Did you hear that? The collective, relieved whisper, “Finally!” from a majority of the population? It’s because we will never again have to deal with the crazed Twilight fans eagerly anticipating the release of another installment. We’re done. Cue the cheers and applause.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 was finally released to box office numbers larger than most movies can dream about, sitting pretty with over $140 million made in the opening weekend alone.
“Part 2” picks up exactly where “Part 1” left off, with Bella Cullen (Kristen Stewart, “Snow White and the Huntsman”) awaking to discover her new vampire self. With bright red eyes and a seemingly leaner physique, she hunts and shows restraint as a strong, bloodthirsty newborn. Then she meets her half-vampire, half-human baby, Renesmee, who is growing and maturing at a shockingly fast rate: The baby has teeth and is barely a week old. Bella also discovers that her best friend (and former love) Jacob (Taylor Lautner, “Abduction”) has “imprinted” on her new baby daughter, meaning he will be connected to the family for pretty much the rest of time.
Then, one of the scenes fans have been waiting for, the sex scene between Bella and husband Edward (Robert Pattinson, “Cosmopolis”). The literature describes vampire sex as unlike anything humans could ever experience, but the scene itself leaves viewers confused. Realizing the age of its fan base, the film seemed to brush over it too quickly, seeing it as a necessary evil instead of a crucial plot point.
After that letdown, a fellow vampire catches a glimpse of Renesmee, wrongly believing she is an “immortal child,” the creation of which is one of the highest and deadliest crimes in the vampire world. The vampire police/law enforcement/royal family, the Volturi, step in and plan to travel and find the Cullens to punish them for what they have done.
To prepare for what could escalate into a major brawl, the Cullens assemble all of their vampire friends and acquaintances, to stand in as witnesses and to take a stand against the Volturi and prove Renesmee is not what they think she is. The addition of the new vampires is probably the most fun part of the whole movie, as vampires from Ireland, Egypt, Russia and even the Amazon gather, bringing color to the dreary and boring landscape of Forks.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 does something most movies have no chance of ever doing: It may be better than the book from which it was written. Granted, “Breaking Dawn” isn’t high-quality literature by any means, but in the film there is a change from the story, which brings the excitement, surprise and suspense the novel never had.
If you’ve ever read “Breaking Dawn,” you’ll probably recognize the second half of the book is dull and anticlimactic. There is a huge build to a fight that never happens. You finish thinking you spent all of that time reading for no reason. While the plot in the movie isn’t riveting by any means, it is better than the book.
As for the film itself, there are quite a few things that are not surprising and even expected. Kristen Stewart’s acting skills haven’t much improved and her emotional range proved narrower than ever. For a mother and wife threatened to lose her life and everyone she loves, she doesn’t act very upset, ever. Rosalie (Nikki Reed, “Thirteen”) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone, TV’s “Aim High”), although likely paid hefty sums to reprise their roles, utter maybe one line each. They just stand there and don’t look nearly as pretty as their counterparts in the book series. But this standing around and staring at each other is one of the most common themes of this film.
The special effects are downright sad. In today’s film industry, the feats moviemakers can achieve are incredible. For the money these films rake in, more money could definitely have been spent making the werewolves and rapidly-aging baby seem believable.
But there are a few surprises. Taylor Lautner is only shirtless once or twice, for just a few seconds — you would think for the grand finale they would have him naked the entire time. The little girl playing the role of Bella and Edward’s daughter, Mackenzie Foy (when not altered by “special effects”) looks just like the daughter of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson would be expected to look like; she might even be a better actress than her movie mom. Speaking of better acting, Michael Sheen (“Midnight in Paris”), as Volturi leader Aro is devilishly entertaining, clearly enjoying his role and playing it as well as he always does.
There are two ways to look at Breaking Dawn — Part 2: It is either a fitting finale for a mediocre-at-best franchise and a good way to leave the story with the fans, or it’s just another boring and strange movie with sad acting and horrible special effects. Whichever you take it as, you can safely say, see ya later, Twi-hards.
2.5 out of 5 stars