Thursday 27 July 2017

Twilight's back– but it has lost its bite

The climax of the popular vampire saga is disastrously short on action, writes our film critic Paul WhitingtonThe wolves look like collies on steroids and never seem entirely convincing

Following the greedy lead set by the Harry Potter franchise, the good folk at Summit Entertainment decided some time back to split the last of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire novels, Breaking Dawn, into two films.

Financially speaking, it's hard to fault their logic, because last year's instalment, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, grossed over $700m at the box office, and Part 2 is almost certain to do something similar. Cigars all around then at Summit, but splitting the book in half has turned what might have been one passable film into two pretty bad ones.

Just to bring the uninitiated up to speed, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) finally succumbed to their passions in Breaking Dawn: Part 1, got married, consummated their union in some style and spawned a child, a girl called Renesmee.

Bella nearly died giving birth to the baby, so Edward bit her in order to save her life and she's now a vampire like him. They're pretty pleased with themselves overall, and looking forward to an eternity together, until they find out that the Volturi, a kind of vampire version of the Vatican, are not amused by Bella's conversion and their half-caste child.

The Volturi's odious leader, Aro (Michael Sheen), sees the little girl as a threat to the very existence of his species, and sets out to seek revenge on Edward, Bella and the entire Cullen clan. The stage is set for a spectacular last battle, but my God it takes an age to arrive and by the time it does the casual viewer will have long since lost interest.

There are, of course, Twilight fanatics who'll be queuing up to see this final instalment, but even they are likely to come away feeling somewhat short-changed.

The splitting in two of Breaking Dawn's story has left this second half disastrously short of action. Most of the time the vampires and their extended families chat amiably, exchange feeble double entendres and frown moodily when discussing the impending storm.

Something that's always perplexed me about the Twilight films is how dreadful the special effects and Cgi are. The stories depend on vampires moving at the speed of light and Native Americans who transform when irked into giant, fearsome wolves. The wolves in these films look like collies on steroids, and never seem entirely convincing as predators.

As for Ms Stewart and Mr Pattinson, they are as fey and drippy as ever in Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but will soon discover whether their Hollywood careers manage to long outlive the end of this mighty franchise. Thus far, the omens aren't promising.

For the rest of the week's reviews, and an interview with Robert Pattinson, see Day & Night

Irish Independent

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