*Warning*: I spoil 100% of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 2 in this post. And there’s also a season 4 Vampire Diaries spoiler.
I saw the final installation of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 on opening night, and shall recap it here for the internet public eagerly awaiting the answer to the question, “what happens in the final film?” The short answer is, “hardly anything of consequence! The conflicts and resolutions are never real or threatening to any of the main characters! This film isn’t necessary, much like the book it’s based on, which is more like a fan-fiction satisfying, over-extended epilogue than a novel!”. But if you want the long answer, here goes:
It starts with a literal sunrise over a mountain behind the “Breaking Dawn” title shot, followed by credits, unlike the theory from my part 1 recap that they might jump right back into where the action left off. But the music for the opening credits sequence is an arrangement of Carter Burwell’s “Bella’s Lullaby” from the first movie, which was also used for the final scenes of part 1 when she was transitioning. And the credit names are presented in red but then change to white, mimicking the switch from human blood to vampire venom in Bella’s body that was illustrated in the last film, (but also mimicking the spread of snow and frost that’s happening in the background,) then the music swells in exactly the same way (is it actually the same song?) and we see her eyes become red again. So it’s not a bad transition from part 1, but there will be kind of a big lag in momentum when twihards switch DVDs in their Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2 marathon viewings. The best part about the opening credits is that Billy Burke gets 4th billing, after the trio! Totally deserved, because movie-Charlie is the best.
The first thing Bella hears as a newborn vampire is “Where I Come From” by Passion Pit, which is ironic because I thought vampires were supposed to have superior senses and I can’t decipher the warblings in this song at all. Maybe only newborn vampires can? Anyway, the first thing Bella’s newborn vampire eyes see is her beloved Edward Cullen, so long the sole object of her desire, who she can now be with forever. Wait, no, the first thing she sees is a dust particle. A whole flock of dust particles, floating in the air! She’s really fascinated by them. Then she examines her own right hand, on which she’s wearing her engagement ring. Then she looks up and sees Edward. Phew! The suspense was killing me. I wasn’t sure they were gonna work out now that she’s immortal. But don’t worry, they stare at and caress each other, and there’s zoom-y sound effects so you know she’s moving at vampire speeds now.
It kind of looks like she’s munching on his hand, but I think he’s supposed to be cupping her face? He whispers that she’s “so beautiful” and “we’re the same temperature now,” and she makes a weird reaction face to that which will be perfect for when somebody dubs different dialogue over that scene for a youtube clip someday. She stares at herself in the mirror. She hugs him, but oops, too hard, vampire strength! “I love you”s and kisses are exchanged. I’m so bored already. Where are the rest of the Cullens? Why isn’t Bella wondering about them and/or her baby? Ok now she remembers her baby but Edward says she needs to “get your thirst under control first” before seeing Renesme. So off they go!
Vampire Bella can see stuff in detailed slo-mo even though she’s running super-fast through the trees. Things like dew drops on spider webs. Her hair flies around her face while she zips between trees just looking around; it’s not the greatest CGI. Her movements are still a little awkward even as vampire. The plan is to drink some animal blood, but suddenly she smells a nearby (from a vampire’s perspective) rock-climber, who slips and cuts his knee. Fresh human blood! She wants it. She’s scrambling up a cliff-side to get to it, and now she really does look like Edward’s “little spider-monkey!” Or like something out of a horror movie. Edward stops her on the mountain before she reaches the climber. “Urgrgh, I hafta get outta here!” she growls, and I sneak a glance at the hundreds of twi-hards surrounding me and silently agree. Bella’s not kidding, though, she jumps right off the cliff. Her free-fall is not quite as badass as Felix Baumgartner’s. Anyway, she ends up attacking a mountain lion instead.
