Breaking Dawn Part 2 – Movie Review

Bill Condon does justice to the source material, closing the book in style on the saga

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” (whew!) has been described, even before release, as “the end of an era.” “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” Shakespeare once said: in this particular case, of the end of the vampire saga, there isn’t much sorrow to talk about, but some sweetness is felt.

The final installment in “The Twilight Saga,” the fifth, is based on the second half of the fourth novel by Stephenie Meyer. That in itself should be enough to let you know that, unless you know your Twilight mythology, this is a party you’re not invited to.

Moreover, it’s clear from the start: having shot “BD 1” and “BD 2” back to back and counting on the support of a huge and incredibly loyal fanbase, director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg see absolutely no point in wasting time to welcome the uninitiated into the story.

Just as well. One can catch up along the way if one is so inclined.

“The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2” begins the very instant “The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1” ends: after giving birth to the child that had been killing her from the inside because the father was a vampire (he of the broody looks and sparkly skin, Edward, as played by Robert Pattinson), Bella Cullen nee Swan (Kristen Stewart) is turned into a vampire.

The film opens with the first look at the world through her vampire eyes, something fans of the franchise have been waiting for for at least 4 whole years, when the first film came out and put movie studio Summit Entertainment on the map by becoming a blockbuster.

She is welcomed into the Cullen family of vegetarian vampires but, this time, she’s on the same footing as they are: no longer the insecure, pouting, lip-biting teen of previous movies, Bella is now even more beautiful than they are, and that in itself means a lot.

With her blood-red eyes, luscious mane, incredibly photogenic and luminous face, Bella is just as powerful as she’s beautiful: she exercises a kind of self-control no other Newborn was ever capable of, which astonishes even her own immortal hubby, finally happy that he can show her just how much he loves her (yes, in that way too).

There is trouble in paradise, though. Even though the newlyweds and new parents are happily installed in a new cottage and peace has been made with the Wolves, including with Jake (Taylor Lautner, strolling in with visibly erect nipples in the first quarter of an hour of the film), their child could mean the end of the Cullens.

Renesmee (played by the doll-like Mackenzie Foy and youngified though CGI to an almost creepy extent) is a half-breed who has the power to communicate her most intimate thoughts by touch. She also grows at a rapid pace and is Jake’s chosen one after he imprints on her. Don’t ask, it’s a Wolf thing.

The “worst” thing about Renesmee is that the Volturi – an Italian covenant of law-making vampires – believe she’s an Immortal Child and, thus, a serious danger to the entire race of vampires because she’s uncontrollable, completely ruthless.

To make a very long story short, the Cullens will have to convince whatever allies they can that Renesmee should be allowed to live, while the Volturi, led by the Nazi-like but utterly civilized Aro (played with relish by Michael Sheen), are determined to off her regardless of the kind of proof they’re presented with.

The movie strays from the book at the end, in a scene that delivers more violence and (imaginary) gore than all the other 4 movies put together: it’s a bold move on the part of the producers but, fans will agree, also a necessary one.

There really isn’t any use trying to find reason behind some of the things happening on screen (like, why does Aro need proof of Renesmee’s true nature when no one – no one! – could ever lie to him, or why do vampires have fires burning in their hearth), and no one but a non-fan would ever think to do that.

Even so, “BD 2” does what the other films in the series only slightly managed to do: it does justice to the source material, while offering the culmination fans have been eagerly waiting for. It’s like 115 full minutes of treats to quench the thirst of Twi-hards.

At the same time, because it shows most of the action through Bella’s vampire eyes, it provides Condon with the perfect opportunity to introduce us into a world like no other, with plenty of help from cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, whose focus on flora, fauna and the animal life is as sharp as it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

The dialog might be sappy or just plain bad, interactions might be perceived as forced (Meyer’s vampires are famous for looking good but not particularly so for being excellent conversationalists), and certain plot turns are definitely illogical but, as far as filmmaking goes, “BD 2” actually stands out.

Condon is an excellent director who knows not to take himself too seriously – at least, not here. He does an excellent job of letting the camera fill in the huge gaps in the story, while Stewart and Pattinson do the rest.

As woody, awkward and unintentionally silly as they might have been in previous films, this is actually the first time they’re visibly having fun – and it shows every time they come on screen.

Another thing that Condon does is remember to include the fans in the experience: the closing credits are nothing but a warm tribute to the entire series, one that will undoubtedly leave Twi-hards a bit emotional.

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” marks the end of a film franchise as vilified as it was popular. It deserves props for being the best in the series and, this way, going out on a high note – however, that’s not to say it’s a memorable or outstanding film for anyone who did not buy into the whole Twilight frenzy.

“The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2” runs for 115 minutes, and is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images and some sensuality. It opened in most territories on November 16, and will end its run in Japan on December 28.

The Good

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” marks an improvement for the series, both visually and as far as acting goes. It’s campy and epic, beautiful and nostalgic at the same time, fun as only popcorn entertainment can be. Excellent cinematography and a solid score make up for the obvious holes in the story.

The Bad

It’s a “Twilight” movie, so the focus is on pleasing the fans of the other installments and the books, not on delivering a solid film that stands on its own, without having to rely on external factors (like reading the books and seeing the other films).

The acting is hilarious at times, the plot riddled with absurdities, while CGI is still at amateur levels in many a scene.

The Truth

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” is fun. It’s far from a good film, but it does offer entertainment and escapism, and a healthy laugh here and there.

Fans will obviously disagree: from their point of view, it caps off an awesome ride, in a way not even they had expected. Awesomeness: at the end of the day, it’s a matter of perspective.


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