Final (ha!) ‘Twilight’ picture isn’t half-bad

Can this really be the final chapter in all the fun we’ve had with K-Stew, R-Patz, Team Edward/Jacob, Twi-hards, and all the other passionate issues associated with the “Twilight” series?

Let’s not forget the windfall for Forks, fictional home to the vampires and werewolves that populate Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster young adult novels. It doesn’t matter that the movies themselves have mostly been shot in British Columbia — tourists have been coming to Forks to get a scent of vampire skin and the glow of the overcast skies they love.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” is the second half of Meyer’s final book, and it is a relief to report that this closing installment is livelier than the last few outings. We hit the ground running, because Forks girl Bella (Kristen Stewart) has given birth to her baby with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and also been turned into a vampire by him.

The Cullen family must marshal their fang-bearing brethren against the threat of the Volturi, who will surely arrive for an epic showdown. Wolf-boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is still around, sidelined by Bella’s definitive choice in a husband, but nevertheless waiting in the wings for one of the unlikeliest arranged marriages in the history of young adult literature.

Director Bill Condon, a smart man, mixes up the expected heavy-breathing embraces, oddly jaunty one-liners, and trendy song soundtrack to keep this thing moving along. Everything feels too carefully in place, as though nobody dared disturb the billion-dollar machine while it’s in motion.

For such a fancy franchise, the movie looks pretty bad. Most actors have their faces either caked in too-heavy vampire-pale make-up (rendered in detail by the digital photography) or digitally blurred to obscure blemishes that probably aren’t there in the first place. Weird. And of course the computer-generated wolves still look too slick, but I’ve gotten more used to that.

Lautner’s sarcasm has become the unexpected sign of life in the actors, as Stewart and Pattinson mostly still mope about each other. Michael Sheen serves up some ham as the chief hoodoo of the Volturi, which is about the only way to play the part.

There’s one big-time audience fake-out in the grand final sequence, which works pretty well. The preview audience seemed thoroughly taken with the movie, and not at all fazed (or driven to inadvertent laughter) by the way these vampires use a pop-top method of decapitating their enemies. Makes me nostalgic for the days when a simple wooden stake was the method of dispatch.

“Twilight” can’t possibly end here, not with so much money at stake (no pun intended). Things come to a resounding climax, all right, but look for a way (“The Next Generation”?) for this money train to keep on going. People of Forks, not all is lost.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” (2½ stars)

The conclusion to Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster series has a little more life than previous entries, maybe because it’s obliged to wrap up the story of Bella (Kristen Stewart), who’s now a vampire, and her showdown with the Volturi. It isn’t a great movie, and everybody looks really bad in it, but with a franchise like this that hardly matters.

Rating: PG-13 for violence, subject matter

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Cinebarre, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marsyville, Stanwood, Meridian, Sundance, Thornton Place, Woodinville, Blue Fox, Cascade Mall.

More in Life

For Texas BBQ, look for the school bus at the reptile museum

This husband-and-wife team has been serving up brisket and more for a decade in Monroe.

This new Pacific Northwest history textbook is a page turner

Opportunity, growth, conflict. It all happened here, historian David Jepsen says. “Snohomish… Continue reading

The ‘Whimsical Woman’ shares what she learns on the trail

Jennifer Mabus came here from Nevada and Hawaii. She leads hikes and blogs about them.

Restored historic bungalow is featured Everett Home Tour stop

The new owners received high praise from previous inhabitants for preserving its character.

Oh, the horrors! ‘mother’ an exhausting carnival of chaos

What is “mother!”? The coy publicity for this non-capitalized movie hasn’t revealed… Continue reading

Urban trails: 10 hiking destinations close to home

You don’t have to go into the backcountry to hike through Snohomish… Continue reading

Glamping: This mom’s new fav way to do family vacations

After spending the summer searching for the perfect tent trailer, I finally… Continue reading

This father’s reflections on the joys and fears of parenthood

I loved having children. It’s been one of the high points of… Continue reading

Most Read