It was a long, hard, dusty road for the action-adventure-vampire-romance Twilight saga, but Lionsgate finally brought out the concluding chapter with "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" (2012). We have all the favorite characters back one last time, and all the same actors are playing them.
|There are weird vibes all through The Twilight Saga|
Bella (Kristen Stewart) has given birth to Edward Cullen's (Robert Pattinson) baby, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), and all seems well. She has a new life and new vampire powers, and for once, nobody seems to be menacing her and her family.
|Kristen Stewart showing how manly she can be|
All that suddenly changes. Vampire Irina (Maggie Grace) is afraid of Renesmee. She thinks the child will have powers that can threaten her hold on her clan, the Volturi, and even their very existence. The only thing for her to do, she decides, is to wipe out the baby one way or the other. She goes to Aro (Michael Sheen) and convinces him to lead an attack against the child, even though things are not as she portrays them.
|Now there's an imposing army for you|
Bella and the Cullens, naturally, learn of this plot against them. They seek out any allies they can find and prepare for battle, training their army. Jacob (Taylor Lautner) becomes the protector of little Renesmee, imprinting her in a sweet way, and rather than fighting Edward over Bella, he becames an integral part of the team.
|It's rare to see such pale people|
Ultimately, we get to the climactic battle. Unlike the book, where there is no actual battle described, here the film-makers decided to go all out. Of course, the book mentions a battle, but does not describe it in any kind of detail. Well, the film goes into exquisite detail, all computer-generated and skull-ripping. There are numerous casualties, and some small twists that may shock those who expect everything to turn out precisely the same way that the book did. Everybody who cares about these characters should wind up happy with the "look forward" ending.
|Everybody gets their moments as they wind up the "saga."|
The score by Carter Burwell is very pleasant. The direction by Bill Condon, though, is a bit soapy and uninspired, fairly fast-paced at certain times (there was a lot of material to cover) and incredibly slow at others (a seven-minute PG-13 love scene!). Rather than speak, the actors tend to give deep, meaningful looks that are meant to show how deeply they feel about things. That may work if you are completely and utterly emotionally invested in the characterers, but, if not and you are in the right mood, it may become a bit annoying or even comical. Some characters don't seem to be able to speak - they just grimace or make faces. Others are monosyllabic and say a word here or there, but otherwise are mute as well. Nothing indicates that these people have a brain in their heads. Bella smiles several times in this installment, but Edward Cullen remains stoic. Taylor Lautner does his cheesecake act at one point, which is sure to please the ladies, and there are some pretty female vampires (now there's a thought) to placate their dates.
|Bella looking after her child.|
On the positive side, the overall quality of this one seems high for the series overall. Kristen Stewart in particular seems more alive and credible, and the scenery is especially gorgeous. The love is thrown all around in this film, it's definitely group hug time. On the negative side, the script is weighted down by being forced to stick too closely to the book (except for the battle, which is the best moment of film unless you really do love all that grimacing and face-making). Lines that read well in a long novel often get clunky in a quick (under two hours) film, and that's what happens here. To depart from the books would invite the wrath of hordes of Twilight readers, so there wasn't much Condon could do. The beginning of the film has a very rote feel to it, as Bella goes through all the motions fans will expect of her, but the second half thankfully gets more lively. The makeup and graphics are good for the series, but probably won't win any awards.
|I think I saw that guy in a bar this one time....|
This is a film for fans. Since it is faithful to the books for the most part, anyone who enjoyed the previous films in this saga should enjoy this one as well. If you aren't familiar with the series, this definitely is not the one to start with. Someone who hasn't been indoctrinated yet might not appreciate the wonderfulness of Bella jumping up and biting a cougar in the neck. Instead, they might consider it the height of ridiculousness (and perhaps walk out at that point). When someone is killed, but it turns out only to be a "vision," a casual viewer also might be a bit annoyed. But fans may simply be amused and cheered by such displays. That's why proper preparation by the viewer is absolutely vital before you stick out your own neck and pay to see or buy this.
|That's a big ol' wolf, this must be serious.|
Half the fun of this film is seeing it with other fans. Watching it alone on DVD won't be nearly as much fun. When the theater erupts in cheers or laughter, it covers over the banality and makes the high (and low) points that much sweeter. It is the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" of the 21st Century. If you're going to see it, see it in the theater if you can. It definitely will lose something on DVD.
|I'm not sure why Bella doesn't just take out the enemy single-handedly, I mean, she's so awesom and all|
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" is better than Part 1, and maybe is the best entry in the entire series (which began way back in 2008 with the original "Twilight") because it has a little more action (it actually felt about the same, to be honest, but knowing that they were winding things up in and of itself made the story inherently more interesting). Look, it's not "Citizen Kane," but it will more than adequately entertain you if you want it to. Isn't that what it is all about with today's "group-think," everyone enjoying the same thing at the same time? All others should study up first by watching the earlier installments before trying this one and see if you enjoy them. Then, if you, too, are absorbed into the collective, you may wish to graduate to this concluding chapter.