1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One) (Summitt Entertainment, 4,061 Theaters, 117 Minutes, Rated PG): There will be millions of people in this world who will greet this film with cries of how are global nightmare is now at an end. No, the cry isn’t coming from Twilight fans, grateful that the next installment has finally arrived (although that’s only because its the next to the last installment, then there will be no more).
No, those cries will be coming from the Twilight haters, who have been waiting for the day that the franchise would slip out of national consciousness. There has seldom been a franchise that garnered this much teeth gnashing and vitrol as this one did.
I have to say that you can count me in this number. I have not read the books but I have watched enough of the films (they are in contant rotation on the Showtime networks) to know that the plot is weak, the acting bad, and the changes they meade to the accepted vampire and werewolf mythoses were achingly inane (sparkly vampires who can walk about in the daytime aren’t vampires).
But the plot point that is introduced in this segment where Jacob, who lost out on Bella to Edward, sorry Team Jacobites, finds himself irresistably drawn to Edward and Bella’s daughter. With the Penn State scandal still fresh in the air, that is creepy enough as it is. But what jacks up the creep factor even more is that this attraction starts when the spawn is still in Bella’s womb. I’m sure there are people who are calling for Joe Paterno and anybody even distantly related to Penn State to be thrown in jail who think that negative-May/December romance is so, well, romantic. And that’s just wrong.
2. Happy Feet Two (Warner Brothers, 3,606 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG): The first Happy Feet was a charming surprise, with a lot of heart that made up for the slightly heavy handed ecological message. I liked it a lot in that it was a kids movie that wasn’t afraid to have a bit of a dark side to it.
Part of the charm of the first movie is gone. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, whose best Elvis Presley/Marilyn Monroe impersonation since Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern Wild at Heart one, was a high point of the original, are missing from the credits in this one. Instead, we focus on a grown up Mumbles (Elijah Wood) who faces an opposite problem than his father has with him, his child with Gloria (voiced by P!nk, taking over for the late Brittany Murphy) who will not dance.
Regardless, if this film is a half as good as the original, it should be a great success.
Of the majors, Happy Feet Two has a shot not only at a Best Animated nomination, but, if it’s good, picking up a statue. Cars 2 was a weaker than normal effort from Pixar, so the award is up for grabs. And the first Happy Feet waddled off with the award in 2007.
And there is no way The Twilight “Saga” pulls a Lord of the Rings and gets nominated on its final go round. So give it up, Twi-hards.
In the smaller releases, the biggest Oscar contender has to be The Descendants. It is written and directed by Academy favorite Alexander Payne (winner for his script for Sideways, for which he also got a directing nod, and was also nominated for writing Election) and stars someone the Academy loves, George Clooney. Bonus: points, it adapted from a novel about a man who reconnects with his estranged daughters after his wife suffers a horrible boating accident. It opened in Los Angeles and New York on Wednesday, and will be bumped up to 27 theaters nationwide today.