Twilight movie review: From dusk 'til drawn-out

On November 18, 2012


Film: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Release Date: Nov. 16

Studio: Lionsgate

Grade: C


After years of tormenting headaches, boyfriends everywhere will discover the brightest silver lining in five years: the Twilight saga has taken its last bite at their wallets, and their dates can soon stop eye-fondling Taylor Lautner's shiny pectorals.

The Twilight films thus far have satisfied their narrow target audience - pre-teen girls along with their moms and grandmothers; save for New Moon, which gave its viewers despair when watching it.

But for Breaking Dawn: Part 2, the final episode in the saga, it is unclear whether fans will be fully satisfied. The first two acts of BDP2 are compelling enough to keep the audience involved, even for those unfamiliar with the series. All of the suspense leads to a well-choreographed climactic battle between good and evil and it seems like little can go wrong for the picture.

But all is eventually lost. There is one particular scene that keeps the wheels from spinning - one desperate, resentful scene that's condescending to the viewers and their intelligence. Because of this, the reason for this film's existence remains in question. This review cannot reveal the scene, but it's impossible to miss.

BDP2 holds its own for most of its runtime, though. There is a surplus of characters, almost to a fault, but somehow the film buckles down and paces slickly enough to establish everybody. The audience knows who all of the players are and what they desire, a factor overlooked by most moviegoers.

Most of the ensemble from the previous films are back, including the main trio: Bella Cullen (Kristen Stewart, Snow White and the Huntsman), who had finally entered vampirehood in BDP1, her century-old vampire husband Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, Cosmopolis) and the Herculean wolf-teen Jacob Black (Lautner, Abduction), who has finally moved on from seducing Bella and rants about someone else for a change.

As mentioned earlier, the synopsis setup is done well: Bella's newborn daughter Renesmee Cullen (Mackenzie Foy, BDP1) is discovered to be a fusion of vampire and mortal, something never known to exist before. But the Volturi - a clan of vampire government officials layered in ominous black cloaks - have reasons to believe that Renesmee is full-vampire, which is against regulation apparently. One would think that vampire infants would be the least threatening creature to the Volturi, but the show must go on.

The Cullen family's leader, Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli, Nurse Jackie), summons close relatives and friends to testify Renesmee's mortality, and up until the climax, the film is minimally engaging. The audience can care for these characters, especially Renesmee, whose innocence is rather touching. Foy is a mesmerizing child actress who has a potentially bright future outside of the franchise.

Stewart is often underrated in her Bella role; most moviegoers substitute her notorious emotionless gaze for her acting ability. But watch her eyes, which protectively oversee Renesmee with desperation. Despite her young age, Stewart plays a convincing parent shielding her offspring. Stewart was even better as the title heroine in last summer's Snow White and the Huntsman, so she shouldn't have difficulty finding good roles in the future.

Both Breaking Dawns were helmed by Bill Condon, who established himself as a great director with films like the sexual biopic Kinsey and the dramatized musical Dreamgirls. He was likely the best recruit for the job based on his fieldwork experience in filming about passionate love. And he almost made it work, except for the final rabbit that he pulled out of his hat which rendered the entire film meaningless.

It seems extreme to blame a film's failure on a single scene, especially if the rest of it worked. But because of the ending, BDP2 deteriorates into nothing that bloodthirsty Twilight buffs can sink their teeth into. This film will be adored and desired by its fans, but whether it's the film they deserve remains in question.



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