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Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

November 16, 2012
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I’m not even going to pretend that this is a review for anyone other than true fans of all the Twilight books and all the Twilight films.  There won’t be a bunch of plot exposition or the like, so if you’re looking for that kind of review, these are not the droids you are looking for.

My two biggest questions going into this last installment were:  1)  how are the filmmakers going to pull off the whole Renesmee problem? and 2)  how are they going to make the “epic” battle from the book even remotely interesting to the movie-going public? Well they tried real hard with mixed results.

Let’s talk Renesmee first.  In the books, besides having the most juvenile and preposterous name of all time, this half human-half vampire child comes out of the womb very emotionally advanced and ages rapidly.  I wondered how much creepy, Ally McBeal-esque CGI baby we were going to have to endure.  Turns out, a LOT.  When Bella (Kristen Stewart) first meets her spawn, Renesmee is still an infant.  An infant with the creepiest face and misshapen head that had I been at home I would have blurted out the first thing that popped into my mind:  “That baby looks like Sloth from the damn Goonies!”  Then as she ages, they keep plopping that same icky CGI face onto children in varying stages of development.  It isn’t until half way through the movie that the gorgeous Mackenzie Foy steps into her rightful place as Renesmee.  She is given but a few lines of dialogue, but she emotes serviceably enough through the rest of her scenes.

Now let’s talk about what in the book I call the “battle” and in the movie I call The Battle.  The second half of the book is beyond boring.  They just stand around in a clearing and talk to each other all day.  Nothing happens.  Luckily after all this time, Miss Control Freak Stephenie Meyer has enough trust in screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg that she lets her deviate from the written word.  In the movie we definitely see a Battle and shit gets real.  Suffice it to say I was blown away by the “breathtaking twist ending” they are now heavily promoting in the TV spots.  The filmmakers took a whole section that was literary Ambien and turned it into a pulse-pounding, relentless gasp-fest.  It was cool.  And a little bit bad ass.  And surprisingly violent for how candy-assed this series has typically been.

Other things I loved:  the opening title sequence was visually stunning with little hints of eerie menace, reminiscent of Dexter or True Blood.  There are moments of genuine humor – nothing forced or corny.  The scenes between Bella and Charlie (Billy Burke, now seen on NBC’s inexplicable hit Revolution) are truly touching.  The one sex scene between the very married vampires is a little bit hot in a “the Mormon author/producer won’t let us take this any further” kind of way.  The numerous vampire covens from around the world are interesting-ish.  The movie is exactly the right length at 115 minutes.

Things I did NOT love:  Bella trying to be a blood-thirsty newborn vampire is unintentionally funny because of how much Kristen Stewart can’t act.  The wolves still look very fake and CGI-ed.  The lighting of the soundstage on which the epic Battle was shot made all the vampires’ makeup look terrible.  Not to mention it made the close-ups look obviously green-screen.  Couldn’t they have found some snowy, open field and location shoot the Battle?  Tell those pampered actors to cowboy up for a day and sacrifice themselves for their craft!

Bottom line, this is an extremely satisfying ending to this series that has had many around the world wrapped around its fangs sparkly fingers.  The final scene even made this weird, watery substance come out of my eyes.  If you are a fan, make an effort to see this movie ASAP before some asshat reveals the twist and ruins it for you.  If you are not a fan, don’t bother.  You won’t get it anyway.

Rating:  5/5

The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is rated PG-13.  Directed by Bill Condon.  Written by Melissa Rosenberg.  Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

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