Bella and Edward return to the Cullen house unscathed. Remarkably unscathed, in fact. While I appreciate that Bella can apparently wipe her damn mouth after feeding, (unlike Elena on Vampire Diaries), girl just wrestled a mountain lion and it didn’t claw one tiny rip in her dress. This might have been a change from the book (where her clothes are ripped to shreds) to keep it PG-13, but isn’t it a little weird that in the movie where Bella is finally a vampire we don’t actually see her drink blood at all? And they never mention Renesme’s diet at all? I miss the “ask me the most basic question: what do we eat?” Edward from the first movie.
Anyway, you can tell they filmed this at the same time as part 1 because Kristen Stewart is still really thin in the face. Jake comes out to meet them and says, “You guys really look great together,” which elicits another great facial expression from Bella. It’s probably supposed to be confusion as to why he’s suddenly cool and not jealous of she and Edward’s relationship, but it’s funnier if you interpret it as annoyance that he’s not totally, wretchedly, unrequitedly in love with her. “Psh, whatever Jake, your loss. I bet Mike’s still in love with me!”
They go inside so Bella can finally see Renesme. It’s also the first time the rest of the Cullens have seen newly vampired Bella. Esme extends a “welcome to the family,” which is pretty RUDE considering Bella became “part of the family” when she married Edward months ago, not to mention that time at the end of New Moon when Esme told her “I already consider you part of the family.” So, what, she wasn’t really part of the family until she physically matched them? Good grief, this is a terribly bleak model for intercultural relationships; alter your entire being to match your boyfriend’s family and only then will his mom finally accept you. She was just being polite before.
Baby Renesme has a full set of teeth at two-days old, and is freakishly CGI’d. I mean really freaky…the little hand she places on Bella’s check (to project her memory of dying-Bella’s face the moment she was born) is almost translucent. Is there even a real baby they’re working around here or is it 100% computer generated? It’s 100% freaky, however they did it. Bella is amazed and wonders how her daughter can show others what she’s thinking. “How do I hear thoughts? How does Alice see the future? She’s gifted,” brags Edward.
Jake thinks that’s enough experimenting with Renesme’s safety, and Bella is all why-do-you-care? A nervous Jake stammers, “Look. It’s a wolf thing…” his voice cracks on “wolf” and it is hilarious. Jake’s great in this movie, if you can get over the weirdness of the fact that’s he’s, like, in love with a baby. “Take Renesme out of the room. Edward, don’t touch me right now, I don’t want to hurt you,” demands Bella. “Oh…” swallows Jake. It really is hilarious. And then Bella totally yells at him about imprinting on her baby, “I’ve held her once, ONE TIME, and already you think you have some sort of moronic wolf-claim on her?” and “YOU NAMED MY BABY AFTER THE LOCH NESS MONSTER?!” (because he nick-named her Nessie), in lines straight from the book. It’s pretty great, but I don’t think it tops “I. Will. NOT!”, my favorite line from part 1.
Alice takes Edward and Bella to the cottage that the private Cullens set up for them. “We thought you’d like a place of your own,” she simpers, and the director apparently though the audience would like panoramic shots of all rooms inside as Bella walks through them, so they can accurately re-create them in their basements. Bella stares at the bed with a catatonic expression. “Vampires don’t sleep.” Edward role-plays as Captain Obvious and answers, “It’s not intended for sleep.” The sex montage is a mixture of fast- and slow-motion making out, to represent vampire speed I guess? He rips her dress off but all you really see is their faces. Oh wait, there’s a shot of their naked toes! And her wedding-ringed finger stroking his bare chest. Because, remember, they’re MARRIED so it’s okay if they do it. Also, a vase in the foreground with some sort of dried plant in it is hiding their naughty bits from the camera.
Back at the Cullen house, they’re ignoring another call from a concerned Charlie. Emmet and Carlisle mention that they’ll need to tell him Bella died, and leave town for a few decades. Jake is not okay with that, so he zips over to Charlie’s. His underwear peeking out of the top of his jeans while he rides his motorcycle is the most risque we’ve seen from him so far in this film, but don’t worry Team Jacob-ites! He’s about to walk up to Charlie and start stripping, saying he has to show him something. It’s hilarious. Charlie delivers a terrifically quotable line that I will use next time I re-watch New Moon; “Jacob, put your clothes on,” and in response Jake drops his pants. Then he phases into wolf-form. Charlie, as always, totally kills it in this scene.
