THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2
By Gary Murray
Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Written by Melissa Rosenberg based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Directed by Bill Condon
Running time 115 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Cable
Twilight is a series of movies that has been a cash juggernaut in the last few years. The tale of human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) have stirred the passions of teen audiences around the world. Well, it is finally over with the last of the series The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.
The story picks up from Part 1. Bella is now a vampire with a new daughter Renesmee. As a newborn, Bella has to take control of her new powers and her thirst for blood. Her scenes of hunting are a solid action piece that is meant to hold audiences until the big ending.
She is also now stronger than Edward and a light highlight of the film is her arm wrestling match with Emmett (Kellan Lutz). There is still the triangle between the couple and Jacob (Taylor Lautner). He has formed a special bond with the baby and he and the other werewolves pledge to fight beside the vampires to protect the tyke.
Renesmee is no ordinary child. She is growing at an exponential rate. Since she is half human and half immortal, the child has special powers. On a day out, another vampire from the Delali coven sees he child and assumes that the little one is an immortal child.
She reports this to the Volturi. Then we get the back story of immortal children and how they almost destroyed the vampires by being obvious killers. If a coven has an immortal child then every member of the coven must be destroyed. An immortal child is the worst violation.
The Cullen clan, in a show of unity with Bella and Edward, fan out across the world to find other vampires to witness the special powers of Renesmee are not the powers of an immortal child. Everyone is suspicious of Renesmee until she meets them and displays her special powers.
Eventually, the Cullen’s gather 18 vampires that include Amazon blood suckers. They all have their personal reasons to challenge the Volturi, some very old and personal vengeances. The entire film builds to a battle between the sides that want to protect Renesmee and those who want to destroy the child.
The only reason the fan boys in the crowd will be there is for the final confrontation between the two sides. When the ending epic battle takes place, it is a melee of werewolf fangs and vampire decapitations. It becomes a CGI moment of twists and turns with bodies flying up and over each other. But, the final twist ending feels a bit disingenuous (see the ending of Savages to better understand the concept) and more than a bit of a cop-out. Without giving away anything, the ending will make many feel cheated.
There is nothing I could write, good or bad, that will change any bit of the box office for this Twilight film. And to be honest, the film is not made for middle-aged men. Just as Star Wars is for the fan boy geeks, Twilight is made for the fan girl chicks.
Over the last few years the cast have grown as actors. Kristen Stewart has changed her character from being put-upon to taking charge. It could easily be argued that she is the personification of female empowerment and dominance in a former male world view. It becomes a feminist manifesto in taking charge of destiny and not being the typical victim. She is much more than a protective mother; she is a warrior protecting everything.
Both Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner become more of eye candy for the females in the audience than characters one can identify with. Truly, the only reason either seem to be in the film is to take off their shirts, something that was relegated to female roles in decades past.
Director Bill Condon keeps the film going at a brisk pace and never bogs down as so many other entries in this series have done. Parts One, Three and especially Four were all way too drawn out and as painful as a root canal to watch. This time the film moves along with only a few places that dragged. The movie feels as if it has something it wants to accomplish and not just another sluggish fodder for the fan base.
Of the five films, I considered the second feature Eclipse as the strongest entry. This one falls a close second to that one. It is much better than most of the other movies and a solid ending to the series.
As a single entry, the movie does stand on its own. Without having to see the other parts, one can still enjoy this part by itself. One would have to wonder why someone who had not seen the other Twilight flicks would start with this one. Basically put, it is not a bad film or a great film–it is just not a film for me.