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Look but don’t sink your teeth into…
The first three Twilight films boiled with sexual desire that could never be quenched in a thinly veiled analogy for abstinence. Once the vows of marriage were made in the fourth entry, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella entered a twisted fairy tale where the swan is reverted to an ugly duckling. She was heavily bruised through rough sex, literally feasted upon by unborn child and husband, and left for dead. The pent up sexual frustration continues to find violent outlets when she is resurrected for Breaking Dawn – Part 2. However, this final installment still maintains a prudeness that doesn’t allow for a satisfying climax; only giving a peek of enjoyable possibilities before quickly covering up.
Bella (Stewart) is now a vampire; having been saved by husband Edward’s (Pattinson) bite that granted her immortality after nearly dying while giving birth. The Volturi, a ruling class of vampires, believe the half-human, half-vampire newborn may threaten the stability between their kind and humans. Bella and Edward must create an alliance between vampires and werewolves if they want to protect the child from the diabolic plans of the Volturi.
The film lacks a sense of irony. I often found myself laughing at the film when I should have easily been laughing with it. For example, Bella must learn to act mortal again to keep her transformation secret. It’s humorous to watch her practice breathing and how to casually slouch because of Stewart’s reputation for being emotionless and stone faced. However, the humor seems unaware of Stewart’s perceived coldness and relies on the actress’s attempt at physical comedy rather than giving the audience a knowing wink. The entire Twilight Saga must receive some kind of erotic gratification from its broodiness if after five films it just can’t relax and have some fun.
The movie also doesn’t understand what makes for an exciting protagonist. Twilight’s vampires are more like superheroes than the classic Dracula. Each character has a unique power—elemental control, telepathy, electric bursts—to accompany the super strength and speed given to all the creatures of the shade (sunlight doesn’t harm them, only makes them sparkle). However, after waiting so long for Bella to become super, her empowerment is backhanded. She can only block other vampires’ more impressive talents. The result is a heroine, already scorned by feminists for being too passive, who mostly stands around projecting invisible forcefields instead of bloodying her fangs in the climactic battle versus the Volturi.
This battle becomes an orgasm of severed heads that somehow maintains a PG-13 rating. The story takes some risks by having major characters decapitated. While the action is merely adequate, there is a certain pleasure with its excess. Or at least there is until the script decides it isn’t that kind of movie. Even these most exciting moments are positioned as safe, unfulfilling fantasies.
There is little gratification to be had as the film frustratingly embodies the franchise’s abstinence subtext. The non-recommendable Breaking Dawn – Part 2 refuses to penetrate the deeper desires of those who committed to the saga.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and other formats March 2, 2013.