Edward and Bella are pissed that Jacob let Charlie in on the supernatural without consulting them. He tries to defend it with “I know you’ll be much happier with him in your life,” but Edward bitch-slaps back with “Don’t try to pretend you’re doing this for anyone but yourself.” But there’s no more time to argue, because Charlie’s on his way over. The Cullens give Bella a crash-course in acting human, which might have been funnier if the clip hadn’t already circulated saturated the web along with all the other promotional footage. The best part of that scene was Bella surmising, “Ok, I got it. Move around, blink, slouch,” which would also describe Kristen Stewart’s acting approach, except she left out “pull hair, bite lip.”
Charlie arrives and everybody leaves the room to give he and Bella a chance for an awkward back-and-forth, with his position “I wanna know what happened to you,” and hers “I can’t tell you.” Bella keeps asking that he just trust her, and I keep wondering what she expects him to base his trust on; she does have a habit of running off to gallivant around the world in vampire-related adventures and then lie to him about it afterwards. But Charlie gives up and agrees to be kept in the dark, and as a reward he gets to meet creepy CGI baby Renesme. He’s appropriately weirded out.
After Charlie leaves, Emmet and Bella have their infamous arm-wrestling battle, which she easily wins as The Antidote by St. Vincent plays in the background. Bella’s enjoying her newborn super-strength, but is suddenly distracted by a sunbeam and runs over to sparkle in it while she narrates a transitional voice-over:
My time as a human is over, but I never felt more alive. I was born to be a vampire. Everything was falling into place. Even the Volturi seemed to accept my status, though they’d want proof eventually…Renesme was growing too fast. We all worried about how much time we’d have with her.”
During that last bit we got quick montage of fast-growing Renesme being measured several times by Carlisle. (She’s kind of pouting because in the book she doesn’t like the twice-daily check-ups, in case you wondered why she looks so sullen.) I’m just glad we’re past the creepy CGI baby part. Now-adorable Renesme is out playing in the snow with Bella and Jake, (not hunting for animal blood like they do in the book because this movie doesn’t really want to deal with that whole blood-drinking thing when it comes to the protagonists). She jumps/flies straight up into the air to catch a snowflake. A few miles away, Irina (vampire friend from the Denali clan) sees this, and runs off before Bella can reach her to say hello. Back at the Cullen house, Edward assumes “seeing Jacob [who helped kill her mate in New Moon] must have been too much for her.”
Renesme and Edward are sitting at the piano together! Are they going to play an adorable father-daughter duet?! No, too bad, she only plays two notes. Meanwhile, Irina is tattling to the Volturi that the Cullens have “done something horrible,” and Aro is gleefully excited about the memories he’s seeing as he clutches her hand. “Oh, my!” he intones over-dramatically. (Just assume from here on out that every line from Aro is delivered over-dramatically). Aww, now Renesme is playing a duet with daddy! But then Aunt Alice ruins it with her stupid vision/vase dropping.
Turns out “Irina thinks [Renesme]’s an immortal child,” which is a child turned into a permanently emotionally and mentally stunted yet physically super-powerful and destructive vampire, which is one of the Volturi’s huge no-no’s for the global vampire population. Because immortal children were incapable of keeping vampirism a secret, and “entire villages could be destroyed with a single tantrum.” So now the Volturi are coming to punish the Cullen clan, by destroying them. Bella is indignant; “Well Renesme is nothing like those children, she was born, not bitten, she grows every single day!” Typical snob parent thinking her child is better than all the other kids! Edward thinks “maybe we can convince the Volturi to listen” to their explanation, if they can round up enough vampire witnesses. They’re all just sitting around in the Cullen house having this discussion to set the action for the rest of the movie, and it’s boring.
