The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, 2012.
Directed by Bill Condon.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy, Ashley Greene, Maggie Grace, Jamie Campbell Bower, Michael Sheen, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz and Dakota Fanning.
The Cullens join forces other vampire clans in order to protect Edward and Bella’s daughter Renesmee from the Volturi.
Surprised that I’m going to say this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Twi-hards are not going to like Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Mainly due to the fact that WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ENDING?! Seriously. Throughout my education, I have been told that the “he/she woke up and it was all a dream” scenario is an absolute no-go for effective and intuitive writing. Melissa Rosenberg wanted to utilise Alice’s future-seeing powers, and I’m guessing the big wig producers wanted at least one decent action scene in the whole movie, so hey, let’s completely destroy the credibility of the book and have a great big fight scene that just doesn’t exist. Okay? Okay.
I have traversed my adolescence with The Twilight Saga, from the age of thirteen when I thought it was the best thing in the world, to a slightly older age where I could appreciate its literary merit (precisely, zero). I have watched all of the films, read the books, learned all the trivia. And now I am at a point where, to be honest, I just don’t care. The cinema I watched the film in today, on opening day, was barely half full. Compare that to opening day of the last Harry Potter movie, when cinemas everywhere were packed out and fans dressed up as the favourite characters (I’m not ashamed to say I was among them). I think that people have had their fill of Bella and Edward, and now it’s at the point where it’s getting slightly repetitive and tedious.
The people behind the Twilight Saga have obviously realised this, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was evidence as to how incredibly hard they have tried to keep Twilight relevant. Unfortunately what started out as a low budget indie film with unknown actors has in a way been the cause of its own destruction. Literary merit aside, Twilight is actually quite a sweet love story. It’s supposed to be low-budget and under-acted. It’s supposed to be subtle. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was not.
There were some redeeming qualities to the film. Kristen Stewart has improved. Dramatically. And this is coming from me, someone who everyone who reads and writes for Flickering Myth will know holds a (perhaps unwarranted) grudge against Stewart and her acting capabilities. Obviously in the real world what Bella Swan goes through is enough to make any girl question her life choices. The implicit pain and emotion that we saw something of in part one, is demonstrated to an even better proportion in part two. Kudos to Stewart for learning how to act. Whoever said sleeping with the director was a bad career move?
Elsewhere, visual effects picked up as the budgets invested into these movies have been ever increasing. The northeast of the US was always going to be a breathtaking location to film a movie and the snowy forest backdrops that permeate the film are as ever incredible. CG was lapse elsewhere with the digital Renesmee, the latest addition to the Cullen brood. Technology is not ready to create realistic babies, and even in pre-production the makers acknowledged that this was going to be a problem. Photographically, the mood and atmosphere set by the vast overhead landscape shots and brooding forestscapes were spot on.
I think the main thing that let Breaking Dawn – Part 2 fall short of the epic and celebrated finale to this much-loved franchise was, unfortunately, the writing. Whilst attempting to stay true to the original story and with exec producer Stephenie Meyer breathing down her neck, Melissa Rosenberg crammed too much in, but also somehow managed to make the plot drag. And drag and drag. The main thing about the second half of the novel is that, honestly, nothing really happens. All the good bits are in the first half of the book when Bella loses her virginity, gives birth, becomes a vampire etc. etc. And all those bases were covered in part one.
So what’s left? Not much. Even the epic fight scene turns into the cold war. To be honest, Breaking Dawn didn’t really need to be a two-parter. Everything could have easily fitted into one movie. Unfortunately, Part 1 was the high point, and Part 2 seems to be an epilogue. Even though the writing fell horrendously short, one has to acknowledge that this franchise does hold an extremely important place in contemporary popular culture, and despite its shortfalls the conclusion makes me feel as though the actors, the readers and the watchers have all come of age. It’s time to leave Twilight behind, and move on to bigger and better things.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★