Bella, Edward, and Twilight's last gleaming
Over. Put a stake in it. Nail that coffin shut.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, easily the trippiest and goofiest of the five addled adolescent vampire romances based on the Stephenie Meyer books, is upon us. Four years to the month since Twilight rocked the box office and turned Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into scandal fodder, the glowy, gloopy Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle comes to a close.
And what better way to celebrate than by bounding through the Pacific Northwest mist, leaping across treetops and scampering up cliffs, stalking warm-blooded critters to feast on? A deer, perhaps? How about a mountain lion?
"You need to get your thirst under control," the loving husband Edward counsels his new bride - and "newborn" vampire - Bella. "You need to hunt."
And so, as Breaking Dawn - Part 2 begins, that's what they do, hurtling through the woods in a psychedelic whoosh of sound and color. Meanwhile, back at the Architectural Digest-ready Cullen compound, the couple's beatific baby girl, Renesmee (rhymes with resumé), is getting oohed and awwed at by Edward's red-eyed clan.
Little Renesmee, a half-human, half-vampire thing with wide-open and wonder-filled orbs, grows before our very eyes. She is an anomaly in this vampire business, and a rumor gets started - by Irina (Maggie Grace), one of the legion of attractive bloodsuckers with blond highlights and designer jeans who populate the Twilight universe - that the child is an "immortal."
This is not a good thing, apparently. And so the Volturi, a Tuscan coven of hooded vamps who behave like a papal convocation, decide to investigate. Enter Michael Sheen (doing the sketch-comedy routine "Doctor Who Joins Spinal Tap") and Dakota Fanning (glowering - and if I'm not mistaken, dialogue-less).
But wait! First there are soft-core montages of entwined Stewart and Pattinson body parts (now that they're married, they discover this sex stuff is kind of cool). "So beautiful," he coos. "And we're the same temperature now."
And wait! They've got to tell Bella's dad, the town cop Charlie (Billy Burke), that his daughter isn't dead after all. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the shape-shifting wolf boy with the mighty abs, delivers the news. And then Jacob motorcycles back to Chez Cullen to tell Bella that he no longer aches and pines for her, because he has made a magical Indian connection with her daughter, "Nessie." Don't worry, there's nothing pervy about it, he assures her - and she'll morph into an adult babe in seven short years anyway.
All of which culminates in what is sure to be Stewart's Oscar-clinching moment:
"You imprinted on my daughter!!??" the actress exclaims, adding, in disbelief, "You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness monster??!!"
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 **1/2 (out of four stars)
Directed by Bill Condon. With Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Billy Burke, and Ashley Greene. Distributed by Summit Entertainment.
Running time: 1 hour, 55 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (sex, vampire-on-vampire violence, adult themes)
Playing at: area theaters