Twist, kind of: wolfpack leader Sam brings a note over the next morning from Alice. She and Jasper have left on an unknown mission, leaving the rest of the Cullens to go questing for friendly vampire witnesses. Bella voice-overs, “Alice’s instructions were clear, but the question remained; why would they leave us at the moment we needed them most? What did they know?” (Other questions that could also remain at this point: Why did Bella pick such a stupid name for her baby? Was this the only appearance Sam makes in this film? Why do everybody’s wigs change between films so much, and which film is which character’s best hair? How much longer is this movie?)
Bella, Edward, Jacob, and Renesme drive to visit the Denali clan (minus Irina who is still with the Volturi) in Alaska. This is potentially confusing for the uninitiated audience member, because we just heard Alice warning that “when the snow sticks to the ground” is when the Volturi will arrive to fight the Cullens, and then the very next thing we see is Edward walking through snow stuck to the ground. But Alice meant the ground in Forks, so don’t worry, we have a lot of screentime to kill before then. The Denalis freak out at the sight of Renesme and a mini-fight breaks out. Edward assures them “She has blood in her veins. I’m her biological father.” What a delightfully awkward and creepy way to introduce your offspring to friends for the first time! Can you imagine Edward sending that out on a birth announcement?
To be fair, it’s less awkward than this alternative:
The Denali clan are convinced, partly because Renesme does her mental-projection magic trick thing, even though when Bella explains that “she was born while I was still human,” Eleazar responds in astonishment, “I’ve never heard of such a thing!” Twilight-universe vampires are really sorely lacking for sex ed.
The Cullens continue collecting vampire allies to “witness” for them against the Volturi’s impending accusations. These include a four-member Egyptian coven with a young vampire named Benjamin who is a TOTAL RIP-OFF of Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, because his “special power” is that he can “influence the elements” of water, earth, air, and fire. He water-bends to show off, but Katara of the Southern Water Tribe could totally take him. (Yes, Benjamin has these powers in the book, but ATLA aired before Breaking Dawn was published. I wonder if Stephenie Meyer’s kids watched it?) Two jungle-dwelling lady vampires make a dramatic entrance through the forest to the Cullen household, accompanied by screaming birds, so we’re supposed to interpret them as “wild”, but they look more like they stepped off an America’s Next Top Model photo shoot than anything else.
Two creepy, borderline-albino vampires with ridiculous accents show up, (Vladimir and Stefan), and Jake hilariously refers to them later as “Dracula 1 and 2.” See, Jake’s really funny in this movie! Somebody also rounds up Lee Pace as Garrett, the only vampire to be shown drinking blood in the whole movie. I thought that might be to show how much he changes later when he couples up with (Irina’s sister) Kate and adopts her “vegetarian” lifestlye, but then they never really mentioned the diet thing later. Anyway, Garrett seems to have been a lot of people’s favorite this film, judging by the squee in the twitter/tumblr-verse. He’s similar to Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; a British, rock ‘n’ roll badboy who’s actually noble and romantic underneath his cool, leather-jacketed exterior.
Hosting so many red-eyed vampires is “complicated” for the Cullens because of “their thirst for human blood,” (even though it’s never addressed apart from that one line), and for the wolfpack because “as more vampires set fort in the are, more Quileutes turned, their nature compelling them to protect their home.” We get to see three Quileute kids just walking along and suddenly, hilariously, they phase into wolves. Luckily Jake managed to pull himself away from Renesme long enough to happen to be there so he could calm them with, “hey, hey, you’ll be alright,” which seems like it should be Sam’s job, but I guess that delivering that note from Alice really was Sam’s only appearance in human form in this film.
