There are times when I question my career choices, my purpose on this earth, and, basically, my entire existence.
Generally, these times occur while I'm watching Twilight movies.
By the mercy of God, "Breaking Dawn, Part 2," the final installment in the series, was also the shortest installment. But it felt like the longest. Because this is where the big payoff comes -- the payoff that doesn't really feel like a payoff. This is where we learn that a young woman can, essentially, gain the whole world by losing her soul. Or in more specific terms, she can gain eternal life, lasting love, superpowers, and -- last but not least! -- good looks, by giving up her humanity and joining the ranks of the undead. She can even gain things that the established rules of the series say she's not supposed to be able to have (perfect self-control, plus a fast-growing, perfectly behaved half-vampire baby).
As you may have guessed by now, the idea doesn't sit too well with me. When Bella intones, in an unintentionally hilarious monotone, "My time as a human was over, but I'd never felt more alive," I feel, not excited, but creeped out. As Susannah Clements's "The Vampire Defanged" explains so well, our culture has twisted and distorted the image of the monster until we're embracing what we once abhorred, and there is something deeply unsettling about that.
But there's more to my dislike than this. Bella and Edward's version of paradise without God, with every loose end tied up and every major character achieving a happy ending -- including some fairly squicky happy endings, like Jacob the werewolf "imprinting" on a baby girl -- is far too peaceful, too perfect, and too saccharine to be believable, or even desirable. Especially when they've done so little to earn it.
Now, I will acknowledge that the filmmakers found an ingenious way of creating the tension that was largely missing from the book version of "Breaking Dawn," without raising the stakes.
(Please, let me have my pun. I have, by my rough estimate, sat through well over 10 hours of this dreck. I've earned the right to make bad puns.)
The climactic fight that they've added, while gruesomely violent, is at least a little more interesting than the book's climactic "Oh, it was all a silly misunderstanding! How droll! Well, we'll be leaving now. Ta-ta!" scene. But for me, almost the only really good, natural, enjoyable moments in the whole film involve Bella's very human father -- and I don't think that's an accident. No matter how great an un-life the monsters are having, I'll throw in my lot with the humans every time.
(For more BreakPoint articles and posts on the Twilight series, go here.)