Sunday, November 25, 2012

Where vampires and werewolves eat our heads

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 24 November, 2012)




Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Maggie Grace, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli
Director: Bill Condon
Rating: 2 stars
It’s already been a whole year since we last saw vampires making out. Apparently, Breaking Dawn 2 ends the shimmering-vampire-romance that The Twilight Saga was, and leaves us in the happy glow of fireplaces at which covens will raise toasts with animal blood.
Right, so it opens to Bella Cullen (Kristen Stewart) staying in isolation, having acquired supernatural strength, which Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) ingeniously deduces as a symptom of her “need to hunt”. As she chases after deer, hikers, and aggressive carnivores, the Cullen family is somewhat nervous she’ll eat her own daughter – and her own father. Thankfully, getting in her way is werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who intends to marry an infant when it’s old enough. It helps his case that the infant’s father warmly grins in response to Jacob’s offer to call him “Dad”.
All right, now, if you’re grossed out, there’s enough of the saccharine in the film to make you diabetic. Apparently, the Volturi, headed by Aro (Michael Sheen) are looking for an excuse to attack the Cullens. It’s a complicated plan to recruit vampires with magical powers. Yes, take a moment to roll your eyes. The Cullens scour the world for “Witnesses”, who can testify that the child of Bella and Edward, Reneesme (Mackenzie Foy) is not an “immortal child”, created by a vampire bite; she was born this way.
Now, for the Witnesses. There are two Amazonian vampires who can hypnotise people, three Egyptian vampires of whom one can control the elements, one unfriendly Irishman, one flirtatious American Patriot who promises to follow his mate anywhere, and an assorted number of red-eyed bloodsuckers who seem to be celibate.
Of course, the gathering of Witnesses is yet another elaborate set-up for more romance. Sunlight and snowflakes appear on cue, and when vampires are bored, they either do a fist wrestle Battle-of-the-Sexes, or light bonfires and tell stories of old wars. Mating calls take the shape of electric shocks. Normal life involves driving Nissans and teaching teenage werewolves how to control their “urges”. Don’t ask.
If the characters were any less stupid, they’d have figured out a vague note is a clue before the Interval. But no, we must live through a slow – and unnecessary – subplot. The plotline is only outdone in its insipidity by the dialogue. Sample this line, spoken to some of the most beautiful music that has enlivened the screen: “My time as a human was over, but I’d never felt more alive; I was born to be a vampire.”
The climactic battle is the high point of a painful film – largely because you get to witness the death of vampires you wanted to kill yourself – but then, there’s a twist, and for some reason, the promise of more romance as a muscular half-vampire from Brazil lands up, half-naked.
The Verdict: Breaking Dawn 2 leaves you praying that the sequel it appears to hint at won’t materialise.

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