The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Review
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 11.16.2012
Has Twilight finally done something to entertain the guys in the audience? Damn straight it did.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Directed by Bill Condon
Written by Melissa Rosenberg
Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro
Music Composed by Carter Burwell
Kristen Stewart ... Bella Swan
Robert Pattinson ... Edward Cullen
Taylor Lautner ... Jacob Black
Peter Facinelli ... Dr. Carlisle Cullen
Elizabeth Reaser ... Esme Cullen
Ashley Greene ... Alice Cullen
Jackson Rathbone ... Jasper Hale
Kellan Lutz ... Emmett Cullen
Nikki Reed ... Rosalie Hale
Billy Burke ... Charlie Swan
Chaske Spencer ... Sam Uley
Mackenzie Foy ... Renesmee
Maggie Grace ... Irina
Jamie Campbell Bower ... Caius
Christopher Heyerdahl ... Marcus
Michael Sheen ... Aro
Lateef Crowder ... Santiago
Daniel Cudmore ... Felix
Charlie Bewley ... Demetri
Billy Wagenseller ... Vasilii
Dakota Fanning ... Jane
Lee Pace ... Garrett
Guri Weinberg ... Stefan
Noel Fisher ... Vladimir
Runtime: 115 min
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity Official Website
I will be the first to admit that I am not the target audience for The Twilight Saga. I found the first movie to be a barely average thriller and New Moon was even worse, a boring melodrama that cared about nothing but the teenage girls and middle aged housewives with a thing for Taylor Lautner and/or Robert Pattinson. Eclipse was better because 30 Days of Night director David Slade actually brought action to the proceedings, but the first Breaking Dawn drove the saga back into the teenage girl cellar.
Fear not, because The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is the best movie in the entire series. It is actually a pretty decent film as well if you can get past the plot contrivance that drives the big climax.
It is hard to review a movie like this without giving some spoilers to people who read the books, so if you want to go in completely devoid of any knowledge of the changes from book to screen, stop reading here. Otherwise, let's get into this.
My biggest problem with most of the Twilight series is that I never really felt it spoke to the male portion of the audience and, even worse, it was boring. That is not a nice word to use in reviews because that could be like someone who doesn’t like dramatic talky scenes complaining about Lincoln. No, the fact of the matter is that I use the word to describe the way the movies and books were set up.
The story up until now played out in the first person point-of-view of Kristen Stewart's Bella. This hurts the enjoyment of the films because, in my opinion, Bella is one of the least interesting characters in the entire story. Sure, that is sacrilegious to many Twi-hards because the point of the books is to show a young woman (similar to the target audience) falling in love with a dangerous man (a vampire in this case) and the two making their love work. It is a wish fulfillment fantasy. However, that doesn't make her interesting.
We start off Breaking Dawn - Part 2 with a scene showing the newly turned Bella hunting for blood. Then she sniffs a familiar scent and races off to claim a human victim. Luckily Edward catches her and convinces her that a deer (or mountain lion) is a better choice for dinner. From this point until the snow sticks to the ground, I hated the movie. The dialogue was wooden and horrendous (as it is in all the movies) and I found myself turning to my wife with a questioning look of how any woman could listen to this drivel and enjoy it.
The CGI at the start was also terrible. There is nothing worse in all the movies than watching vampires run at super speed through the woods. I thought that until I watched Bella scale a mountainside, chasing the human. It was terrible. There is no other word to describe it.
There were some things that made the first hour or so of the movie tolerable. The plot basically has Alice tell everyone that the vampire council, the Volturi, was coming to kill them because they mistakenly believe that Edward and Bella created a Immortal with their child, instead of the truth that the baby was conceived while Bella was still human and is therefore a half blood.
This causes Alice to disappear after giving a warning that the Volturi would be there when the snow sticks that winter and the family needed to find re-enforcements. The Cullen's all break up and go looking for allies to stand in the fight against the Volturi. Most of these allies are pretty generic and boring, even though they all possess special powers. The highlight is Lee Pace's Garrett, who is actually a pretty damn cool character in the movie.
There is also humor spread throughout that works, including a highlight where Jacob strips to his undies to turn into a werewolf in front of Bella's dad to help preserve the relationship between father and daughter. However, outside of those rare scenes and Lee Pace's character, this movie was setting up for a very low ranking in my review. Knowing that the story in the book ends with them talking it out with the Volturi, I had a feeling this movie was just a colossal waste of time.
Then the climax started, I sat up straight for the first time with a big dumb smile on my face and the movie climbed at least three points in my mind. Not only did they add a huge scene that was not in the books, but it was a good 15-30 minute battle scene that included at least 20 deaths, people getting their heads torn off and faces ripped in half, and some major deaths that had some Twilight fans screaming in the theater and others too horrified to speak.
How this big fight ever got past the MPAA ratings board I will never know. I guess since vampires are without blood, they used the "but there was no blood" excuse, but this was big-time R-rated carnage. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen in a Twilight movie and the reaction of the crowd was priceless. There was a slight letdown after the fight, but even then Michael Sheen's Aro made it work with his perfect comic timing. Yes, the very ending of the movie was contrived, but it had to be done to make the real Twilight fans leave happy.
And, why did it work so well? It was from Alice Cullen's point of view and that made all the difference in the world. I won't say any more about that scene but it is what makes Breaking Dawn - Part 2 worth watching. Hell, if you hate Twilight, rent the DVD when it comes out and then fast forward to the fight. It is well worth it. The cinematography, fight choreography and special effects also rose a great deal during the fight as well. It was almost like director Bill Condon looked at it and said, 'this part is actually good so I'll put all my work into it'.
I also want to give one last positive credit to Condon for his final credit sequence, where he has older clips and the names of every major character from all five movies, even those who did not appear in this final installment. It was a very nice dedication to those who helped build the franchise.
The 411: Most of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was the same old crap. That means that unless you are a dedicated Twi-hard, you won't find much to enjoy in the movie. However, that final fight scene makes this movie unlike any in the franchise and is just ball-to-the-wall crazy. If you girlfriend forces you to take her, just remember that it will pay off at the end. For the best reaction, let her see the final fight without any prior knowledge and then revel in the shock and horror on her face as her favorite characters all start to die.