The vampires sit around the Cullen house and talk about how the Volturi aren’t really as concerned about upholding their laws as they are about acquiring the gifted vampires that Aro craves, (future-seeing Alice and mind-reading Edward.) BLUH, SO MUCH OF THIS PLOT IS MOVED FORWARD BY THEM SITTING AROUND AND TALKING ABOUT IT! Super boring. Anyway, Edward gives a mini-Braveheart-esque speech, “Carlisle may not ask you to fight, but I will. Not just for my family but for your own lives and the way you want to live them,” and pretty much everybody immediately declares “we will stand with you.”
Meanwhile, the Volturi are making their way to Forks. Oops, remember how the movies didn’t really distinguish Jane’s brother Alec and his ability to blind people in the earlier films? Well, he can blind people. He demonstrates on a Volturi victim; his blinding fog resembles death-eater movie-apparition fog.
Back at the Cullen house, the vampires are STILL SITTING AROUND TALKING, and they realize that Bella is a “shield,” and that’s why most of the other vamp powers (Edward’s mind-reading, Aro’s mind-reading, Jane’s pain projection, Zafrina’s image projection, Kate’s electroshock) don’t work on her. In a battle against the Volturi, she could “help the rest of us, if you could learn to project it.” Kate tries motivating her to expand her shield by shocking Edward repeatedly. His face when Kate says, “alright, this one’s on full power” is pretty funny. Bella is able to shield him, partially, but enough with the battle preparations, it’s time to balance them out with some family time!
Bella reads her “gifted” daughter a Tennyson poem as a bedtime story, because fairy tales are for dumb mortal children. (Or for living, if you’re Bella.) Renesme worries, “Did Aunt Alice and Uncle Jasper run away because we’re gonna die?” Bella reassures her daughter, “I don’t know.” (For real, that’s the first thing she says. Gee, thanks, mom, I feel better!) “I think they left to make us safer. That’s why all these people are here too. I’ll never let anyone hurt you,” she continues. After Renesme is tucked in, horny Edward wants to undress Bella and tell her how amazing she is, because “every obstacle you’d face, I’d think you couldn’t overcome it, and you did.” He leaves the room to draw a sexy bath for them to share, and Bella uses the alone-time to realize that Alice’s note was written on a page torn from one of Bella’s books. She gets the book off her shelf and finds a name and address, and burns the book before Edward sees it, reasoning, “Alice made sure I would be the only one to see the note, because only my mind was safe from the Volturi.”
The next day, (no, we didn’t get to see the sexy bathtime scene, you’ll have to read about it in fan fiction), Jake is surprised Bella took a break from her “Jedi-training” to drive him and Renesme to grandpa Charlie’s. (Another good one, Jake. You’re on a roll). She ditches them at Charlie’s, saying she has to run errands. I’m not sure what she narrated next, but in my notes at this point I wrote “OMG SO MUCH EFFING EXPLANATORY VOICE-OVER NARRATION! It drags,” and the next scene is her meeting with J. Jenks, (the name Alice left). He’s a shady laywer that provides Bella with fake IDs, from an order placed by Jasper when he and Alice left. There are two: one for Jake, and one for Renesme. OH NOES! Bella is sure that means “Alice’s vision was clear. Renesme would have a future, but Edward and I wouldn’t be a part of it.”
She goes home and packs an emergency bag for her daughter with the fake IDs, wads of cash, and a note that begins “My dearest Renesme, I thought we would have forever together, but forever isn’t as long as I’d hoped…” Good lord, Bella, talk about semantic bleaching! “Forever” isn’t as long as you’d hoped? Don’t you mean you won’t get to be with her forever?! “Forever” doesn’t begin and end with your personal existence! Why is this one concept so deeply fixated into your ideals and aspirations that you insist on using it even when it isn’t appropriate, and the word looses all meaning? I wish I had been keeping track of how many times the word “forever” is mentioned in this movie; I know it’s in all the trailers, (“the epic finale that will live forever!”) and they say it like three more times at the end. If I watch it again maybe I really will keep track.
