Movie ReviewMovies

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 Movie Review

Let’s just get this out of the way: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the best of the series. While previous installments are purely fan enjoyment, the films helmed by Bill Condon have a broader appeal thanks in part to actually being well-crafted, enjoyable fare. While Part 1 dealt with less intense issues – like a beautiful wedding, honeymoon, and unplanned pregnancy – Part 2 has the exciting task of wrangling up a crew of misfit vampires for an epic battle to save the Cullen clan from the Volturi’s merciless ruling on an inaccurate charge. Given the quickened plot and action, it’s no wonder that this is the best Twilight, books and films included.

Opening with Bella’s new transformation, Condon utilizes clever tricks to show just how she’s changed. The strength, the vision, the clarity, and her unique power all come across beautifully without the cheese and heavy-handedness that was present in earlier Twilights. While the Cullens were supposed to have this unnatural beauty to them throughout the series, it’s Bella that gets the glamourous undead existence. Hair and makeup, lighting, and direction all come together to make Kristen Stewart the belle of the ball – every shot is a glamour shot, even in the midst of battle.

The introduction of the new vampires really livens up the dynamics of the series. Now it is not just Edward/Bella/Jacob, it is the Cullens and their far flung friends united against a common enemy. With a total of 18 vampires, not all of them get a chance to shine beyond their cursory introduction. However, Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies, The Fall) steals his scenes. Playing an old American vampire who’s been in every major US battle, he literally has an electrifying spark with one of the Denali vampires, and obviously relishes in this role.

The final battle over Reneseme, what the entire film has been leading up to, does not disappoint. Wolves, vampires, limbs flying, decapitations galore – it’s an exciting sequence keeps you guessing largely thanks to those magical powers that select members possess. While these are not the vampires in traditional pop culture, their abilities do make for an interesting battle. The battle sways in favor of the Volturi with Alec’s debilitating vapor and Jane’s (Dakota Fanning) painful mind games, and then the power shifts back to the Cullens’ clan with Benji who can control the elements and the Quileute werewolves. There’s far more bloodshed than I was expecting and it makes for an exhilarating ride.

Unfortunately, this movie wants to have it’s action and happy ending too which diminishes some of the tension in the last act. But, it does its fan service by giving Bella and Edward their moment in the sun, set to the perfect song for the situation “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. Even those who were staunchly on Team Jacob might find themselves happy with the ending.

It’s interesting to note that the film feels far more opened ended and sequel-ready than I remember the book being. With how the battle ends, the Volturi’s eyes are set on a new prize and the old Dracula-esque vampires warn of a much bigger battle that will inevitably unfold when people wise up to how destructive their rule really is. While notes of this is in the text, it certainly feels like Summit Entertainment may be leaving this one open  for a rainy day. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a Renesme and Jacob story within a decade’s time.

 

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters today.

 

 

 

Previous post

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection - DVD Review

Next post

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, "Charlie's Mom has Cancer" Episode Recap

The Author

Kristal Bailey

Kristal Bailey

With a soft spot for movies that fall into the “So Bad They’re Good” category, Kristal Bailey regularly watches B-movies, 80s comedies, and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s. She also refuses to grow up if that means she has to hide her love for Disney and Pixar films.

In her free time, she enjoys reading graphic novels or books that are soon to be turned into movies, watching hours and hours of television, and spending way too much time on Twitter.