Review: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2'
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Friday, November 16, 2012
11/16/12 at 4:05 AM
Related stories: Sheen expects screaming theaters.
‘Twilight’ finale takes author by surprise.
A great battle sequence and a great twist are not enough to make "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" a great movie - but they are good enough to make up for its shortcoming and end this series with some bite.
Yes, a great battle sequence. This series about pretty-boy vampires and young dudes who take their shirts off and turn into wolves - and Bella Swan's angst-filled teen love for both - matures in its finale and delivers some dynamic action.
And yes, a great twist. For anyone who sees this series as the height of predictability - and for those who sank their teeth into Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" novels - there are a host of surprises that you will not see coming.
If you didn't see "Breaking Dawn - Part 1," just know that this movie was not made for you. I'm not sure who would be coming into this series at this point unaware of the plot points, but for those who do, prepare to be baffled for the first 20 minutes of the film.
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2" starts out awkward on several counts as it picks up from the moment that "Part 1" concludes.
That was a moment of incredibly high drama - no less than our heroine dying, while delivering her child by her vampire husband Edward, and then Bella being revived as a neck-biter herself - only to see her awaken at the start of "Part 2" in a weird "Honey, I'm home" kind of commercial moment.
It's almost like they should kiss and share some Taster's Choice coffee.
Of course, Bella is home with searing red eyes and a thirst for the kill (watching her take down a mountain lion and maul it to death is both thrilling and disgusting, which seems perfect).
The teen angst part of our program is done; this is Bella as fierce mama-bear protector of her daughter from the world.
To that end, leading lady Kristen Stewart looks bloody fabulous; not only does her Bella now have warm, vibrant blood flowing through her body keeping her eternally young (she's considered a "newborn"), but she permanently abandons her slouchy teen attire for duds that we could see her wearing on the red carpet.
This is Stewart's movie, more than anyone, while Robert Pattinson as Edward is greatly minimized as to his participation. He's playing the same character, while Bella and Jacob have undergone serious changes.
Initially Bella's maternal protectiveness must alert her animal instincts against Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the wolf-boy so long infatuated with Bella but now having "imprinted," or sworn his love to a mate for life - tiny little Renesmee, the new baby.
That sounds odd, but this is a child growing at an alarming rate and destined to mature to an adult within a couple of years. What's more peculiar is the baby used in the film - if it's a baby at all.
Renesmee as an infant looks to be a computer-generated creation with eye features and other noticeable facial effects that seem to be changing while you hold her. It's as if the filmmakers wanted to say, "See how fast she's growing; don't condemn Jake for loving a baby!"
The Cullen family's conflict comes in the arrival of the Volturi (the vampire legislators, making sure vampires' existence remains a secret to the world). They believe Renesmee to be an "immortal child" - an uncontrollable vampire created from a child - that would be a threat to bloodsuckers everywhere and must be eliminated.
And there are bloodsuckers across the globe. The Cullens plead for help against the Volturi by calling on Amazonian vampires, European vampires, redneck vampires and more to help make their case - or to help them fight the Volturi, if needed.
The introduction of a couple dozen new vampires consumes too much of the first half of the film, taking us out of the protagonists' story for what devolves into a show-and-tell session for the vampires. It's a little corny.
This vampire can command weather elements, this one can surge electricity through your body ... It's like a first-day-of-school scene in an "X-Men" film or at Harry Potter's Hogwarts, but lasting far too long. Someone was a little too fascinated with the bigger budget for special effects.
But director Bill Condon, returning from "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" (the best film in the series, in my opinion), and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg redeem themselves with a final, violent showdown with the Volturi that is gripping both in its intensity, and in the way that the vamps rip one another's heads off.
Guys who think this series was soft from the beginning can expect a hefty dose of action to accompany a film with more humor than the first four installments combined.
And then there's that twist, as beautifully executed a surprise as I've seen in a film this year. It was a shocker for the "Twihard" fans in the audience with me, as reactions ranged from gasps to nervous laughter to applause to a girl behind me saying "What? What? What?"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" opens with a whimper, but it goes out with a bang.
‘THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2’
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor
Lautner, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen
Theaters: AMC Southroads 20, Cinemark
Tulsa, Cinemark Broken Arrow, Starworld
20, RiverWalk, Owasso, Eton Square, Sand
Springs, Moviestar Cinema, Admiral Twin
Running time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (sequences of violence including
disturbing images, some sensuality and
Quality: (on a scale of zero to four stars)
Original Print Headline: Last bite
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" is Kristen Stewart's movie, more than anyone, while Robert Pattinson (left) as Edward is greatly minimized as to his participation. Summit Entertainment/Courtesy
Jacob (Taylor Lautner, left) imprints on Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), the daughter of Bella and Edward, in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2." Summit Entertainment/Courtesy