The good news is “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” is actually the best of all the Twilight series.
The bad news is that is not saying much. “Breaking Dawn” is still mind-numbingly awful in nearly every way a movie can be.
The first part of “Breaking Dawn” ended with Bella dying after her half-vampire, half-human daughter with Edward literally tried to claw its way through her womb.
“Part 2” actually manages to up the ante on the weird and disturbing, because when Bella wakes up after Edward has saved her life with an infusion of vampire blood, she discovers that her old love interest, Jacob, has ‘imprinted’ — fallen in creepy, cradle-robbing love that is — on her newborn daughter.
The daughter is legitimately named Renesmee, because Stephenie Meyer clearly has jumped into the deep end of the crazy pool and is not looking back. Renesmee is a mash-up of the names of Bella and Edward’s mothers, Renee and Esme, respectively, which in all honestly just leaves me wishing that it had been a boy so it would have been named Charlisle.
Instead of dealing with the problematic depictions of abortion or pedophilia, the driving conflict of the story is the vampire world’s enforcers, the Volturi, mistakenly thinking Renesmee is an immortal child who was turned at a young age and will ultimately blow their cover by having a temper tantrum and going on a bloodthirsty rampage.
It is barely adequate as far as plotlines go, which is not helped by the dull script, mediocre directing and atrocious acting.
Saying Kristen Stewart is wooden or Taylor Lautner is seriously awful is like saying the sun will rise in the east tomorrow — it is something everybody knows and expects. It is comfortingly familiar, really.
But the rest of the supporting cast does not help at all, with the exception of Martin Sheen, who comes off as the only one in on the joke that is “Twilight.” Sheen hams it up on screen in some high camp worthy of Tim Curry or Adam West’s “Batman,” which makes him just about the only consistently entertaining part of the entire film franchise.
Director Bill Condon, however, cannot seem to decide if he wants to let the movie stray into the campy place it so clearly is headed or keep it on the earnest path to which Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg aspire. The result is a mix that neither die-hard Twilight fans nor the casual moviegoers can wholly enjoy.
A genuine highlight of “Breaking Dawn” comes from cinematographer Guillermo Navarro. While clearly not putting in the effort that captured the beauty of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” or even the less-flashy rock documentary “It Might Get Loud,” Navarro films the striking landscapes of Washington state with a sharp eye.
While I feel confident predicting that approximately no one in the theaters is there to appreciate skilled cinematography, it is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise exceedingly dull film for those who care to see it.
In the end, it does not matter that there are B-movies out there with better acting and scripts, or even with better CGI werewolves.
“Breaking Dawn, Part 2” is still going to make an obscene amount of money, cause loyal fans to sob with obsessive joy, and haunt the hilariously desperate indie-hip Robert Pattinson.
Coming Friday, November 30:
“Killing Them Softly”: Brad Pitt plays an enforcer for the mob who is tasked with taking down those who cheated his bosses in a card game.
Starring: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta
“The Collection”: When a young girl is kidnapped by a psychopathic killer, her father forces the only person to escape from the killer’s clutches to lead them back to find her.
Starring: Josh Steward, Emma Fitzpatrick