Synopsis: Newly vampirized Bella and husband Edward have a baby and prepare to fight the Volturi. (Streaming on Netflix.)
Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Has literature ever gifted humanity with a more loved up couple? No! Romeo and Juliet? Pleeease… Romeo didn’t rescue Juliet by vampirizing his love with multiple venomized love bites.
We can thank author Stephenie Meyer for bringing her ridiculous, yet fun fantasy to stage and screen with the Twilight Saga. Basically she keeps fans in suspense as to when so-in-love Bella & Edward will consummate their relationship. And if that means Bella will have to turn into a vampire, so be it because Edward is SO HOT. Metaphorically any way, because actually he is ice cold. Because he’s a vampire.
*** JUMP to RECAP, if you need a refresher…
So, in Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Bella and Edward get married and Bella gets pregnant. She gets severe morning sickness and SPOILER— dies during childbirth, but Edward’s last minute bites turn her into a vampire. Meanwhile, the baby is fine.
When Bella is reborn as a vampire, she is quite a bit paler with red eyes, a la the rest of the Cullens. She also now has a sort of perma-makeup with bronze eyeshadow and clumpy eyelashes, and scads of lustrous extensions. In addition, she has a newfound interest in fashion, goaded on by Alice, no doubt. In fact, driven by hunger to hunt, Bella wears a wholly impractical dress when she heads into the wilderness to hunt.
Edward has his hands full with Bella’s new vamp ways; she starts scrambling up a rock face to devour an unsuspecting climber. (I have to give KStew credit for registering a really feral look at this juncture.) Edward lets her know that, while delicious, murdering humans and sucking their blood is not the Cullen vampire family way.
The couple return home and a cardigan-clad Dr. Carlisle informs them that the baby’s “growth rate is unprecedented.” (Duh, we can see her growing before our eyes.) That’s not the only unprecedented thing: the baby is a CGI creature. Said baby moves robotically and the facial features are scumbled about as though someone has rubbed colored chalk on baby’s face. All of the Cullens obviously have forgotten what babies really look like because they are not alarmed in the least by baby’s looks and ooh and ahh over the little tyke. But when Bella’s dad Charlie first lays eyes on the baby, I expected his human self to scream “Eeegad!!!!” Charlie has to bear more than this though… Bella announces that she has come up with the moniker “Renesmee” for the child. I’m sure that Stephanie Meyer tried to brace herself for what she was sure would be a run on the new name, but no, the baby naming world politely passed over the clunky neologism.
Because Bella and Edward are the most special newlyweds in the world, the Cullens construct a special Thomas Kinkade-looking cottage during the honeymoon so that the couple can while away the hours making vampire love while the rest of the family takes care of the baby who quickly becomes a little kid with no schooling or playmates. Oh, wait, Renesmee does have one constant companion: Jacob. Huh? Like Bella’s friend and rejected suitor Jacob?! Yup. And it goes like this…
As fans know, Jacob is a werewolf. He has carried an unrequited love for Bella since the first book/movie. Edward can’t stand him, not just because werewolves and vampires are historical enemies, but because Jacob keeps trying to convince Bella to love him. But then we are thrown a curveball and learn that werewolves can imprint on someone who is meant to be their true love. Jacob announces that he has imprinted on Renesmee. So basically, once Renesmee is eighteen he will start pestering her to love him. Just like he did with her mother. Ickk.
Bella doesn’t take this well. She starts beating up Jacob while Edward gleefully chuckles on the sidelines. Jacob explains that he will just be a guardian for the child. So now he is a constant, annoying presence at the Cullen homestead. In between watching Renesmee and Edward perform piano duets, Jacob and the Cullens stew about the werewolves and the Volturi (the ruling & merciless vampire powers that be) learning about Renesmee and fearing her power.
More vamp lore from Stephenie Meyer: if a child is bitten and turned into a vampire, they are very wild and out of control, wreaking havoc wherever they go. Like your basic human toddler. The Volturi forbid other vampires from vampirizing children. The Volturi live in Italy and are led by Aro who struts around in nutcracker soldier garb and occasionally trills exclamations in a pronounced Italian accent– Magnifico! Bella Belllllla!
