Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

This is it.  Whether you hated the mere mention of anything Twilight or were a proud Twihard, this is the end.  Rejoice or wonder what the heck are you going to be looking forward to anymore.  The Twilight phenomenon started in 2008.  Five years later, the fandom has reached epic proportions and they are all screaming for the perfect ending to what consumed a lot of their time and thoughts.  This culmination is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

For those not familiar with what happens in the second part of this story, the plot of the story is pretty simple.  Bella (Kristen Stewart) is now a vampire.  The problem at hand is Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella’s child, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy).  The governing rulers of the vampire world, the Volturi, find out about her existence, thinking she is a vampire child.  This is a big no-no in their world.  The Volturi set out to destroy Renesmee.  The Cullen family/coven  reach far and wide to other covens and roaming vampires to ask them to come and attest that Renesmee is not an immortal child.  It all culminates in a standoff.

Right from the start of the film, it is different than all the other films before it.  There are opening credits.  Normal for every other film, but all the other Twilight films start with just the title and the film begins.  Images pass across the screen of nature and blood pumping in veins, a new life starting.  A track from the original Twilight plays in the background.  The film immediately moves to where the first part left off, Bella’s awakening as a newborn vampire.  Getting used to her power, her thirst, and her senses take center stage for a good portion of the beginning of the film.

The rest of the film focuses mainly on Renesmee and the other vampires that come into Forks to help the Cullens.  There is a huge influx of actors into this film to portray all of these new vampires.  Some of these actors are more well-known (Lee Pace, Rami Malek), but there are many new faces.  With this addition of this many new characters, others from the previous films disappeared.  It did not hit me until the end credits rolled how many are missing.  There are no side stories or cutaways to see what other characters are doing.  Maybe it is good that people won’t realize this until the end.  Director Bill Condon keeps the focus on the central problem at hand, and he does not waver from it.

The majority of the film felt slow and dragged a bit (I think I just lost all the Twihards).  It does not take any chances.  I dare say that I was worried that it would just turn out to be an okay film, nothing special.  Thank goodness for the climax; the standoff or meeting of two groups with completely different opinions.  It is the best part.  I saw those boys at the screening taking great pleasure in what was going on in these scenes, enjoying themselves at a Twilight movie.  Gasp!  The climax and the ending make the film.  Without them, it would have bordered on a letdown, and that would not have rolled with the Twihards.

There is that surprise ending that author/producer Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg thought up.  Do yourself a favor, and do not read any spoilers about it.  It will ruin the experience for you.

The main issues with Breaking Dawn – Part 2 involve acting and CGI.  As with every film in this series, acting seems to be a major issue.  This film is subject to the same bad acting.  It is mostly on the behalf of Kristen Stewart this time around.  She has a grimace on her face and her eyes are in steely stare the majority of the film, and I do not know if it is meant to be a determined look and is not coming across that way.  When you become a vampire, your awkwardness should disappear, but this does not happen.  I root for Kristen Stewart, but it is hard to with performances like this.  Other than Kristen Stewart, there are moments where other actors become laughable.  Even the veteran actors cannot escape it.  It is like a Twilight curse.  I do not know what goes through the minds of producers and directors when people laugh at parts of your film when they are obviously not supposed to be funny.  Is there any move to correct that?  Do they not care?  On the bright side, Billy Burke as Charlie Swan again is one of the highlights of the film.

The CGI needed work.  Instead of just using different actors for the younger versions of Renesmee, the film uses CGI to put Mackenzie Foy’s face onto the stand-ins for her different ages.  It is distracting and cartoon like.  When Renesmee finally reaches Mackenzie’s age, it is a relief to see her real face instead of some morphed version of it.  There is also a questionable cougar and a running scene in the bad CGI and effects mix.

The ending is for the fans.  It comes straight from the book, and while it is not quite as powerful as I imagined it could be, it still had me shedding a few tears.  It is the culmination of the whole ride that this Twilight experience has been for me and every other fan.

I did not come out of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 as excited or pleased as I was with Part 1.  As much as I am fan of the books and the films, it did not hit that high mark for me this time around, which is kind of sad and disappointing.  There are some great moments and the “surprise” is definitely that.  Could this be a film that we fans have built up in our minds as what should be the best of the all?  All I know is that I will gladly see it a few more times.  Maybe I will like it more.

When looking at what this whole experience has been like for a fan, it is astounding.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would be this wrapped up in a young adult series and their resulting films.  I have seen these films with some of my best friends.  I will always remember the giddiness of anything new coming out about these films.  This is what Twilight brought out in me.  I am thankful for everything these films have given me.

I give The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 3.5 “Charlie Staches”out of 5.

by Sarah Ksiazek

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