To keep Charlie safe, Bella and Edward give him a non-refundable fishing trip for Christmas. “You two tryin’ to get rid of me?” he asks, “‘Cuz it’s working!” I LOVE YOU, MOVIE-CHARLIE! Jake gives Renesme a friendship bracelet that he braided out of some of his wolf-hair; (no, not really, that was a joke-lie. It’s just regular craft yarn I think). She doesn’t really say anything about it. She doesn’t really say much of anything at all. She doesn’t have much of a personality.
It’s the night before the battle. Benjamin, the Aang wanna-be, fire-bends a nice blaze, and most of the vampires sit around reminiscing about historical battles they’re participated in or witnessed, but some of them “just stand there like freaking statues,” (another great line from Jake. Imprinting totally unlocked his funny side.)
Edward confesses to Carlisle, “I can’t help thinking that I put all these people in danger because I fell in love with a human.” Carlisle dismisses his concern, saying, “You found your mate. You deserve to be happy.” “But at what cost?” wonders Edward. But don’t worry, it’s not a question that’s going to be seriously considered. The lesson here is that you should always base decisions off your emotions and hormones, go ahead and stalk that girl by sneaking into her room unknown to her every night! Because your personal “happiness” should be pursued by all means, with no thought for how it affects other people. Don’t worry about spending your time and energy making the world or other people’s lives better! Just focus on what makes you happy. Because you “deserve” it. (And if you’re a girl, just focus on waiting for a perfect guy to come make you happy.) Lovely. I’m so glad these movies are so popular with impressionable teenagers! ***SARCASM***
ZOMG, you guys, it’s that same swooping shot of the trees and the mountains that we got in like every Twilight preview ever. But this time it’s covered in snow! That means the Volturi are coming! Or, as Garrett puts it, “the Redcoats are coming!” (That’s why he’s a fan favorite. That, and the fact that as the vampires line up for battle he tells Kate, “If we live through this, I’ll follow you anywhere,” to which she snorts “Now you tell me.”) The Volturi march out of the woods wearing matching black cloaks with red linings. Aro is “looking for Alice,” according to mind-reading Edward. The wolves step out of the woods on the other side of the clearing, and the Volturi pause to remove their hoods in a synchronized movement accompanied by a massive crescendo in the soundtrack. This is so over-dramatic, it’s ridiculous.
Carlisle tries to explain that Renesme “is not an immortal! See the blood in her cheeks!”, but Caius scorns that it must be “AHHtifis!” (“Artifice.” Totally going to try to fit that quote, exactly the way he spits it out, into conversation). Aro is willing to believe, especially after touching Edward and reading his thoughts. He’d like to meet Renesme, so Bella (along with Jake and Emmet) bring her up to him. “Ahhhhh, yaung Beeelllllaaaah,” he croons, “Immortality becomes you. Ha, hahaHAAAA-ha! I hear her strange heart!” (Remember what I said about all of Aro’s lines being over-dramatic?) Renesme touches Aro’s face, but we’re ripped off and don’t get to see what she projects to him. He’s satisfied that she isn’t an immortal child, but still wants to incite a battle so he can force Edward to join his coven, so he has Irina killed for bearing false testimony. Her sisters try to rush to retaliate but are held back by their allies. (Garrett’s clutching Kate, and she’s shocking him but he doesn’t let go. It’s another fan-favorite moment.)
Jane does her pain thing to Edward and a pissed-off Bella is suddenly able to explode her shield around every on her side. It kind of looks like a giant soap bubble and is accompanied by a musical tinkling. Aro admits there has been no vampire law broken, “but does it then follow that there is no danger?” He says Renesme is an unknown and therefore an intolerable risk to keeping the existence of vampires secret.