Bella and Edward decide that Renesmee’s best protection is convincing Aro and the Volturi that Renesmee is not a dangerous newborn vampire, but a harmless (to the current power structure) half human and half vampire child. Impossibile?!
Alice and Jasper start a world tour to find another peaceable offspring with vamp & human parents to prove their case to Aro while the Cullens gather allies. What follows is a fabulous collection of vamps from around the world who correspond to hoary stereotypes. There are Irish vamps who look like a family band who play at the local pub, “Amazons” who look like contestants on Next Top Model, and blonde sisters, who appear to be exiled thalassophiles, and quickly attract the attention of a loner vamp (Lee Pace) who comes off as an aging failed rocker. The best cosmopolitan vamp has to be Rami Malek as an Egyptian vampire, Benjamin. (Uh, I think that’s an Old Testament name, Steff.) His home decor & wardrobe looks unchanged in millenia. I guess he doesn’t get out much.
When the Cullens visit Benjamin for recruitment purposes, he shows off Avatar-like powers of air, earth, water and fire bending. (He could be a headliner in Vegas where he could live in the big Luxor pyramid hotel!) Rami’s screen time is a nice training ground for his later award-winning work on Mr Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody. You really believe that he’s enjoying himself while he trades stories with other vamps around a bonfire — that he magically lit, by the way.
Brace yourself for the showdown to come. Whatever happens, know that Bella and Edward are the greatest mortal and immortal love mash up ever!
*** RECAP Bella (Kristen Stewart) is a teen who moves to Washington state to live with her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke) , a local police chief. She seems to lack any interests or personality, but, lucky for Bella, her chem lab partner Edward (Robert Pattinson) is a really handsome guy who finds her irresistible. He’s also a hundred year old vampire which accounts for his old world manner. Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) turned him into a vampire when he was dying of influenza in 1918. Thankfully, he was in the full flower of his handsome youthfulness & stayed that way. The Cullen vampire family consists of Carlisle and his wife Esme ((Elizabeth Reaser) and “teen foster” children Alice & Jasper (Ashley Greene & Jackson Rathbone) and Emmett & Rosalie (Kellan Lutz & Nikki Reed) who are, conveniently for lovelorn YA readers, couples. (I’m sure that someone somewhere has scrambled the couples into new queer matchups.) Anyway, they live in Forks, Washington because it is cloudy and if the sun hits their vampire skin, it will sparkle and then everyone would shout : Look! Vampires! Hmm…maybe in Utah where the author is from, but no one would bat an eyelash in just about any metro area.
Everybody at Bella’s new school is crazy about her too and wants to be her friend or boyfriend. Oh, and there’s this teen on the local reservation, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who falls in love with Bella too. (I think we can tell that the author had “Stephenie” in place of Bella’s name in the first draft.)
Jacob is a werewolf as are other members of his Quileute tribe. (Click here for tribal relocation info.) Vamps and werewolves are supposed to be longtime enemies. The best part about Jacob is that, in the movie, he wears a long, flowing ink black wig.
Sometimes Bella and/or the Cullens are in danger from the overlord organization of vampires, the Volturi. They live in Italy and are led by Aro (Michael Sheen), a cruel and vain vamp. He and his cohorts look pretty good in their robes, but they seem like really bad company because they are backstabbers and have no knowledge of pop culture.
Anyway, throughout the saga we wait for Bella and Edward to hurry up and have sex while we hear them pledge their everlasting love to each other ad nauseum. And Bella periodically pesters Edward to bite her so that she can be a vampire too and spend eternity moving from one cloudy town to another with Edward.
Movie Loon Movie Review Shortcut:
Cut to the Chase: Gooey & sweet like cotton candy for lovers of ridiculous love stories.
Humor Highlight: Michael Sheen as Aro. Also… Carlisle going on & on in his earnest way to some Transylvanian vamps who cut him off with: We do not care what you did, Carlisle.