The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Review

The world-wide phenomenon starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner comes to a climatic end in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.  Is this a film only fans of the series will love or, will it convert the non-Twihards to joining Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Story

Two days have passed since the birth of Bella and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee. Bella awakes to a new world with her newly gained acute vampire senses. The first thing she must do is train to not crave human blood so Edward takes her on her first hunt. After her first woodland animal kill, Bella returns to the Cullen household to see her daughter for the first time, but to Jacob’s disapproval. Since he imprinted on her (an unconditional soulmate bond for life), he still is not convinced that Bella can control herself. Arguments and tension increases between Jacob and Bella, but Edward promises he won’t let Bella harm their daughter.

Months pass and Renesmee is growing at an accelerated pace. In just a little time she already has the size and mentality of a seven year old. While playing in the snow with her mom and Jacob, Renesmee is seen using her “gifts” by a fellow vampire from the nearby Denali Clan who mistakes her as an “immortal child.” It is a major crime because children that are turned into vampires never age and are unable to have their cravings controlled.  So Irina informs the Volturi so they can destroy the Cullens’ abomination. The head of the Cullen clan, Carlisle, decides to introduce Renesmee to fellow friendly vampire clans so they may become witness that she is was actually born and not turned. The ultimate goal is to face the Volturi and their army to defend Edward and Bella’s child. Will Edward, Bella, and Jacob be able to fend off the vampire threat with the help of their friends or will the Volturi wipe them and anyone else that gets in their way out of existence?

Breaking Dawn part 2 final battle
Jacob, Bella, Renesemee and Edward prepare for battle

Overview

Before I even go forward with my review, I have to admit to not reading the novels and hating all the previous movies in the Twilight Saga. I felt that poor acting, dialog, sub par computer FX, Kristen Stewart’s facial expressions, sparkling vampires and high school drama made them boring and uninspired films. I still feel that the films would have been better off as a television series on MTV sandwiched between the reruns of The Real World All-Star Challenge and The Jersey Shore. I could never understand why my wife loved the novels. We would literary get into screaming matches because I would constantly bash on the atrocities of the previous films. It would be the same levels of anger if she told me that The Empire Strikes Back was the worst Star Wars film ever made. As a father of three daughters, I also thought the films acted as horrible role models to young women with their messages of high school relationships and using a fake suicide to get a man to love you. Do you really want young impressionable girls to learn that if you want a guy to love you so much you should jump off a cliff? That’s as bad as women faking a pregnancy to keep a guy who is no good for them anyway, but they are blind by puppy love.

With that being said, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was… pretty bad ass. Let me stand corrected, not the whole movie, but rather the last 30 minutes. It still did contain awkward onscreen moments between characters where even the die hard fans would weirdly laugh. The computer effects were still cringe worthy to watch, especially Edward and Bella running though the woods and the creepy baby that passed as Renesmee as an infant. Chucky from Child’s Play was more realistic looking. But yes, I cannot believe I am admitting to liking a Twilight movie. I didn’t leave the theater questioning if I suddenly grew female genitalia.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 starring Kristen Stewart
Proof that Kristen Stewart has more than one facial expression.

So what made Part 2 so much better? First off, since Bella is now graduated from High School all that drama is eliminated. Because Renesmee is born and Bella has finally been turned, you don’t have to hear Kristen Stewart constantly beg and whine to Edward about not being a vampire. Stewart’s portrayal is stronger and more confident as she learns how to control her powers of strength and shielding.  And finally, because Bella and Edward are married, it basically eliminated the whole love triangle with Jacob.  He is  now preoccupied with looking after Renesmee’s safety since he imprinted on her.

Breaking Dawn – Part 2 threw out all the past garbage that everyone hated. Instead it concentrated on one thing: finally giving the rabid Twihards (die hard Twilight fans) the ultimate climatic ending they were denied in the Stephanie Meyer novel, which received generally negative reviews from major publications. It seemed like the filmmakers really listened to complaints and modified the formula. The Volturi play a pivotal role in the movie’s plot. Now while they dress like Elton John if he was a funeral director, they are pretty wicked in their powers. One can emit a mist from his hands that disables a person’s senses and basically leaves them in a paralyzed state. The film also explains the back story of why the Volturi must eliminate Renesmee. I always found the Volturi the most interesting in the Twilight mythology as the overseers of vampire law, so to see them with more screen time was refreshing. Plus with the introduction of new clans, you get to see more stylized versions of vampires with super hero powers and genuine personality.

Twilight Breaking Dawn part 2 Volturi battle
The Volturi have come to town to destroy the Cullens

The huge selling point of the movie is the “surprise ending” that is plastered all over commercials and advertisements. I will not spoil anything for those who read the books, but if you watched the trailer or TV clips, you know that the movie showcases a huge battle. A battle so huge and graphic, that the film skates a fine line into possibly being an R rating. How it maintains the PG-13 rating is the absence of blood so as to not gross out the tweens in the audience. An episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead is more brutally graphic. With that in mind, the film still shows decapitations and dismemberments with a flourish instead of the camera panning away like the deaths in the Hunger Games. It’s this battle that fans will absolutely go insane over because it will be nothing at all what they expected. The people in my audience, were glued to the screen and reacting the same way Luke did when he found out Vader was his father or when Ben died. For the non-fans, this is what we were finally waiting for: a vampire movie that, pardon the pun, didn’t suck. The vampires from the other clans used some amazing powers of electricity and element bending. Yes I said that correctly, element bending. One of the middle eastern vampires has the ability to control water, create dust tornadoes and shoot fire from his hands. I thought I was watching an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. And before I forget, Jacob and his wolf pack really get to be ravenous. There’s no simple crunching when they dispose of a vampire, they chomp down and rip the blood suckers heads clean off and spit them out to attack another. The battle was  well choreographed, the effects were spectacular and it truly is the ending that EVERYONE wanted, including me.

For the Twilight fans out there, you don’t need me to tell you to see the movie, you are going to anyway. But I promise you this, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will be your absolute favorite of the entire franchise. You’ll scream in disbelief, cry because of the roller coaster of emotions and jump out of your seats from how the film strays away from the books. I know this will happen because I witnessed it with my own eyes.

Once again I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I recommend seeing Breaking Dawn- part 2, especially to the guys who hated the other movies and are going to be dragged by their wives or girlfriends to see it. I promise, that the movie won’t convert you to Team Edward or Team Jacob, but it wont be as bad as you may expect. You can always get your man card back by watching Blade, 30 Days of Night, From Dusk Til Dawn or The Lost Boys. At least those vampires don’t sparkle.

Editor’s Note: According to an article on MTV.com, stay until the very end of the credits for a special bonus scene.

In Theaters: November 16th, 2012 (special 10 pm screenings on November 15th)
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity)
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Mackenzie Foy, Julia Jones, BooBoo Stewart, Lee Pace, Christian Camargo, Mia Maestro, Casey LaBow, Maggie Grace, MyAnna Buring, Joe Anderson, Omar Metwally, Rami Malek, Guri Weinberg, Noel Fisher, Chaske Spencer, Jamie Campbell Bower, Christopher Heyerdahl
Genre: Romance, Drama, Adaptation, Sequel, Thriller
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Official Site: http://www.breakingdawn-themovie.com/