Breaking Dawn Part 2: Twilight at its most tolerable

Breaking-dawn-part-2-sneak-preview

Doomsday for Twi-hards has come and gone – the Twilight saga has ended, if not on a high, then at least on a considerably better note than it began.

Converted into a bloodsucker after a rather brutal childbirth in the previous film, our protagonist Bella (Kristen Stewart) is now faster, stronger and hungrier than she’s ever been, and even Edward (Robert Pattinson) has trouble keeping up with her.

No sooner than they’ve settled into their new home and enjoyed a few passionate moments, Edward and Bella learn that the Volturi, that feared clan of vampire law-keepers, is headed their way to pick a fight. Turns out the Volturi are convinced Bella’s daughter, Renesmee, is an “immortal child” and therefore must be immediately killed.

Truth is, since the girl was conceived and delivered while Bella was still human, she’s very much mortal, but that won’t stop the Volturi using the misunderstanding to rid themselves of a potential rival coven – and recruiting some talented individuals while their at it.

So the Cullens call in favours across the globe, assembling a force to face the oncoming Volturi army. Good luck trying to keep awake as you’re introduced to these dozen-or-so friends, each with a special power or gift to be explained and suitably demonstrated.

Creepiest of the lot is little Renesmee herself, the root cause of all the problems in this film. The kid (Mackenzie Foy) ages rapidly, and has this strange gift where she can touch your face with her palm and teleport her back-story to you – a trick her shameless parents encourage her to do with pretty much everyone she meets.

Almost all the characters in this film are lacking in some way. Though Kristen Stewart appears a little less morose in this film than she usually does, Edward as a character is still as stiff.

In fact, the only truly enjoyable thing in this film, apart from Taylor Lautner taking his shirt off once again, is the delicious overacting by Michael Sheen as Aro, leader of the Volturi, who offers up such a deliberately hammy performance it’s hard not to laugh out loud.

The climatic battle scenes at the end do manage to deliver some surprisingly gory thrills also – but it’s an unfortunate case of too little too late. Though a marked improvement from the previous Twilight instalments, Breaking Dawn Part 2 leaves a lot to be desired.

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DVD Review: Underworld Awakening

underworld awakening

Out on DVD as of May 8th, the fourth movie in the Underworld series saw badass vampiress, Selene, make a blood curling return to the big screen. This installment, however, lacks a lot of the substance that made its predecessors so popular.

The movie opens with Selene, played by the ever-svelte Kate Beckinsale, and Lycan lover Michael (Scott Speedman) on the run from the latest threat to their survival – humans. Captured by armed forces, Selene is placed in a cryogenic state and unwittingly lends her body for medical experimentation. Upon her violent awakening, twelve years later, she finds the world little different to how she left it.

In an era where the existence of Vampires and Lycans is common knowledge, Selene discards all the secrecy she was taught to uphold. Leaving a trail of body parts in her wake at every turn, the film is a gloriously gory transportation back to the time before Twilight made vamps and weres all fuzzy and cuddly.

Having said that, blood and guts is just about all this movie has to offer. Beckinsale, while being an effortlessly cool and vicious vampiress, struggles to take the sole lead. The film as a whole suffers from the lack of another role such as Bill Nighy’s Viktor or Michael Sheen’s Lucian. There is very little storyline throughout with the writers chosing to focus on action and blood spatter rather than some actual character development.

I, for one, missed the backstory that each previous installment furnished us with. The history of the war between Vampires and Lycans is an interesting one and yet Awakening mentions nothing of it in any way shape or form. There are only minimal references to ‘the old ways’ and all the lore seems to be forgotten entirely.

Despite its many faults and a severe lack of story progression, Underworld: awakening isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It has plenty of action, its fair share of blood and guts, and it’s a welcome return to the gory days of vampires and werewolves. If that’s exactly what you want, then you won’t be disappointed but if you’re after something with a little more depth, you may want to look elsewhere.

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