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Can a Twi-Hard Fan Make Me See the “Twilight”?

November 18, 2012

Bruce Fretts: The last time I saw a Twilight movie—Breaking Dawn, Part 1—it broke my Two Cranky Guys colleague Bret Watson. So this time I recruited a certified Twi-Hard, Nancy Bilyeau—a best-selling author—to accompany me. The question is, Nancy: Does this movie suck, or does it bite?

Nancy Bilyeau: It sucks—and yet it doesn’t suck enough! It is a vampire movie and yet did you see vampires gleefully nibbling on necks? Vampire stories are supposed to be about human’s fear and desire for them. But this was more like League of Extraordinary Vampires, a bunch of people in bad costumes fighting over vamp rules.

Bruce: I thought it was pretty dull until this crazy big fight scene near the end. The audience was going nuts. I felt like I was at a Justin Bieber concert. I guess that’s what happens when you go see a late Friday night show in Times Square. At least the screams woke me up.

Nancy: But the difference between this end of a big saga and the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings sagas is that in those other two the major characters faced off and resolved everything in a cathartic way. But in this final film they brought in a lot of people we’d never seen before—vampires from India to Brazil to the North Pole. It’s not great to make the end of a multi-film saga depend on the actions of others.

Bruce: I couldn’t keep track of all the characters—you’d warned me about that going in, but all the vampires and werewolves looked alike to me. And am I right that Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning are supposed to be Italians?

Nancy: Yes, Sheen and Fanning were part of the Volturi, the kings of the hill in vampire hierarchy.

Bruce: The acting was pretty uniformly awful. Sheen looked like he was having fun chewing the scenery, in some cases literally. I’m not sure anyone else was in on the joke, though.

Nancy: Sheen’s black hair dye line distracted me to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on his hamminess.

Bruce: And Taylor Lautner doesn’t act so much as seem to recite his lines politely. But I guess it doesn’t matter to his target demo when he takes off his shirt, as he does repeatedly in this movie.

Nancy: He took off his shirt for the town policeman, I don’t know if you caught that. Interesting decision. All of the juice of the original love triangle of Bella, Edward and Jacob was gone.

Bruce: I was distracted by the backstory of the real-life breakup between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Hard to believe Edward and Bella are going to be together “forever” when we know K-Stew cheated on R-Pattz with the director of her Snow White movie.

Nancy: But they’re clinging together on red carpets and she’s wearing see-through dresses. I don’t know what the hell is going on.

Bruce: Also—SPOILER ALERT–Jacob falls in love with a baby! How creepy is that?

Nancy: It’s creepy beyond the point of no return. We fans of Stephanie Meyer—and yes, I am a Twilight mom—have never liked the “imprinting” plot device, which means werewolves fall in love at first sight with anyone at any age.

Bruce: The special effects seemed really cheesy to me, too. These movies have made billions of dollars. Couldn’t they make the super-fast running and giant wolves look more realistic than something a kid could do on their home computer with PhotoShop?

Nancy: There were very little special effects in this one. They lost the sweetness and the charisma of the first movie completely in this series. The woman who directed the first one, Catherine Hardwicke, is the only one who “got” the story.

Bruce: And whereas the Harry Potter movies feature almost every great British actor alive, the Twilight cast is a bunch of talent-free youngsters and B-list TV veterans like Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli.

Nancy: Did you see they had Maggie Grace as an Alaskan vampire in a blonde wig with five lines? WHY?

Bruce: Just killing time until she gets kidnapped in Taken 3, I guess. I was shocked by how violent this movie was—lots of beheadings and severed heads thrown in fires. And people complained about The Hunger Games being inappropriate for teens!

Nancy: This was too violent for my 11-year-old daughter, I am afraid.

Bruce: Mine too. Also too stupid for her.

Nancy: Yes, the characters were too cardboard for my 11-year-old.

Bruce: There’s more character development in your average Sweet Valley High.

Nancy: She’s reading the Pretty Little Liars series on her Kindle—she’s light years ahead of this movie.

Bruce: There is one good twist in the big fight sequence, but it takes a long time to get there. And the ending is eternal—they show every character who’s been in any of the movies!

Nancy: I was sad during credit sequence because they showed the actors who played the original friends in high school of Bella and they got rid of them to show more monsters and wolves as the series went on

Bruce: I was sad that a once-good director like Bill Condon, who made Gods and Monsters and Dreamgirls, sold out to make this piece of paranormal inanity.

Nancy: Yes, we saw in Skyfall how a great director like Sam Mendes can elevate material. That didn’t happen here.

Bruce: Exactly. Although he had better source material and a much better cast to work with. This was like a reject from the CW’s development pile. So what made you like these movies/books in the first place? Their appeal eludes me, although I realize as a 46-year-old man I’m not exactly the desired demo.

Nancy: I liked the love story in the first book. It resonated in me, the shy high schooler that is still within. Don’t you have a shy teenage girl side to you, Bruce?

Bruce: You must be confusing me with Bret Watson. As much fun as it was to watch in a theater packed with screaming teens, I’ve gotta say: I’m glad the whole franchise is over. Although now they’re threatening to reboot it with a new cast. Too soon! The body’s not even cold yet. Or maybe it’s already cold, since they’re vampires.

Nancy: I am more interested in what Stephanie Meyer will write now. An angry book about small-town bureaucrats like JK Rowling did after Harry Potter? Gee, I hope not.

Bruce: I have a feeling she’ll mostly be writing checks to buy things now. She never needs to work again!

Nancy: That doesn’t stop anyone!

Bruce: True, you’re working on your third book now. And you even deign to hang out with commoners like me.

Nancy: I am always looking for flawed but interesting people to base characters on.

Bruce: Throw a few vampires into your book, and you’d never have to work again.

Nancy: Vampires are over. Zombies are over. I am not sure what is trendy now. Mummies maybe?

Bruce: They scare me—I’ve got Mummy issues. And that’s a wrap!

Did Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2 break you? Post a comment!

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