Movie Review: The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn – Part 2

The Twilight franchise finally comes to an end.  Although I’m sure given enough time, Hollywood will try to convince Stephenie Meyer to author more books so that they can make more films and an obscene amount of money.   Breaking Dawn Part 1 was slow and suffered the same fate as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, in that it attempted to stretch one book into two films.  In Harry Potter, we had great moments of nothing as Harry and friends wondered around the wilderness for a sword – in Breaking Dawn, we had long moments of flat conversations about love and other concerns.  Well, all that changes in Part 2.

In this finale, we begin right where Part 1 ended, with Bella becoming a bloodsucker.  The film opens with Bella throwing herself through the air like Brandon Routh in Superman Returns.  It’s interesting, as for the first time Bella can love Edward without any boundaries or fear that he might see her as his next meal.  Also they now have a child, Renesmee – which as a baby, allows for some of the worst and most pointless CGI.  The child is half-human, half-vampire, which leaves the child growing rapidly, and is the justification for the poor CG. I’d have opted for actors any day.  With Renesmee now in the Cullen household, we also discover Jacob has imprinted on the child and has a bond with it –a great excuse to show how powerful Bella is becoming when she fights with him.   Even Edward Cullen seems to have changed in this movie, although he’s still a vampire, he looks a lot happier.  Almost every early scene he’s smiling like he knows a secret and although Bella at times in the first movies looked a bit constipated she is a lot more relaxed and oddly alive as a vampire.

We soon discover this doesn’t fair well with the Volturi.  Irina reports to the sacred ones that she saw the Cullens with an immortal child – something which goes against Volturi laws as immortal children can’t be educated or controlled in their hunger for blood.

Demands are made and pretty soon the Cullens are recruiting witnesses from across the globe to help stand with them.  Of course we know this is going to be more about an epic fight because all sagas have epic fights in their conclusions.  Enter the Volturi, who I think look fantastic. Michael Sheen is one of the best actors of his generation. He reminds me of an old Moriarty character from the Sherlock Holmes books.  Tender and nice as he pours your drink and then comforting as you die of poison.   Although he demands proof that laws have been broken, the Cullens are led to believe he wants to slaughter them and recruit those with exceptional gifts.

Intentional or not, the main gang of Volturi look like they are rock stars from throughout the ages.  We have Marcus the hair metal rockstar, Caius the Grunge Kurt Cobain looking rockstar, Jane and Alec the emo rockstars, and, of course, Aro, the prog rocker.  Jokes aside they look menacingly dark.  I wanted to know more about characters like Marcus who seemed fascinating in his presence (to which I am told his story is explained in more depth in the books).

Walking from the trees in their black robes they look sinister.  Although as they want to fit in with the world and not stand out, perhaps fifty people in cloaks may not be the answer.  However, they look wonderfully stylised against the back drop of a snowy landscape.

The Cullens, thanks to Alice’s gift for premonitions of the oncoming Volturi, recruit other vampires in their fight, and some of these are tragically stereotyped, but it works.  The film doesn’t concern itself enough with vampire lore (Myer never read any vampire novels whilst writing the saga) let alone historic facts.  Irish wear flat caps and Amazon natives look like they stepped out of a western.

There is a campiness to the film too.  Something everyone is in on.  When Jacob decides to help Bella’s dad Charlie about his transformation trick, he decides to strip.  Although in the other movies he could burst into the wolf, in this one he strips like a scene from an old Levis 501 commercial and I couldn’t help but notice a smile on his face, which seemed to say, this is what some fans have waited for.  Jacob to strip.  But it’s not glossy, nor does it take itself so seriously that it looks obnoxious.  It made me laugh and made my wife smile.

The build up to the finale is fantastic and when the confrontation takes place, I really was on the edge of my seat.  I knew there was going to be a battle but I felt myself grow tenser as the Cullens made their pleas with the Volturi until eventually, after arguments and sinister laugh on Aro’s part, everything explodes with a decapitation.   A scene which left the whole cinema silent.

The fight scene is brutal in places and there are lots of heads being torn off and wolves having their necks broken, but through it all I was gasping as it felt monumental.  This series had come along way with not much action, besides the fantastic third instalment, Eclipse, but even that doesn’t stand up with this in terms of the brutal urgency and wonderful directing of this.  I was at times shouting (in my head) and my heart was racing, the film was taking risks with its gore and I didn’t know which characters would be safe but overall it was just such a well put together scene…however…

The thing about the last book of Twilight is there isn’t any real resolution like this. So the film makers have met the fans of the books and the fans of the films halfway.  Giving people who want that resolve a kind of closure whilst staying faithful to the book.  And it works, although at the time I was clenched fist and angry at the ending to this movie it certainly has stayed with me.  I’m really trying not to spoil things for people who haven’t seen it.

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