OK, so, the Twilight saga is done. I never read the books so I can’t say this gave me some ineffable feeling of closure, parting, or regret, but now that I mentioned the books I must say what’s been bugging me the most throughout this film: it felt like they expected the audience to have read Meyer’s quadrilogy and known the meaning and the motivation behind the goings-on. This was not an adaptation as much as an illustration, a blatant sequence of “you liked this part in the book, so here it is on the big screen; and this one, and this”. No-one seemed concerned with conveying a coherent plot or keeping the characters’ portrayals consistent; if you’re not part of the club, Team Jacob or Edward or what have you, f*** you.
So, with the plot done away with, the visuals were pretty if a little too… earnest? The Cullens’ house is still the most sexually attractive thing in the series (and I’m not being snarky, it’s the most beautiful living space I’ve seen on film yet) but Edward and Bella ditch it in favour of a Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light ™-type cottage. And not only that, but they abandon the cottage* the very next day since they have to flee the country for reasons. Why did they get it, again? Between the shots of Grand Designs we’re treated to snippets of wildlife documentaries, hilariously old school soft-focus erotica, and something that’s supposed to be horror but is effing hilarious because all those overly sculpted and product-slathered faces and hairdos get ripped off their shoulders like the cast is an army of Ken and Barbie dolls.
It does get good at times. Michael Sheen hams it up magnificently, aware that there’s nothing he can do but turn his performance up to 11. I love him, and the fellow who plays Bella’s cop dad, and Jacob – it seems like Lautner got in on the joke too and is happy to troll the scenes he’s in as Pattinson is happy to trash the series in interviews and DVD commentary. It’s like there are two kinds of taking the piss going on in this film – the fun kind that results in bizarre and infinitely rewatchable moments, and the frustrating, what-is-even-going-on kind that’s nothing but lazy, from the lack of story to the Ethnic Stereotype Theatre culminating with the atrociously coiffured Eastern European duo.**
I regretted the lack of chemistry between Edward and Bella – they have so little spark that they’re reduced to declarations of love even more awkward than Padme and Anakin in Star Wars Ep 2 – but I hope that, should someone revisit these books in another cinematic instalment, we get to see them race each other to the nearest lone hiker for a juicy picnic. Then I’d buy that they’re a couple! (Let alone parents…)
All in all, two out of five stars. What’s good is brilliant in its eccentricity but the rest is just a mess. Shame!
(* I can’t blame them. I’d have applied a torch to it.)
(** Though, with them I’m not sure if I was offended or entertained to tears. At least they seemed to be having fun.)