The name alone is ridiculous, and the name brings up a host of bad feelings among even the most devoted “Twilight” fans. Arguably, Renesmee is the worst thing that ever happened to the “Twilight” series on all accounts.
On the day she entered the picture in the final installment, “Breaking Dawn,” the narrative lost any credibility it had left.For those who have not read the books, Renesmee is a person. Kind of.
To be more specific, she’s the outrageous baby born to Bella and Edward a month after they get married. She only gets less believable when we discover that she will reach physical maturity at six years old – at which time she will look twenty. Also, Jacob Black (yes, Bella’s ex Jacob) falls madly in love with her mere minutes after her birth. But don’t worry about all that for now.
Instead, worry about the fact that Renesmee’s movie incarnation just took “Twilight” into a very uncomfortable realm known as the “uncanny valley.” To sum up several dissertations’ worth of information, the uncanny valley is a metaphorical category for things that are almost human – but not quite.
Characters that fall into the uncanny valley are usually computer-animated, and they look human enough to almost pass as flesh and blood, but still fake enough to give you a viscerally uncomfortable “something’s-wrong-here” kind of feeling. One good example of this is Spielberg’s recent “Tintin” movie. The computer animation is so good that the characters look like real people – but at the same time, they maintain their exaggerated cartoon features.
The sight of this phenomenon literally freaks people out on a subconscious level, and that’s why the “Tintin” movie did so poorly despite its good reviews.
Let’s carry this over to the “Twilight” franchise. Remember that in the books, Renesmee is growing at ridiculous speeds.
Over the span of “Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” she goes from looking like a newborn to looking like an elementary school kid – and we even see a scene with her as a young adult. This is understandably difficult to portray.
The filmmakers could have approached it in a number of ways (casting several children and one adult who look alike seems reasonable to me) but they elected to cast one twelve-year-old actress and paste digitally-aged versions of her face on about ten different people over the course of the movie. It turned out about as well as we could have expected.
Baby Renesmee looks like a lizard-humanoid-thing, and grown-up Renesmee looks like department store mannequin that has come to life. The fact that all these uncanny creatures resemble one another so well is really little consolation.On all accounts, the creators of “Breaking Dawn” were ambitious.
However, they ended up overstepping the bounds of what computers are able to do, and the movie suffered for it. I vote that the “Twilight” fans do with the movie what we did with the books: pretend “Breaking Dawn” never happened. It will save us a lot of heartache in the long run.