Boyfriends, climb out of your coffins, you’re nearly there as Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight series reaches it’s final conclusion on the big screen, with Breaking Dawn Part 2. The film has got an added amount of hype after main stars Stewart and Pattinson’s break-up and reunion has created interest, but does that distract from the big blowoff to the sparkly vampires? No, since this movie has it’s own problems to worry about!
In the finale for the whole Twilight series, the second part of Breaking Dawn sees Bella Cullen (Kristen Stewart) recovering after the birth of her and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) baby and dealing with her new vampirism, while third-wheel/wolfman Jacob (Taylor Lautner) imprints himself on the baby Renesemee to still be involved with the couple and protect her. Accused of breaking laws set by the ancient vampire watch society the Volutri, the Cullens call on their extended family to defend them before it all comes to ahead on a snowfield in Washington state…
At least with this being the last one, and her near blacklist from some studios in Hollywood for her affair, it’ll be the last we see of Stewart’s fantastically awful acting; for someone who’s had a lot of flak for being one dimensional, I managed to ignore all that and sit down with an open mind to see what the leading lady would be like… only to find she’s exactly what she appears to be – one note, and a boring actress to watch. For the money she’s reported to have earned from the franchise, you expect an evolution in her acting, an improvement at least. But now, she’s still a skinny teenager with one note expressions and facial tones. There is nothing between her rampaging across the battlefield or meeting someone in private.
When you consider there’s better, young acting talent out there trying to make a name for themselves, Stewart must praise the gods every night for how she lucked into this role. There’s one scene at the start where she’s arguing with Jacob and her delivery of the line when he admits he makes the baby pretty much his arranged bride left me stunned. It’s meant to be serious but there were people in the audience literally laughing at it.
The rest of the cast isn’t quite as bland, but there’s so many nothing characters, it’s hard to find anyone salvageable; Pattinson and Lautner bring the good looks for female fan service with small moments of charm between them in semi-background roles, and the only other real names with value are Maggie Grace (Taken 2) and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) as part of the Volturi. Whilst Grace gets 4 lines tops, Sheen knows the level of film he’s in and camps it up slightly in his role as the head evil vampire Aro, and Ashley Greene (the upcoming LOL) is the only other recognisable female character, since everyone mentions her name every 5 minutes after she goes missing in some horrible foreshadowing.
For such a decently budgeted film, Breaking Dawn Part 2 does not look like it cost more than $100 million to make; considering the price tag of $120 million, obvious green screen, poor CGI effects, and bland costumes and setwork doesn’t make Breaking Dawn Part 2 a visually pleasing experience; there were naff moments where the baby’s face would be the main point for the camera for three seconds and it would be completely frozen. Also, there was no natural movement when the baby put it’s hand on Bella’s face, and the effects were simply like dragging and dropping a picture in Photoshop. You would have thought they would have at least rewarded the so-called Twi-hards with a pure tour de force of great looking effects and imagery for the blow-off to the whole series, but they’ve clearly taken the cheap option, all in the name of profit.
The plot isn’t blowaway either, but it is competent. There was an air of finality and ‘the end’ as most of the film is a gathering of the forces to talk, not fight, the Voltori. Whilst any media of this kind of story is a bit labourious, it works quite well for Breaking Dawn; you really get the impression of how high the stakes are (calling in favours from vamps from other countries and the like), with this child being so important; it adds the required level of build on a decent curve and raises expectations to the big payoff fight accordingly, even if there’s a needless amount of fluff along the way.
At the end of the day, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is for those who have followed the journey of the characters from the start, there’s no expectation for the second film of the fourth book from a young adults series to be a beginner’s guide, and so you can’t really knock it for being impenetrable; newcomers are welcome, but they better have read up on their history first.
Most of the characters are simply useless, and apart from about four or five minor vampires, you won’t recall any of the others’ names. They’re only identifying qualities are if they do anything like superpowers, if they speak, or their nationalities, and boy are there some fantastically awful accents in this; there are a traditional Eastern Europe/Transylvanian duo and their voices are throwbacks to “I Vant To Suck Vour Blood!” which will crack anyone up. Throw in a shocking irish turn from the otherwise silent Emerald isle trio and it’s more laughable than anything else.
Still for all intents and purposes, as a neutral I would say I did find the conclusions to Twilight acceptable and watchable; it’s not close to good territory, but I wasn’t hating myself for viewing it at all either; there’s enough charisma to make it like an X-Men film for girls, with added vampires. Like any decent vampire film, there is an alluring quality which does keep you fairly interested with the nonsense unfolding.
Then the supposedly great “twist” ending happens ten minutes before the end… and, just like Dallas, renders much of what you’ve just seen entirely moot; admittedly the action in the final fight sequence is kinda cool (there’s nothing wrong with numerous vampire beheadings and throwing wolves into lava pits – even if it’s done in a watered down, bloodless, 12A certificate way), but this bait and switch tactic makes the previous ten minutes fucking pointless, and isn’t even a twist since the same ending as the books happens afterwards and everyone goes home happily ever after.
As this massive turn isn’t even from the source material and was simply added for ‘entertainment’ purposes, it’s a massive slap to the face of everyone involved; it’s a complete non-twist that should leave every fan insulted by what happens; but still, who cares? What did you expect? Shakespeare?
It’s safe to say that the diehard Twilight fanbase need not fear my moan at an abortion of a final act but everyone else should take heed. Done purely for meaningless entertaining purposes, it could have finished off a series which lacked any real credibility. The second part of Breaking Dawn is as a female power story as ever without anymore to it than the asinine, tact on features. Is there any reason why the good vampires have superpowers as well, for example? If you can get through the pandering about up until the totally sweet final battle and then walk out of the cinema straight after the final beheading, it’s worthwhile and a 6/10. The rest will have you praying for a whole clove of garlic to be shoved in your mouth before you’re kicked into the sunlight as you explode. Avoid.