I've finally done it.
This is Breaking Dawn.
With every one of these movies, I further questioned my decisions. This one was no different, but it did do a few things right.
For one, I loved the cast of side characters. I really wish we got to spend more time with them. Seriously, it's like the only uninteresting characters in these movies are Edward, Bella, and Jacob. And Carlisle a bit, he's kinda dull. But everyone else has things like internal conflicts and interesting back stories and, like... personalities. Seriously, half of the side characters could carry an entire show all on their own. What the heck are they doing as side characters?
Also, the action sequence was great. There was no over-use of shaky cam, so we were able to follow the action. Lots of cool kill shots and beat-em-up action.
But that also brings me to the two things that bothered me the most. Not just with the movies, but with the books as well.
And I can't NOT talk about them.
Magic. And Dreams.
There is a massive genre shift in the series at this point. I mean yes, we've had it established that vampires get super-powers, and that's fine. But these were almost all restricted to things like psychic powers. Like Dakota Fanning (I can't be bothered to look up her character name) can cause pain with a look, Alice can see the future based on decisions people have made, Bella can shield her mind. Awesome, that all makes sense. Even shock-touch lady I can get behind. I didn't see it the way this director did as lightning bolts shooting across her fingers. I always saw it more as a toned-down version of Dakota Fanning's power, but there's something to be said for Artistic License, at this director tried to make everything mesh tone-wise.
But then we're introduced to a character named, disgustingly to me, Benjamin. He can control the classical elements.
Seriously, WHAT? Am I watching Twilight or Avatar: The Last Airbender?Seriously? I mean, you couldn't give him the ability to use Telekinesis or something, it's specifically controlling the four elements? Really?
How could Stephanie Meyer write that and not think “This may be waxing a teensey bit fanficy.”
I just, can't even... I mean, seriously people? Seriously?
But that's not the only problem here.
The other big problem is Dreams. Specifically, “It was all a dream.”
Our big climactic battle, where Carlisle and Jasper and a bunch of wolves and other vampires die, is all a dream just so we can have one big happy ending.
Listen up. I don't want one big happy ending. Let there be consequences. Unless you don't think it's appropriate in a book directed at teenagers for characters to die. If J.K. Rowling taught us anything, killing characters is a terrible idea. I mean it doesn't help to build tension or give a conflict a sense of real risk at all. Gosh.
That said, these movies weren't that bad. I've seen Adam Sandler movies that were way worse than this and probably had twice the budget. That said, I've seen movies with probably a third of the budget of this that were much, much better.
Overall, this series of movies had a lot of potential, sadly most of that potential is limited to side characters, small genuine moments, and stories that never get explored. I think that's the Twilight franchise's greatest crime. Who cares about the mythology of Vampires and Werewolves that they spit all over? No vampire or werewolf movie doesn't change the mythology and the rules to fit their needs. No, the biggest crime of this series isn't that. It's that there was some real potential, and it gets squandered.
Would I watch this series again? Probably not, but I can at least understand why some people do like it as much as they do. I think it suffers the most from staying too true to the books. While I think the romance angle could have really worked for this series, they really needed to overhaul the love interests to make it work. Edward, Bella and Jacob's entire relationships are so contrived and end so stupidly neatly that it really bothers me. Further more, the shows could have really benefited from exploring some of the characters and side stories that are ignored both in the books and in these movies.
You're not missing much if you pass by The Twilight Saga, but it's interesting to see something that became quite the cultural phenomenon and brought vampires into the mainstream in a very big way.