At Least The New Twilight Movie Gives The Nerds Some Closure.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.
Director:
Bill Condon.
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel).
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen.

Everyoneâ��s favorite well-coiffed vampires and shirtless werewolves are back for the final installment of The Twilight Saga — the first true fan franchise (see: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.) targeted at girls and unexpectedly popular with those girls' moms.

Since the release of Stephanie Meyer's first Twilight book in 2005 and the first film adaptation in 2008, the Saga has created a crater in pop culture so huge that probably could have wiped out the dinosaurs. Now, though, as all things must, it has come to an end (at least until Hollywood reboots it in a few years).

But does the second part in a two-part conclusion from director Bill Condon close the lid on the coffin nicely or does it violently drive a stake into the whole thing?

Well.

While the film starts out hopeful with some interesting camera tricks and a style we've not quite seen brought to the series, it quickly melts back into the cheese and butter we're all use to by now. The hyper-stylized, fast-moving-yet-slow-motion “Vamp Vision” we get a taste of as the newly turned Bella (Kristen Stewart) gets her first taste of blood is enough to get even the softest of Twihards a little into this flick.

Unfortunately that sparkle quickly fades. The effects quickly move to laughable vampire acrobatics, silly green-screen environments, a variety of second rate X-Men-like vampires dressed in bad outfits and even worse stereotypes, and creepy CGI babies that don't even quite rival the effects of an E*TRADE commercial.

Seriously. Don't even get me started on that baby.

Granted, I realize that a film cannot be judged on its special effects and CGI alone, but the story itself and the cast of characters interwoven with it aren't much better.

Yes, that's quite disappointing considering the talent Breaking Dawn Part 2 has managed to gather.

Aside from vampire veteran Robert Pattinson, who I have found to be a genuinely good actor in his other work, Michael Sheen is the one ray of light in this otherwise bleak Dawn. While we've had mere moments with him in the other films, here he has a chance to turn things up to 11. As a result, the award-winning actor seems like he may be the only one in one the joke, as his dastardly Volturi villain, Aro, is so over-the-top and soap operatic, it's worthy of a praise not unlike his own odd noises of elation upon meeting Edward and Bella's miracle daughter for the first time.

But a few isolated performances, moments and even a crowd-pleasing closing battle between the Volturi and the V-Men (featuring more heads being ripped off than I've ever seen in a movie, let alone one rated PG-13) aren't enough to save The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 from, well, sucking.

Then again, it's not like any of these things really matter to the die-hard Twihard fans. They'll likely love this film no matter what, as it becomes repeatedly apparent throughout its 115-minute runtime that it was very much made specifically for them. As the film closes on a fan-pandering and nostalgic montage look back at the Saga's major moments (ending, of course, where it all began in a meadow with our two undead eternal love birds glistening in the sun), you get a glimpse into what it's like for someone who has been connected to this story over the past five years.

So more power to these fans. If they enjoy it and feel closure, that's all that really matters.

No one else really cares.

Rating: 4 out of 10 creepy CGI babies.

Also out this week…

Anna Karenina
Director:
Joe Wright.
Writer: Joe Wright, Leo Tolstoy (Book).
Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Johnson, Jude Law.
Synopsis: What? Keira Knightly in a period piece? Shocker. Except not at all: This latest big screen adaptation of Tolstoy's 1877 novel comes from Joe Wright, the director of — yep, you guessed it — a couple of other period pieces starring Keira Knightly (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement).

Silver Linings Playbook
Director:
David O. Russell.
Writer: David O. Russell, Matthew Quick (novel).
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, this latest film from director David O. Russell (The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings) stars Bradley Cooper as a former teacher turned recently released mental patient and Jennifer Lawrence as the young crazy he falls in love with in the midst of trying to repair things with his ex-wife. And hey, Chris Tucker is in it, so there's that!

*Lincoln earns its wide release this week, too. For a synopsis of that film, check out last week's review of Skyfall.

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