“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-- Part Two”
The final installment of the series based on Stephenie Meyer’s books will feel satisfying to the true fan, and a bit stultifying to the casual viewer, especially if this last one is viewed without the background of the first four films.
But just in case you’re unfamiliar with the background: the three main characters are Edward (Robert Pattinson), Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and yes, it is a kind of love triangle, but more than that, Edward is also a vampire and Jacob is also a werewolf. Edward is not supposed to romance Bella, because she’s a human, but though she also likes Jacob (we’re not even going there with the real-life parallels of the actors), and though she spent a long time not being able to make up her mind, finally, she marries Edward, and even, improbably, has a child by him, a daughter, Renesmee, but Jacob’s werewolf imprint attaches itself to the baby, so he remains in the picture, and the relational tensions will continue to propel the story forward.
As this movie begins, the three main characters are hanging out with the local vampires, somewhere in the wooded wilds of upstate Washington, watching the baby grow extraordinarily quickly (yes, as a half-and-half, she has some of the vampire characteristics, like defying gravity and extrasensory perception, but she’s not immortal, as the other full-bloods are).
With echoes of Greek mythology, the Volturi, who are the god-like super-vampires who live together, not on Mount Olympus, exactly, but in some kind of fortress-of-solitude type of underground war-room, decide that the very existence of Renesmee breaks the rules. And the perpetrators need to be punished. This sets up a showdown scene between the black-caped vampire gods and our earnest little band of human-friendly vampires, along with some of their closest friends, whom they’ve known for oh, several hundred years or so.
Yes, prepare yourself for some viewer deception here, as the big cosmic battle turns out to be not quite how it was first presented. But other than the CGI-enchanced fight sequences, we sort of settle into a cheesy teen romance mode, where Taylor Lautner has to take his shirt off at least once, and Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart roll in the clover (or field of flowers, or whatever) and make moon eyes at each other and pledge their undying love, which has more teeth to it (pun intended) as vampires, because they really are going to live forever. While all the humans around them get old and die like normal people.
Well, even if Stephenie Meyer were to start writing a sequel today, by the time another movie was produced, the current star-crossed trio would have aged sufficiently to not appear to be permanently preserved any longer. So we’ve probably seen the last of them in these roles. But considering all the Team Jacob vs. Team Edward hoopla, along with the fact that all three are now A-list Hollywood celebrities in their own right, they made quite an impact over four years of pop culture, which is its own kind of immortality.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas