Yesterday evening marked the endings of two very significant periods in my life. I saw my youth dissipate into the horizon, as I celebrated the finish of my 22nd year of existence and the start of my 23rd. And I also saw the Twilight Saga come to close with a 10 p.m. viewing of Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
Yes, I decided to spend my 23rd birthday watching Bella, Edward, Jacob and Renesmee (say it fast and it sounds like a sound your nose would make during a heinous cold!) walk off into the sunset. Some of my more mature (read: sparkly vampire intolerant, fun-hating) friends thought it was the worst idea since Kristen Stewart decided to take this lingering thing with Rupert Sanders to a new level, but I thought it was totally ingenious. What screams “It’s the end of your extended adolescence and you know it!” more than watching the YA film series that officially kickstarted it (my 19th birthday involved myself and two friends waiting in the rain for 10 hours to see R. Patz and Co. at MuchMusic) get its pleasantly airy head get clipped clear off?
As anyone who has read the Stephanie Meyer’s vampire/werewolf/bumbling human girl book series knows, the second half of the Breaking Dawn novel was a total snore. We just got to listen to Bella go on about her new-found vampire powers and try to peacefully convince ever-evil vampire council, the Volturi, to take pity on her human-vampire hybrid daughter/object of a teen wolf’s overheated affections. There was no fighting to speak of, just a bunch of long-winded negotiations and re-declarations of undying love. Unsurprisingly, it took me months to get through it all. Meanwhile, I downed the first 250 pages, in which Bella and Edward star in the unofficial AMC spinoff porno Breaking Bed, just hours after buying the book. (Yes, I went to the midnight release party at Indigo.)
I guess Bill Condon, director of Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (and Part 1), shared my snarky sentiments while reading the conclusion of that book, because the movie I saw last night ravaged the worst, most ridiculous parts of it. Obvious jokes were made at the expense of budding pedophile Jacob (a, yet again, super fit Taylor Lautner). And the final face-off between the Cullens (and so many racially-stereotyped, fanged friends from around the world!) and Aro’s caped, creature of the night crusaders took a gloriously gasp-worthy turn. Honestly, the audience I was with was completely silent, save for when that totally twisted bit started and when Taylor Lautner first appeared and/or removed his shirt.
For these reasons alone, I couldn’t help but imprint on Breaking Dawn – Part 2, perhaps even more so than I did Part 1, with its obviously overinflated budget (which, still didn’t allow for legit make-up artists) and unexpected gore (that nightmarish, dead body-filled wedding dream!). I was even able to look past the Son of the Mask CGI applied to Renesmee until she hit her Mackenzie Foy stage, and the fact that Lee Pace and Joe Anderson didn’t get more lines, or more symmetrical facial hair, as Garrett and Alistar. Like Michael Sheen’s Aro at first sight of Renesmee, I happily howled, like the post-secondary schoolgirl I was back when Twilight hit theatres, at all the bad jokes and bad acting. Because, cheesiness and all, this movie provided all the epic closure I wanted reading the books, balancing the sickening sincerity of the younger flicks with the pointed self-deprecation fans have had to go through openly loving them. I mean, they included a yearbook-long credits list, featuring every single actor who appeared in the series. Even the two Victorias (Rachel Lefevre and Bryce Dallas Howard)!
After I watched the first Twilight flick, I leered at everyone who made fun of it, arguing its case by claiming that the book was, to quote then-boyfriend Eddie C., dazzling, and that Catherine Hardwicke did her best to stay true to it. Four years and five films later, I’m not going to defend Breaking Dawn – Part 2. I’m an adult now and I know that there’s no use failing at convincing my cynical friends, family members and coworkers. I also know that there’s no use in not letting yourself be a giddy, open-minded kid again sometimes. Forget your expectations and run fearlessly into whatever light-hearted shit is ahead. Chances are, something will glisten, even if just a little bit, and it will all be worth it. And if not, there’s always Katniss and Peeta to fall back on.
Twilight Saga, I bid you a three finger air kiss and adieu. Thanks for not-quite-purposely reminding this 23-year-old that you don’t have to suck back plasma to stay 17, or 19, or whatever, forever.
What did you think of Breaking Dawn – Part 2? What movies marked or remind you of your coming of age, either on time or later than expected? Where can I buy a replica of Garrett’s brocade vest?