No doubt it was an intelligent choice (motivated by profit maximization greed) to split the last book of Bella’s super-dicey dating saga into two films. It’s just too much to ask an audience to weather the glitzy wedding, the furniture-destroying sex, and then the prolonged layup with progeny that threatens to munch its way out of Bella’s belly. And then there’s the all-out vampire gang war. But why is this second-to-last chapter of the Twilight series so padded? Every action, from the honeymoon in Rio on, gets coupled with musical interludes. Some broody pop song, at one point, punctuates Jacob leaving the room. And then, gasp, he returns.
It’s not like there isn’t action here. And the end point of all this pregnancy horror is an interestingly creepy-horrible-sweet birth. But it’s such a ridiculous road to the blood-dimmed nativity. Director Bill Condon — Gods and Monsters (yay) and Dreamgirls (yuck) — softens the palette of dank beauty pioneered by Catherine Hardwicke in the first film. It is Bella’s wedding after all, but the whole vampire family transformed into glamour-saturated light is weird. (Shouldn’t they be literally glittering out in the sunshine? Wouldn’t the straight people guess?) Condon riddles the film with forgetfulness in pursuit of a nicer look. Only the werewolf crew keeps it real, but even they get stupid scenes, like a conversation dubbed over barks and growls. It’s schlock followed by blood that makes you wonder about the parents accompanying their tween, soon-to-be traumatized daughters to the theater to see this story about a rough beast that slouches off to Washington to be born.