Review - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012), PG-13, 115 minutes - I find myself oddly conflicted right now.  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is not a film that I would have chosen to see myself (I went with my fiancé, who has followed the films after reading the books), but, unlike some of its predecessors, I do not feel ashamed for admitting that I've seen it.  I’ve made no qualms about my dislike for the first Twilight film (and I won’t waste time by rehashing the many reasons here).  But each subsequent entry has proven to be better than its predecessor.  Breaking Dawn Part 2 continues that trend in my opinion. If any of the Twilight films could be recommended for the male audience, it would be this one.

The story has finally gotten beyond the Bella/Edward/Jacob love triangle and actually introduces a touch of suspense and action into the mix.  Part 2 picks up, as one might imagine, right where Part 1 left off, with Bella having just given birth to her and Edward’s daughter Renesmee.  She wakes up from the ordeal of the delivery as a vampire (Edward having turned her in order to save her life).  Things quickly progress (as Renesmee grows at a rapid pace), until a relative of the Cullens sees Renesmee from afar and runs off to report her existence to the Volturi.  Apparently there’s a vampire law stating that immortal children are not allowed because they have no control over their thirst and powers when they have a tantrum.  What the Volturi don’t know is that Renesmee, being born before Bella was turned, is not a vampire.  She’s a hybrid, an immortal, but without a vampire's powers.  This misunderstanding leads to both the Cullens and the Volturi amassing allies in preparation for the inevitable confrontation that ends the Twilight Saga.

The cast carries over from the previous four films.  Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward), and Taylor Lautner (Jacob) lead the increasingly growing cast .  The other most recognizable cast members to this non-twihard were Billy Burke (Bella's dad Charlie), Michael Sheen (Aro, leader of the Volturi), Joe Anderson (Alistair), and Maggie Grace (whistle blower to the Volturi, Irina).  Unfortunately, those four all play fairly small parts (as in screen time, not in importance to the narrative).  Other regulars that should probably go without mention are Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen), Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen), Kellen Lutz (Emmett Cullen), and Dakota Fanning (Jane).

As I think I have mentioned at times in the past, I have not read the source material for this film franchise.  At the same time, I have never questioned the quality of the story that Stephanie Meyer originally wrote in her novels.  I mean hell, you don’t sell gazillions of copies by telling a bad story right?  As I was watching Breaking Dawn Part 2, I found myself asking the same question over and over in my head: ‘were four full movies really necessary to get to this point the story?’.  As an outsider to the series,  I feel like the love triangle portion of the story was dragged out much longer than need be before getting to what could be considered the third act of the overall story (which, as we know is the last fifth of the film adaptation).  Of course I could be saying that because I would have liked to see more of the Volturi or more of the secondary vampire abilities, but hey, I'm a guy and am not part of the target demographic.

My life has changed substantially since this franchise first hit the big screen. I have gone from being a single guy who had only a passing curiosity about the first film (which was subsequently killed after renting and viewing it) to an engaged man who is more open to such movies because my fiancé has interest in them.  As a result, I am fully aware that my viewpoint has changed a bit, but I do believe that these films have progressively improved from the get go.  I try very hard not to be too negative with my reviews, but I can't help but wonder how much better this series of films would have been had some characters been cast with stronger actors/actresses (I won't name names, but I'd be willing to bet that you know who I'm referring to), or if there had even been continuity in directors (there were four for five different films).

If you’re a fan of the books and/or movies then you’ve either already seen this or will be shortly.  My review won't sway you one way or another! But if you’re like me and have no particular attachment to the Twilight phenomenon, there’s a good chance that you’ll at least be entertained.  Breaking Dawn Part 2 draws heavily (obviously) on the four films that came before it.  If you haven't seen those, I wouldn't suggest checking this out because you'll more than likely be completely lost.  I feel a little odd stating that as I believe there's a good bit of common sense that goes along with it, but I can say that there is enough suspense and action in Breaking Dawn Part 2 to make it worth sitting through should one find themselves there because they are accompanying a true fan.











*****SPOILERS*****

Can there really be spoilers for such a popular franchise?  Maybe not, but here are a few thoughts that I separated just in case:

- There was a nice bit of misdirection at one point in the film that had my fiancé and many others in the theater mumbling ‘that didn’t happen in the books!’.  You then realize that it is really just a vision of what might have been.  I felt that it was executed fairly well, but it gets extra props for temporarily causing many true fans to get concerned over where the movie was going.

- I felt that the sparkling take on vampires was unique but completely overdone in the first movie.  By this last film, this aspect of vampires is all but lost (or reduced to the point that I didn't even notice it).  I suppose that it becomes less of an issue in the later films as the Cullens are pretty much hiding out in the forest and not making regular contact with humans. But if I'm being honest, no sparkle is better than the amount shown in the first installment.

- I am still bothered by the effects used to show the vampire’s super speed.  It still looks very cheesy.

- No Anna Kendrick this time around.  Seeing as though she played one of the few humans in the series (and humans are decidedly non-existent this time around), I guess that isn't so surprising.

Comments

  1. I read all the books, and the last half of the last book was hands down my favorite. Although, as a girl, I'm not immediately off-put by the romance part, the gathering of armies and epic stand off is obviously so much better ;)

    Chris has seen all the movies so far because he had to watch them either with me or his daughter, so we'll have to grab this one as as a rental to complete the viewing.

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