Just then, Alice walks in. “I have evidence the child won’t be a risk to our kind. Let me show you,” she says. Aro greedily touches her future-seeing hand. Jasper gets bitch-slapped by the goons holding him. Alice cries, “It doesn’t matter what I show you! Even when you see, you still won’t change your decision!” She turns and signals “now” to Bella, who puts Renesme on Jake’s wolf-back and tells them to run. Tiny Alice kicks Aro in the chin, which propels him 20 feet backward into the air, but then she’s grabbed by more Volturi goons. Carlisle runs up all “let her go!” and is killed. Everyone’s running at each other, fighting. Alec and Jane figure out that Bella is shielding everyone from their powers, so Alec tackles her. Somebody beheads Jasper. Somebody else is chasing Jake and Renesme. Jane mental-projection-pains a wolf to death. (His CGI fur deflates, that’s how you know he’s dead. Was it Seth?). It feels like this battle has been going for a very long time.
Benjamin punches the ground and earth-bends a chasm into it. You can see lava at the bottom, and lots of Volturi vamps are falling in. But, oh no! Esme is scrambling to hold onto one of the ledges, and a Volturi on her back is pulling her down! A silver wolf (Leah?) jumps and claws the Volturi off Esme’s back, but in doing so the wolf falls into the pit and dies. Edward falls into the chasm, too, but I think Benjamin earth-bends a rock to flip him back out? Alice is pissed and running at Jane, shielded from Jane’s pain powers by Bella. Alice grabs Jane by the throat while a wolf rips the tiny pain-inflicting Volturi’s head off.
The battle is STILL going. Kate electro-shocks Caius and rips his face off. Dracula 1 and 2 rip Marcus’ arms off. Aro is just standing there observing, looking mad. He punches Bella and she flies through the air; now it’s Edward and Bella vs. Aro. They do the swing-kick thing from the preview, then Edward holds Aro’s body down so Bella can rip his head off. (How many times did I just type “rip his/her head off?) She holds out a torch to burn his body and the flames fill the screen.
AAAAAANNNNND, yeah, that was all just a vision from Alice projected into Aro’s head. None of it was real. I thought it was obvious that it wasn’t real, because how could it be? In the book there is no battle. I assumed they’d add some fighting for dramatic effect, but I predicted they would do it exactly the way they did, with a vision of the potential future from Alice, (what other way was there to have a fight break out with the Volturi without any of the main characters actually being hurt or killed, which is against the rules of the Twilight universe?) so…I was more annoyed and bored during the interminable (seriously it was like 20 minutes) battle scene. But the audience “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH”ed like they were totally fooled. Maybe my theater was full of movie fans who hadn’t read the books. Or maybe I’ve just become overly cynical when it comes to the Twilight franchise, at this point.
In any case, Alice warns Aro that he’s just seen his future if he chooses to fight them today, and to top off her strategic argument, two newcomers she recruited enter stage left at just that moment, Huilen and her nephew Nahuel. Nahuel explains, “I am half-human, half-vampire. Like the child.” (He’s also less than half-clothed). Nahuel is 150 years old and says he was full-grown 7 years after his birth, and can survive on both human food and blood. And that right there was the only reference to the fact that dear, sweet, adorable, (when she’s not a CGI baby) Renesme drinks blood, too. Also, Nahuel’s testimony contradicts all the fervent claims earlier that Renesme “is NOT an immortal!”, because she is apparently going to have the capacity to live forever just like the vampires. I’m sure the spirit of their argument was that she wasn’t an immortal child, but in the wake of the egregious misuse of “forever” I’m hyper-sensitive to the semantics in this movie.
