Breaking Dawn Part 2 Thumbs Its Nose At Fandom And Hollywood And Transcends Its Franchise
By Alex Cranz
I hate irony. I despise it with a passion. I hate how it’s used as an excuse to be racist and sexist and I hate how it’s an excuse actors and creators use to avoid criticism. For so long the people putting the Twilight Saga on our screens have winked at the audience and chuckled and haven’t taken things seriously and expected us to just sort of roll with the less than stellar stuff they put out.
As I’m always kind of aghast at the popularity of the massive romance novel with very little sex I’ll admit it never bothered me too much. It was like the actors and director were winking at me saying it was okay to get blitzed on Blue Moon and chortle through the film. They got how silly it all was and wasn’t it terribly ironic (they weren’t using the word right in this context so don’t be hatin’ on me Sis).
Then Bill Condon took over the reigns of the franchise and given the same able scripts from Melissa Rosenberg said “F” you to irony. He would not joke about this junk. He would not wink. Or sigh.
He took the love affair of a baby and a werewolf fucking seriously man.
And holy hell does it work.
It’s like he sat the cast down and said, “Look, I know this movie features a prescient baby and an ending that is so anti-climatic it would send an orgasm back in time so orgasms would never exist–and no don’t ask me to explain that. I’m four margaritas into this meeting and I don’t have the time. Back to the baby and shit, it’s crazy. But you made it through the back-breaking delivering and the accidental physically abusive sex to come to this point. So I don’t give a shit. You will suck it up and you will act like this freaky CGI baby is the most important thing in your motherfuckin’ lives and you will act the HELL out of your love and respect for this creature.”
And the cast, shocked by Condon’s drunken blue language mutely accepted their task and they went to town treating this stuff like Schindler’s List or something. Take Bella for instance. After awakening to her new life as a marble statue (and forcing me to draw uncomfortable parallels between this franchise and The Vampire Diaries) she finds that Jacob has taken to calling her daughter by the much more palatable “Nessie.”
“LOCH NESS MONSTER” she rages before nearly beating Jacob to death over a nickname. Man, I’m glad he didn’t go with something racist. She would have put his head on a pike and paraded it through the land of the mute werewolf indians–that’s right. I said mute. Pretty sure Jacob was the only one to talk. The wolves had more lines than their human counterparts and all they do is growl.
After being understandably and legitimately upset over her best friend FALLING IN LOVE WITH HER BABY and having to hear him imply that he only ever loved her because of an unfertilized egg in her ovary and then hear him and her smirking husband try to explain the pedophilia with magic Bella took a moment. Centered herself and became the Caroline Forbes of Forks, Washington.
Let’s make this clear. Vampirism accidentally becomes an allegory for motherhood in this movie. Bella goes and makes the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter (dying) and comes back as the perfect woman fueled by love for her family. And when I say perfect I mean more than the CGI smooth skin and fabulous hair. She’s new to the world of vampirism and already better at it than everyone else. Coincidentally everyone else? Not a biological mom! Bella isn’t just stronger than the jock, and possessing better control than a centuries old Peter Facinelli with some Spike-ass hair. No she’s got a magic shield that protects anyone she loves.
I don’t know whether to be delighted or alarmed by Super!Bella sashaying in and having inhuman (ha!) self-control and a penchant for crushing rocks with her pinky and having sex for days on end. I want to be alarmed at the idea that women need motherhood to be fulfilled, because that’s definitely something touched on.
But…but…I am just too busy being entertained.
This is like Star Trek or Xena. The stuff coming out of people’s mouths is just so ridiculous but they’re treating it so deadly seriously that they force you to be charmed with their dour faces, private cottages and islands, and well-dressed globe-trotting friends (except for all the non-white people who seem to have fallen out of a less than topless issue of National Geographic).
And then, just when you can be charmed no more because things are getting pretty tedious even as they remain absurd, Michael Sheen shows up and eats your face.
He comes right out of the screen with a bottle of Chianti and a side of fava beans and eats your face. Half this film is CGI because he clearly ate the scenery before shooting. Sheen never winks. He’s never coy. He’s just batshit crazy and loving it. And his joy is infection. Taking root in your very soul and perverting you to the point that all that occurs is pleasurable.
It helps that he’s surrounded by other incredibly game actors. Dakota Fanning splashes on some really bad blue eyeliner, winks at llbff Kristen Stewart and then squints a lot, causing characters pain and her audience utter delight. Billy Burke monitors the proceedings via helicopter, taking potshots at wolves and sighing wearily, becoming the audience as he stares at the story unfolding in bewilderment.*
And that weird little prescient girl stares. A lot. She learned it from her dad. Only her face is superimposed on a tiny baby and then a toddler so you’re so disturbed by her visage than when you finally see it sans CGI you still feel an instant moment of repulsion. She’s the uncanny valley ALIVE and Bill Condon and company totally did that on purpose.
And after an hour and a half of exquisite and bizarre joy and uncontrollable laughter the climax arrives quite unlike the book.
It’s transcendent schlock. It’s so perfect the audience I was with sat in stunned silence. Whether you’ve read the book or not you are forced to watch agog as things unfold in absolute perfection.
It isn’t the least bit ironic. It’s Rosenberg and Condon’s giant middle finger to every fan and every hater in existence. It is the biggest dump on Hollywood since The Player–laughing as it drops its load and daring them to continue to snicker and mock the creative team. And it is the biggest slap in the face to fandoms since Haruhi Suzumiya played the same episode for eight weeks in a row and called it a time loop.
It is perfect and takes a middling franchise with outstanding success and makes it something…glorious.
*The helicopter/dead wolf thing doesn’t actually happen. But in my heart it did and he is also pitch perfect in his scenes anyways.