chemistry.

Now that Bella (Krosten Stewart) has given birth to the precocious Renesmee (acKenzie Foy),  we’re somewhat in post-“Rosemary’s Baby” territory. Bella was still human when she conceived, but now he has all the perks of having married a vampire. The child is supposed to be “normal”, but maybe not, and the enemy cla, the Volturi, is coming after her.

The first two-thirds of the film seems to have a lot of perfunctory dialogue and loose ends (when compared to tightly plotted sci-fi like “Inception” and “Cloud Atlas”).  There is a whole lineup of familial characters.  They may be needed because Bella gets instruction from a quote from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, “Gather as many witnesses as you can before the snow sticks to the ground. That’s when they’ll come for us.”  But when the forces gather for a great Shakespearian battle on a wintry plain, it all cuts loose.  I never saw such artful decapitations (putting “An American Werewolf in London” and “Wolfen” to shame).  
The film ends on a high note, with the familiar song “A Thousand Years”, and the family reunited.

I’m not a fan of what they do to Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), making him wan and fragile looking. Taylor Lautner is back as Jacob Black – and who wouldn’t want to have the intelligence of a man, the cunning of a wolf, and the ability to choose and flip between the body of a super  wolf and a super-fit 20-year-old man.  (Even Richard Parker, the tiger in “Pi”, can’t flip.)   If you look closely, you can tell that continuous scenes were shot months or even years apart, as Lautner’s body was actually changing during the period as his adolescence ends and manhood begins (although, remember, he hosted SNL at age 17  - he turns 21 in February 2013).

The film (from Summit) was shot in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Louisiana (for the indoor stuff).  There was one reservoir scene that looked familiar to me from the Cascades in Washington State.  The budget as $120 million, maybe the largest ever from a supposedly “independent” studio.  The link is here

Note in the trailer, how Bella says she found herself after eighteen years of being “utterly ordinary”.  Is it that important to be special?

Wikipedia attribution link for Mt. St. Helens picture.  I visited it in 1990, and flew over a few months after the eruption in 1980.  The movie has one scene based on volcanism.  

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