Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
Director: Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters)
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Stephenie Meyer, Karen Rosenfelt
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke, Mackenzie Foy, Michael Sheen
MPAA Rating: PG13
Running time: 115 min.
Four books, five movies and millions of fans and dissenters later, the phenomenon that started as a dream has come to an end. Ups, downs, indifference; it’s been a hell of a ride and one that has changed the landscape of Hollywood and fandom, at least temporarily. I can only imagine the level of pressure on director Bill Condon. Not only responsible with completing a franchise, he was essentially tasked with wrapping an entire movement and as suggested by Breaking Dawn Part 1 (review), he was not only up to the challenge but moving in the right direction. So what of the conclusion? Is Bella’s ascension to vampirism successful and her eternal romance with Edward last? Obviously the answer to that is yes but the delivery is better than this fan could have hoped for.
The problem with Stephenie Meyer’s final novel is that it encompassed too many events. Everything seems to happen in “Breaking Dawn:” Bella and Edward get married, they have a baby, Bella dies and reawakens as a vampire to find that her daughter is a half-breed who is growing at an alarming rate and if that’s not bad enough, the Volturi, the Italians who keep tabs on the vampire world, come knocking when they think that the Cullens have broken one of their laws by creating an immortal child. The entire thing culminates into a battlefield showdown for a battle that never comes. Or doesn’t it?
With the exception of Eclipse (review), by far the most action heavy of the stories, the action sequences in the Twilight franchise have seemed like a stretch, a requirement of the studio to attract the all important 18-34 male demographic but Condon is the only filmmaker to incorporate the fight sequence, a fantastic sequence at that, into the story without missing a beat. It doesn’t feel forced or squeezed in but it’s likely to give more than one fan a minor heart palpitation with its opening, not to mention a collective sigh of relief when its over. Aro (the great Michael Sheen really playing up the maniacal) and his brothers have more than just “protecting the race” on their minds and when the battle lines are drawn, it gets violent and ugly while remaining free of blood.
This all comes much later, after Alice has her vision of the Volturi’s arrival and she and Jasper head off (who knows where) leaving the family to fight, seemingly, alone.
The Cullens gather the troops, sort of speak, reaching out far and wide to gather witnesses of Renesmee (yes, have a laugh, it wasn’t good the first time I read it and it’s still not good) growth and proof that the little girl wasn’t created but born. Among them are familiar faces like the Denali’s, close friends of the family who were introduced in Breaking Dawn: Part 1 but among them are others, many others most of whom I can’t remember by name but rather by power. Most of them are quickly forgotten footnotes but a few do stand out namely Lee Pace as the Garrett, a nomad with enough swagger and personality to get himself into trouble and Rami Malek as Benjamin, a vampire with the ability to manipulate the elements who has been hidden away in Egypt, away from the watchful eye of Aro who loves to collect unique powers. Both are little more than side characters among a plethora of other witnesses who blend into the background of the book yet here they are some of the most memorable addtions to the saga. If only there was more of them.
For the most part, Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is fantastic, a mix of romance, drama and action which opens with one of the most gorgeous title sequences of the year, but it does falter in places. The character blur to depict speed is completely unnecessary, as was the ridiculous CGI scene of Bella and Edward running through the forest (hey, at least they weren’t frolicking in ridiculous outfits), they should have taken a queue from Victoria chase sequence in New Moon (review). Even with the minor problems Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is not only one of the best entries into the franchise (Twilight (review) still holds a special place in my heart as the one that started it all), it is also an apt finale to a series that has captures the hearts and minds of millions of fans.
So long Edward and Bella. It has been great sharing your story over the last seven years. Here’s to forever.
Click “play” to see the trailer:
Flixster Profile for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2