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Fun with Franchises: Final Thoughts on The Twilight Saga — Breaking Dawn Part 2

All right… we’ve watched the film, talked about it, had fun with it, and then we went and listed our favorite images from the film yesterday. Now all that’s left is to finish up with what we actually thought about the film as a whole.

This is our space to go over what we liked and didn’t like about each film we watch for Fun with Franchises. We talk about specific things as we get to them during the articles, and we’ll mention our general thoughts during them, but we don’t really ever get to sit and do broad strokes during the articles. So this is why we do these Final Thoughts. We get to take a step back and talk about the films as a whole, rather than discussing specific scenes or images. We’ll talk about how we felt about the film, how we liked it as a film, how we liked it as a member of its franchise, and where we think it falls within that franchise.

Again, it’s not very complicated, but it is a place to find out what we actually thought about certain movies, since, while we’re having fun with them in the articles, it may get difficult to tell sometimes. Because we’ll just rip things to shreds for fun, even if we love them.

So here are our final thoughts on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2:

Final Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2:

Colin:

This is the best Twilight film.

That’s sort of like saying melanoma is the best cancer.

Do I really need to go through this? This franchise’s greatest accomplishment in five films was getting greenlit for four sequels after that abomination of a first film. We’re here to sum up the Part 2 when there never should have been a Part 1; a fifth movie when there shouldn’t have been a second. Or a first.

Okay, I will concede that I laughed my ass off at the beginning of this movie. Mike told me I would and he was right. But it wasn’t the sort of self-aware funniness that you get from a legitimately funny movie. This was from sheer ridiculousness and utter disbelief. If you’re deluded enough to argue that this was intentionally funny, I need only point out that Kristen Stewart literally jumped the mountain lion. That’s the moment where your instinct is to go, “Are you fucking kidding me?” The only reason you don’t is that after four movies, you know they aren’t. So you laugh because you’re actually watching this happen. It’s more of an, “Oh man, the universe is a fucked up place” than it is approving of anything that occurred. Nobody’s watching this like, “That is FRESH!”

That entire last paragraph was one long qualification, and I think that’s an accurate way of summing up this franchise. The whole thing is in need of a qualification. My friends and coworkers would ask me, “What’re you watching recently?” and rather than lie, I’d tell them I was carefully watching the Twilight movies. “But,” I’d continue, “it’s for a blog that I’m working on that covers film franchises. Let me clear — I really don’t like these movies.” And they sort of nod strangely and change the subject.

My biggest problem in calling this a decent movie — other than the fact that it isn’t — is that sequential franchises cannot exist as standalone films. Harry Potter’s last two films were great, but I wouldn’t recommend watching them unless you’d seen the other six. This is also why when we ranked the Bond movies, I had no trouble putting a definitive numerical value on each movie EXCEPT Quantum of Solace, which is the only one that relies on its contiguity with the previous film. If you watched Casino Royale, there are a lot of things to like. If you didn’t, you’re probably a bit lost. So here we are with the last film in the Twilight series, which requires you to watch Breaking Dawn Part 1 (an execrable movie) at the very least, and probably much more than that, for it to mean anything. In the context of Twilight, this is the best film, but it’s only any good at all because of what’s built up to it, so in order for you to ‘enjoy’ this movie at all, you first have to subject yourself to a bunch of shit. And that makes this not a great movie and not worth recommending to someone.

And even then, it’s a mediocre film at best. So really, this is like saying, “The pizza place four towns over is slightly better than the one in our town.” Fuck it. I’m not going to the trouble of driving through four towns to enjoy something slightly.

What was good? The same things that have been good about other movies — Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, black guys who look at you while drinking. I could almost say that the battle was enjoyable, but it was ruined by the fact that we knew from the start that it was fake. If you understand how the world works (read: if you’re a cynic), you caught that shit immediately, and the whole thing was an empty gesture that took no risks, had no guts, and ended with a big ‘fuck you’ to the audience. Really, it was Dakota, Michael, and the black guy. That’s what was good about this movie. The cinematography was good, which made it interesting because of how it almost didn’t fit. Like if they got Roger Deakins to shoot a Nickelodeon show.

Yeah, I laughed a few times during this film. But my biggest laugh was a giddy, insane laugh at the end when I turned off the movie and resolved to never see it again.

This franchise was a misallocation of matter and spacetime.

My Final Thoughts:

I am amused.

I’m amused because these made money.

I won’t say I’m amused that they got made, because, by all accounts, the first one should have failed miserably. The only reason they made the last four was because they were printing money with these movies. Which I can accept.

And to be honest, the movies get almost passable as you go along. The way I explain it to people is that the first movie starts about eight feet underground, and by the time they get to this one, it’s just below the surface of acceptable. Topsoil, if you will.

So, comparatively, this is the best film in the franchise. Which, as Colin said, is like picking your favorite type of cancer.

I really think this film can be summed up by “All the Shitty Has Built to This.” And honestly, for the first part of this movie — all of Part I in the articles — it was hilarious. Everything that happened in this movie was just absolutely hysterical. Because of all that built up to it. The exchanges, the deer asshole — I was actually completely un board with this movie until they walked inside that house. And then they went and did the Volturi thing, and I tuned out. But then they brought in Lee Pace, and I got sort of more interested, but then it sucked for a while and I gave up hope.

But then there was that entire battle sequence. And, while I knew this whole thing was going to be bullshit and amount to nothing — I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I mean, sure, they waste a half hour of screen time (technically more) on this battle, only to go, “Oh, actually, this never happened. So this all actually ends in about ten minutes of real time.” But on the other hand — they are pretty consistent. Film two, they negate the climax. Film three, they negate the climax (different kind), film four, they negate the climax. So it’s not like we should be surprised by that at all. I almost want to respect them for being so consistent in not giving us a satisfying story throughout an entire franchise.

Colin hit it right on the nose in that, while this is the best movie in the franchise, the only reason it’s so enjoyable is because of the other four movies worth of shit you had to sit through to get that enjoyment. There are brief moments of actual good stuff in the first four movies, and once you collect that and put it all together for this movie, it amounts to about twenty minutes of worthwhile enjoyment. Which is about right. Twenty minutes of worthwhile enjoyment. That’s this franchise. Put five movies together, and you can probably edit it down to maybe one worthwhile movie, if you stretched it.

I think we’re about done with this franchise. I sure as hell won’t plan on ever watching these movies again. I’ll reread these articles, which will suffice.

To sum up — I’d say, to rank the films, which I try to do when I’m done with a franchise — this is the best, and Breaking Dawn Part 1 is second best, with New Moon third (and a distant one at that), with Eclipse fourth (though, honestly, I almost want to switch those two, not that I really give a fuck. God, the more I think about that the more I never want to watch these movies ever again), and Twilight a distant, distant fifth. That movie was such dogshit it’s astounding.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. At least now we’ve seen these movies, and can no longer be accused of hating something we’ve never seen. Now we’ve seen them, and have born witness to the piece of shit that is this franchise. Hopefully we got some good comedy out of it. That was really the end result.

And now we can move on.

I guess there’s really only one thing left to say. Which is —

ARTIFICE!

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow we start the next franchise. And therein, as they say… lies the rum.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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