Breaking Dawn - Part 2

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"Should I call you "Dad?" "

March 13th, 2013

When you look at the name of this site and the general movies we actually review you probably think you have a pretty good idea where we stand on the Twilight saga (Morty has never hidden his dislike). But unlike most adult males (I know it's a generalisation) I don't have any issues with the franchise and have enjoyed them as throwaway fluff (Aside from Breaking Dawn Part 1 which is a shambles). Breaking Dawn Part 2 is probably the best entry in the series but is that enough for non fans to actually sit down and watch.

As I write this I know it's kind of a mute point in trying to sway twilight fans one way or the other but the reason why I'm actually reviewing this film is to try and convince those who have dismissed the franchise outright to actually give it a chance.

I've always found it odd at how vocal non fans of the series are about their hatred of it. More often than not those who condemn the films the most haven't even watched them. It seems there is a slight bitterness at Twilights success (especially in geek circles) but if millions out there like them why not let them enjoy it rather than trying to shatter someone else's happiness. I mention this as I always feel like I have to make excuses for why I like the films but why should I? (No one ever questions why I like Star Wars).

Breaking Dawn Part 2 picks up from the cliff-hanger ending of Part 1 (it should be a given that spoilers for the previous films will be present). Bella, now a vampire has to learn how to control her animalistic urges for the safety of her new born baby and human family members. Ageing at a rapid state her daughter Renesmee is mistaken for an Immortal child by the Volturi (a vampire council) who declare war on the Cullens. Now the vampire clan only have days to gather supernatural aid and prepare for an oncoming battle.

The last movie for me was an exercise into the mundane and a rather vapid excuse for a movie studio to squeeze even more money out of a concluding series. I have never seen a movie waste so much time giving the viewer nothing in return, there was no build or focus in the story presented and very little relates to what we get in Part 2. In fact it's actually possible to cut that film down to a 15 minute chunk (Bella and Edward get married, they have a child, Bella dies) and plonk it on the start of Part 2 to create what the movie Breaking Dawn should have been.

The first thing that strikes you about Breaking Dawn Part 2 is that unlike the previous movies there is actually a plot thread and an end goal for the characters to work towards. While a danger would pop up before it was more an obstacle to interrupt our romantic leads copulation. With the love triangle finally at rest there is more of a streamlined focus than meandering relationship difficulties.

While I can say I'm the biggest fan of the revised vampire lore used in the Twilight saga (I really don't see the point of sparkling vampires, why is that a hindrance?) Breaking Dawn offers up a much larger look at the mythology for the wider world and offers up some brilliantly interesting ideas (The Immortal child back story is a lot darker than I expected). It a shame that the super powers we come across were not explore further previously.

Having read through the books (Don't ask me why) I always expected the final moments to be a very large cop out (anti climatic) and yet the Breaking Dawn movie manages to bring with it a somewhat twist ending (with scenes that were not in the book). I won't give it away here but the final battle is relentlessly entertaining raising the stakes (there are no actual stakes) to an almost unbearable level as hero and villains fall in amazingly violent ways (I'm not sure how it escaped with a 12 rating). In most films and TV shows when such a trick is pulled it will leave you irritated but this time it will leave you impressed they had the balls to go with it. If you have the chance watch this film with someone who enjoys the movies as their reaction will be priceless.

While I was impressed with the story (and a satisfying conclusion to the saga it was) not everything was a success. The CGI is used in over abundance and aside from the vampire deaths and transformed wolves (They are really impressive) it's all rather naff and takes you out of the film.

The CGI baby Renesmee is creepy (and poorly rendered) until she is switched out for an actual actor ,I'm not sure what the thought process was as they gloss over her ageing in a montage which means they really could have used an actual infant. Bella's emergence as a vampire also falls flat with a running sequence that looks more artificial than old school green screen effects. If the money was being saved for the final confrontation then they really did make the correct choice but it does feel rather cheap at the beginning.

The entire plot also hinges on the actions of a vampire called Irina (Maggie Grace) and her misinterpretation of Renesmee as an Immortal child. Unfortunately I struggled to remember what her motivation was as she only appeared in the previous movie for 2 minutes of screen time. Trying to recall a minor event from over a year ago was a challenge and one not alleviated by any dialogue refreshers. You really have to be a fan or have watched the previous movie recently to recall it.

On the acting front everyone is more than adequate and delivers with what they have to play with. The cast are not the greatest actors in the world but they are far from the inept bumblers that some would have you believe (I don't think they deserved all the recent Razzie awards for worst actor/actress). Then again the Volturi are able to outshine all with some very out there performances (Michael Sheen is an absolute joy to watch) in such a small amount of screen time. If the rumours about the series continuing via spin off media they really should consider running with the Volturi as a focus.

Not only is Breaking Dawn Part 2 a near perfect ending to the saga (that doesn't mean it's great) but it is the most fully formed narrative wise out of all 5 movies. It may sound strange but Twilight really is the best adaptation of bringing a book series to the screen faithfully recreating all the elements that make them up (that also includes all the bad). For fans Breaking Dawn Part 2 is an absolute treat giving them a memorable moment in film history. For the rest of us it's still a good movie (and worth watching for Michael Sheen) and entertains while it's on. It won't change your world but it also won't destroy it.

Other reviews in the series

Breaking Dawn Part 1
Breaking Dawn Part 2

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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:Bill Condon
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg
Stephenie Meyer
Starring: Kristen Stewart
Robert Pattinson
Taylor Lautner