Review: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Almost Had Me for a Minute
by Jeremy Kirk
November 16, 2012
They almost went out with a bang. Roughly 15 minutes near the end of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, the last - or so they say - of this particular franchise, resonates with the awesome insanity we believed the series capable of. It's not giving much away to say there is a battle at the end of this film. After five abysmal movies, there damn well better be a good one. There is, but even that ends up gutted by the dull, lazy writing and cheap execution this series is actually known for. Afterwards, it's not the 15 minutes that resonate you remember, it's the 100 minutes it's wrapped in that annoyed so much. Read on!
Really, was there ever any doubt the last of the Twilight movies was going to be a horrendous movie? It's no big revelation that there are Twilight fans and there are the rest of us, and the former may as well have blinders on to how poorly crafted these films - and books - are. For those of us who didn't line up to buy Meyer's novels at midnight release parties, t was pretty obvious somewhere around the release of the first Twilight movie that this series would have little to offer anyone who wasn't a die-hard fan. Probably earlier. There was always this scent in the air about this franchise that, financially successful or not, it was going to deliver some truly terrible movies.
On that note, it met expectations to the very end.
Sure, after Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (the book) debuted, there was evidence to show the finale could be something quite amazing. It could pay fan service with all the wildly absurd plot turns while winning new fans over with wildly absurd plot turns. Having Jacob, the Native American werewolf played by Taylor Lautner's abs, imprint on Bella and Edward's (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) newborn baby, Renesmee, essentially claiming her as a soulmate, was a step in the right direction. Director Bill Condon and crew find a nice way here of making this even creepier by using a computerized face for the baby, an effect that is so obviously fake you wonder how difficult the real baby was.
Fake baby faces and the werewolves who love them isn't where Breaking Dawn - Part 2's list of absurdities end, either. Bella, now a vampire, must control her hunger, find a way to feed without killing humans, and basically tear ass through the forest looking for deer. Or, at the very least, tackling cougars who might hunt those same deer. Never mind that the forests of Washington state are probably littered with deer. This one was Bella's, and the cougar got in her way. At least the visual effects are so awful we know no actual cougars were harmed in the making of this film.
Kristen Stewart once again returns to the role that made her an Us Weekly favorite, sleepwalking through her education as a vampire like only K-Stew knows how. Again, it's no big revelation that the acting isn't top-notch, and Stewart, Lautner, and Pattinson make minimal effort in bringing anything with range to this table. Pattinson, playing the part of Edward the lovable, teenage vampire for one last time, seems to have finally given up. He was the one glimmer of acting hope in this franchise's principal cast, but his half-closed eyes and mumbling throughout Breaking Dawn - Part 2 may as well be a cry for help.
The rest of the cast is equally drowsy save for one. Michael Sheen once again plays Aro, the leader of the Volturi, with a childlike wonderment. The glee in his eyes - they might be CG, as well, but it's not confirmed - and Falsetto laugh he slips into at least once - it's enough - makes a believer out of you in this character's uncompromising insanity. No leap in logic has to be made to believe he is a character who will Renesmee simply because of a threat the baby could pose. The evidence against the child is shaky at best, but that doesn't stop Aro and his black-robed crew from taking to the battlefields against Bella, Edward, Jacob, and anyone else who stand in their way.
Which brings us to the film's climactic moments, the sequence in this entire franchise that found its way to the ultimate in ridiculousness, an all-out brawl that leaves countless vampires and werewolves alike dead on the field, most of them headless and burning. The velocity with which this movie dispatches of vampire heads is uncanny, particularly considering its PG-13 rating, and even Condon, still relying far too much on CG battles, gets the series' blood pumping. These 15 minutes find a charge the rest of the series was oblivious to, and then it's gone. As if it wasn't bad enough the preceding 90 minutes or however long the 5 movies combined end up being were terrible. Meyer, Condon, and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg - Yes, she wrote them all - end up pulling that rug out from under us, as well. They want to have their cake and eat it too here, and the whole thing comes off like a messy kick to the stomach.
That's what this franchise has left us. Not an epic journey of immense grandeur. Not a stirring tale of a fallen hero who sacrifices themselves for a greater good. Not a captivating story of a revolution against a powerful and nefarious organization. All of these are fitting ends to franchises, all of them used a time or two. But Twilight ends up surprising us with its finale. It's not a surprise that it's such a horrible movie. That was presupposed long ago. Breaking Dawn - Part 2, and the franchise, for that matter, ends with visions of a much bigger, a much better, climax. Then it falls back to being just another stupid Twilight movie. Nice work, guys. You almost fooled us.
Jeremy's Rating: 3 out of 10