My quick review. I will have to catch up on reading your reviews another night - RL caught up and smacked me in the face right after the marathon.
First off, I have to say that doing the marathon was a new experience for me. I had never seen Twilight or New Moon on the big screen, and I had never seen them all back to back and continued paying good attention throughout. There were a lot of details in Twilight that were not big enough for me to clearly see on the small screen (mostly Nikki), and I really enjoyed that. It was also a nice way to compare direction style, since that was the big difference between movies. I'm sure David Slade is a very nice man and a good director for many things .... But as I said on FB, I finally viscerally get Caryn's objection to TGDS (did I get that right?). All of Eclipse was very OOC considering they were doing a canon interpretation of the book, and the wrongness of it really peaks at the kiss (the closing speech is a final flutter in comparison).
We were very lucky in the theater Lulu picked. It was only about 10% full, but the one she usually goes to was sold out the week before and had people camping out for good seats. Everybody was very fannish and cool. I think we were the biggest group but I didn't check too closely. We were also probably the loudest group **blush** and led the cheers for Robward. Most everybody else were Jacob fans, I think, and one person called us haters once, but generally we got along, and most people were pretty quiet for most of BD2. Silly people cheered Jacob stripping and we lost a couple of Taylor's lines.
So I really really liked the intro. It took me a couple minutes to get the symbolism of the font change and the frost and everything. I noticed that some of the imagery reminded me of the tulip from the NM cover. It was a wonderful intro, but a leetle too long. It could have been two-thirds the length and been perfect. I liked how it led into Bella opening her eyes. All the cinematography was great but I really liked the way that they showed us how Bella perceives things now, as a vampire. I don't know how they got that kind of crystalline sharpness and brightness to things, but it worked for me. I wish that they hadn't had to cut through and change so much of the beginning. I missed everyone being there, and Alice getting the mirror, and Bella asking about her red eyes, and being more startled and disturbed by her image than pleased by it. Everyone in the theater sounded like they missed the jump from the window and throwing the heels back to Alice. But I loved the hunt, especially her interaction with the mountain lion (I know it was a pillow, but it was great). I was tickled that they tossed the fans a bone - didja notice that her dress was split up one side when they came back? It's a shame, but I always knew they couldn't actually show us her dress soaked in blood and ripped to shreds.
I thought the introduction to Renesmee was well done. The interaction around smelling Jacob could've been improved, but the line about them looking good together was surprising good because it was such a complete departure, and Nikki really made the moment shine with her enthusiasm to get Jacob in trouble. I thought Kris and Taylor really nailed the throwing-Jacob-around scene, especially the line about Nessie's nickname and how she realized that she was now capable of killing a wolf, and really needed to rein it in. I adored Robward here, and how he just played up the I-don't-really-care-about-Jacob-right-now part slightly. Cuz really, who wouldn't be mad? The scene with Charlie was rushed but good, and same for the arm-wrestling with Emmett. Really, I understand the need to rush, I just regret it. I loved the cottage (is there anyone who didn't love the cottage?) and the vampire sex was about perfect.
Yeah, all the plot building was great too. Not gonna detail it. Luffs to Rami Malek and Lee Pace. But my first big objection to the last half of the movie was Rami/Benjamin lighting his hands on fire and starting a campfire. I see how it provided a nice focal point and helped the wolves relate to the vampires and do pep rally talking rather than "we're all going to die" talking. But I just feel strongly about vampires and fire. Fire seems to permanently damage them. Humans heal from burns, but not vamps, and I don't think they would take the risk of being partially burned for an indefinite period of time. Just seems like a silly risk. The visual representation of Bella's shield was as good as it could be, I think. I think of it as a bit more like a soap bubble, but this was more dramatic.
When we got to The Scene I was a bit perplexed that Alice and Jasper came in by themselves without Huilan and Nahuel at first. Now it makes sense ... after 24 hours of thinking about it. But at first I was confused. Then Alice's line to Jasper makes perfect sense, and Aro's reaction, and Carlisle's reaction to Aro, and Aro's reaction to Carlisle almost made complete sense. But when they started to burn his head (it hurts to write that) I started to suspend belief and just cross my arms and stare at the screen. When Jasper was killed I was almost sure, because I don't see Alice ever putting Jasper in danger. But when Leah went into the crack in the earth, I was sure, because it interviews somebody talked about extending Leah's storyline as the most promising. So when Bella and Edward teamed up to tackle Aro, I pretty well knew it wasn't happening and could enjoy. The whole think was a great battle scene. But I was happy when it stopped. Then it made sense for Alice to say her new line, and introduce Huilen and Nahuel, to give Aro time to consider and make the right choice and leave them alone.
There were three endings that I loved: Alice's vision of Edward and Bella meeting Jacob and a full-grown Nessie next to a river. Bella showing Edward her memories was WONDERFUL - expected, yes, not passionate enough, but beyond beautiful. And the credits closing with all the Twilight vampires including Rachelle LeFevre was beyond wonderful. It really was a gift to the fans this time. Thank you Bill Condon!
No review would be complete without mention of Robward and Dadward. I thought that Edward was written and acted closer to the book this time, and I really appreciated that. Edward has been sufficiently emasculated that he really needed a bit of a boost, and this movie certainly gave him that, with his loving relationships with his family, his refusal to let Jacob get the best of him now, and his new assertiveness. We still got angsty brooding Edward especially when he blamed himself for everything because he fell in love with a human, and I don't think Edward will ever completely lose the angstiness. But the smiling and joking and interaction with Renesmee communicated more clearly than anything ever how generally happy Edward is in this new phase of his existence, with the large family he never had in his first life, and now his mate and child as well. There was even a sense that there was some comfort in having Jacob imprint on Renesmee, in that he knows that Renesmee will never lack for a committed person in her life. She will not go through lonely centuries. Jacob will always be what she needs, friend or lover or whatever. I felt that the movie communicated Edward better than BD Book 3 (the book) did, because I never felt that Steph edited that sufficiently. And I attribute everything that I liked about Edward to Rob. Really. I think the bits we were hearing for a few years about Edward's disempowerment and how he wouldn't do certain things, and Rob's determination to stand up for his character finally came to a point. I hope that Steph had something to do with it, that being a sign that she still loves Edward, but I'm sure Rob had a lot to do with it.
Might be the best movie of all.