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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

The final chapter of the Twilight saga finally arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.

Twilight

With Bella (Kristen Stewart – Adventureland) now a vampire, she is adjusting to her new life as a wife to Edward (Robert Pattinson – Remember Me) and a mother to Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). Having imprinted onto her, Jacob (Taylor Lautner – Abduction) is now Renesmee’s protector and is always close to hand. With the child growing up quickly and no one knowing what will happen next, Irina (Maggie Grace – Taken) believes she could eventually challenge the very existence of the Volturi. So she tells Aro (Michael Sheen – Frost/Nixon) who assembles the Volturi in an assault against the Cullens. With time running out, Bella and Edward enlist the help of allies across the world as they prepare for a final battle to protect their family.

The final chapter of The Twilight Saga has been a long time coming so Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is a bitter-sweet affair for many reasons. The end of an established franchise is always hard to accept given the quality of the previous movies and the fact that this series has become so engrained into pop culture. But putting that sentimentality aside, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is a perfectly watchable movie – it just suffers from a few avoidable errors of judgement that prevents this franchise from signing off on a true high (like both Harry Potter and Batman did).

Twilight

Widely regarded as the weakest of Stephenie Meyer’s books, splitting Breaking Dawn into two movies seemed to be an ambitious ask. Breaking Dawn Part 1 proved the critics wrong with a carefully constructed tale of love and loss that impressed throughout. Breaking Dawn Part 2 has some positives but these are weighed down by questionable choices in style and tone.

There are a few thematic changes from the book and this gives Breaking Dawn Part 2 a more impactive finale, something that was clearly needed if was to work in cinemas. But with every ingredient readily available, the makers of Breaking Dawn Part 2 still managed to half bake the finale.

The special effects are the films biggest letdown with needless zooms and fast cuts that distract from the action rather than enhancing the viewer’s enjoyment. What was once an absorbing experience is now relegated to an MTV video of scenes that never fully utilise the situation at hand. Director Bill Condon feels like he has been curtailed by a budget slashed – the previous movies have all had better effects and that’s a shame given the gravitas of this final chapter.

Twilight

The final fight is good but it suffers from chasing a 12 rating. This would have been a superb finale had the filmmakers been brave enough to drop a little blood – not an unreasonable request given that we are dealing with Vampires and Werewolves. Whilst this franchise has rightly never been about blood and guts, the severity of this final battle surely warrants some bloodshed, especially when both sides endure big fatalities.

The single biggest mistake Breaking Dawn Part 2 makes is with Renesmee. For reasons that defy logic, they have decided to animate her face for key scenes that serve no real purpose other than make the film look like a computer game. It’s bad CGI too, far too cartoony and needlessly placed which only serves to distract from the story. There are scenes when her face is animated when Renesmee is just sitting in a car or playing the piano. It’s completely pointless and a major let-down for Twilight fans.

As a big fan of the Twilight saga, I was disappointed by these silly decisions, not just for the reasons listed but because it doesn’t give the film the send-off it deserves. Glossing over Carlisle and Emmett’s back-stories was a disappointing move and making Bella a vampire was always going to divide audiences given that Twilight’s main draw was the love between a human and a vampire. But that is a question perhaps best levelled at the book rather than the film.

That said there are still positives to be found. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are still engaging as the loved-up Edward and Bella. Taylor Lautner steals his scenes as Jacob and is the one character you most empathise with once the dust settles. It’s a shame Breaking Dawn Part 2 doesn’t use him or the Wolf pack enough.

Twilight

Then there are some amazing supporting turns including Pushing Daisies star Lee Pace who is brilliant as Garrett. Michael Sheen chews up his scenes as Aro (including one hilarious moment just before the end battle when he laughs maniacally) and the ever-reliable Dakota Fanning who still oozes icy-dread as Jane.

The final fight does have some awesome set-pieces, particularly when it comes to the individual battles. There are plenty of jaw-dropping moments; especially when key figures die and the Volturi descend upon the Cullens and their allies. There are also some nice exchanges between Edward and Jacob and when Bella is learning to use her new powers.

The Twilight Saga has been a wonderful series that has kept audiences enthralled for the past 4 years. With franchises like Harry Potter drawing to a close, the end of Twilight marks a sad time for cinema goers. It remains to be seen what will take up the mantle but for now, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 marks the end of a great series. Even though this finale doesn’t quite live up to the hype, it’s still an enjoyable ride to take.

 

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