Friday, November 18, 2011

Let’s be honest here…Cinema Siren loves sparkle as much as the next diva, but on the best of days the Twilight saga has to be reviewed on a curve. It was never meant to be Shakespeare, or even “True Blood.” Those of you who are on Team “Eric” will never find enough to sink your teeth into with the books and films Twi-hards hold so dear. That being said, “Breaking Dawn” will likely satisfy earnest fans of the series, and offer fewer eye-rolls to those accompanying them on their celluloid journey.

The filmmakers know what is expected of them. Cheerleaders for Team Jacob will offer up a pack-wide howl at knowing Taylor Lautner’s bare chest is exposed no more than 45 seconds into the film.

Not much happens in this installment, comparatively. There isn’t a big battle, because that’s being saved for Part 2. If you haven’t read the books or seen any of the movies, and you feel a vampire’s pull toward the cineplex, I will conclude a truncated review by saying here’s what you’ll get with this latest installment featuring Ms. Swan and Mr. Cullen, whom I like to call Wan and Sullen. Any further description of the film will act as spoilage:

Mope, brood, sparkle. Pledge of eternal love.
Doe eyes, ember eyes, goo goo eyes, kiss.
Mope, mope, brood, howl. Suffer.
Growl, lightstreak, growl. Blood.

For anyone who isn’t a longterm fan, this particular movie is a mildly diverting vampire romance, and if parts seem slightly ridiculous, on the whole the earnestness with which the themes of love and sacrifice are handled makes up for them.

Kristen Stewart is particularly good in her role. Her character is given quite an arc, and she bears up well spanning from pure joy to terror to sacrifice…and towards the end of the movie you’ll be left wondering just where her method acting ends and where digital effects begin. There are also lots of gorgeous locations to enjoy. If you have to take someone to this movie, you won’t suffer overmuch. And. Your spoiler-free review ends here. Continue reading at your own risk.

Twilight fans:

The first half of the final story is filmed in such a way that you will feel you’ve been given time to enjoy the wedding, the honeymoon, and the all-too-short contented calm before the fetal storm. Bella looks gorgeous in her fabled dress, which is even more beautiful than most of you might have imagined from the book. The scenes with the lovebirds finally expressing themselves is done well, inclusive of the flying feathers, but is enhanced for the movie enough to satisfy those who felt the oft-blogged “did that just happen” cheating by that part of the book. The film-makers chose the locations well, and the happier moments of this movie are created in an atmosphere that feels, appropriately, like just short of paradise.

For some of you, this movie will bring flooding back the pro-choice pro-life issue so prominently manipulated in the Twilight saga. There’s much correcting back and forth of “it,” “he,” “fetus” and “baby”, depending on who’s talking.

It still does all come down to 100 percent what Bella wants, but with that position, “Breaking Dawn” Stephanie Meyer instigates sensitive men around the world to cry foul.

There was no way around the creep factor of both the explanation of imprinting in the wolf pack, and showing Jacob doing so with a newborn baby girl. Great plot device, but still. Eewww.

Taylor Lautner is still barely passable as an actor, although for you younger swoon-prone types, his abs will make up for it. I will mention again Kristen Stewart is better than the script by a fair margin, and it will hold her in good stead come the official end of this film series. She fully committed to her character, and used her lines, however cliched, and her physical demeanor, to successfully garner compassion and understanding from the audience for her choices. She also allows for a small measure of believability that two such strapping young fellas would be so unfailingly dedicated to her.

It’s worth noting that with all the attention through the Twilight series to the great dark flamboyance of bands like Muse and Sia, the score of this movie really lacks bite. Pretty piano is for your regular garden-variety doomed romances, not for the ones where “forever is just the beginning.”

It’s been just enough years in the making that everyone seems ready to wrap up this saga and move on to the next big story of love facing insurmountable odds, “The Hunger Games.” Maybe those committed to watching this series, often more than once, can finally move on to focus on heroes and heroines who keep a pulse. That’s more than I can say for this movie series, and for “Breaking Dawn.”

Sometimes a little sparkle just isn’t enough, but it’ll have to do until someone can shed a little more articulate, witty, or deep light on the subject of teenage vampire love. Until then, brood on.