Caius still wants to fight, because after all the Cullens are consorting with these wolves, but Aro is all, nope! Shut it down, I don’t want to die today! So the Volturi leave, with Aro glancing back longingly at Bella and Alice and sighing “such a prize,” (just to leave that threat hanging in case they want to make more movies someday.) Dracula 1 and 2 try to put a damper on everybody else’s celebrations by pointing out “You’re all fools! The Volturi might be gone, but they will never forgive what happened here!”, but this is a Twilight movie so everybody ignores them and starts making out. It sounds like “Fire and Water” by Feist is playing in the background here, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, hardly any of the earlier plot points ended up mattering. If Alice was just going to convince Aro not to fight by showing him a vision, (in which, by the way, Bella and Edward do survive), why was it necessary to make Bella think there was no hope, and smuggle Renesme out with Jake and a fake ID, and keep all of this hidden from Edward’s mind so Aro couldn’t see it either? Especially since, when Aro touches Alice’s hand to see the vision he would also see all of her past thoughts, including all of her scheming to keep Edward in the dark about Bella’s plans, and the fact the Huilen and Nahuel were about to arrive. In the book, it all has to be a secret until the last second because it’s the only way to persuade Aro not to fight. It’s certainly easier to explain to the audience this way why Aro is convinced to back off, and it’s more exciting to watch, but there was no need for secrecy on Alice’s part if this was how it was going to end up. What is the point of a story where no real threats to main characters exist, and no real consequences to actions or decisions materialize? I guess it really is a fairy tale.
And in keeping with the fairy-tale theme, we see an Alice-predicted happy future vision for grown-up Renesme and Jacob, embracing on a beach. (Is it La Push?) Edward begrudgingly admits, “I’m glad she has you.” Jake manages to get one last zinger in, with “So, should I start calling you Dad?” “No,” says Edward, and the audience giggles, but, that’s the reality of the situation and it is pretty weird, right? That Edward and Bella will be Jacob’s mother- and father-in-law? At least this movie knows how to laugh at itself.
As for Bella and Edward’s private fairy-tale ending, (because you know that was always where this story was headed, and the sole purpose for everything in the universe, didn’t you know), they’re in their meadow, of course. And she’s like, “I want to show you something,” and reverse-projects her shield, so that for the first time ever, Edward can read her mind. She flashes through memories from the previous films while “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri plays; meeting him in Biology class when he almost barfed at the smell of her blood, their first kiss when he had snuck uninvited into her room yet again, when they danced at Prom because he forced her to go, when he dumped her and left town and she stared catatonic out the window for months, when she almost drowns and hallucinates that she sees him, (why are those last two included in her romantic highlights reel?), when she saves him from exposing his sparkly lop-sided nipples in Italy, their wedding, their honeymoon when they didn’t use protection and accidentally made a hybrid baby, and finally a memory of their vampire sex.
Then there’s some more mushy back-and-forth about how “nobody’s ever loved anybody as much as I love you,” (Bella to Edward), “there’s one exception,” (Edward to Bella), *kisses* between them and *eye-rolls* between me and myself. “Can you show me again?” asks Edward, and Bella laughs, “We’ve got a lot of time!”
Then they kiss, again, and the last page of the book floats up on the screen with the last line highlighted, “And then we continue blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.” (Did I not tell you there were at least three more “forevers” before the end?)
HALLELUJAH, it’s finally time for the credits! Black and white images of the cast members in costume appear, starting with the most obscure vampires that were barely or not-at-all named. Suddenly I’m seeing wolf-pack members that I don’t remember seeing in human form in this film, like Quill and Embry, and it becomes apparent that they’re playing retrospective credits for the entire franchise. For instance, there’s “the humans” Mike, Jessica, Angela, and Eric. Oh, awkward, both Rachelle Lefevre and Bryce Dallas Howard are credited as Victoria in back-to-back pictures…and Billy Burke gets fourth billing again, appearing right before the big three! Way to go, movie-Charlie. You were perfect all the way through.
The songs playing during the credits are “The Forgotten” by Green Day, then “Bittersweet” by Ellie Goulding, and lastly, (so I read, but I didn’t stay that long,) “All I’ve Ever Needed” by Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald.
All I can say at this point is, I’m glad the series is over, because I don’t know if I could have sat through another one of these movies. I think this one took the most liberties with the source material and poked the most fun at itself out of all the Twilight movies, but it’s still predominately a bloodless “vampire” fantasy with an idealized love story so unrealistic and over-the-top it’s almost meaningless. And I really don’t think this story is going to “live forever.”