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.