[Review] – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

26 Nov

Title: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Year: 2012
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy, Ashley Greene, Maggie Grace, Michael Sheen, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Jamie Campbell Bower, Dakota Fanning, Billy Burke, Lee Pace, Joe Anderson
MPAA Rating: PG-13, sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Runtime: 115 min
IMDb Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Metacritic: 52

My relationship with the Twilight franchise is a love-hate one. I read all the books when they came out and thought they ranged from mediocre to decent, and I’ve seen all of the movies so far and thought they’ve been okay. It’s just that even though the movies are fine and I love Kristen Stewart, they’re movies that pretty much no one outside the core audience of the books will really enjoy all that much. That’s what made the Harry Potter films so amazing, that you didn’t have to be that invested in the books to love them. Here, if you love the books then you’ll go gaga for the films, but if you haven’t read the books or if you have but merely thought they were okay then chances are you’ll just think they’re utterly forgettable.

The one thing that I liked about the films is that I thought they were going upwards on a curve. I thought the second one was a tad better than the first one, and I thought the third one was decidedly better than the second one. That trend stopped on the one from last year though, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which I thought was a step down from the third one and I ended up giving a B- to.

So here we are with the final installment of a franchise that, taking a page out of the Harry Potter playbook, decided to split its final novel into two separate films. A franchise that, when it’s all said and done, will have raked in over $3 billion at the worldwide box office. How did it fare? Well, I actually think this one battles the third installment for the title of the best Twilight film. The problem being not only that having that honor means absolutely nothing since they’ve all been merely fine, but that it still means that you’ll only really enjoy this if you’ve liked the past movies or books.

Now, that assessment, that I think this may be the best one yet, theoretically should mean that I’ll stamp this one with at least B, since that’s the grade I gave to the one I had liked best before this one. Well, yes, theoretically ti does, but I won’t, I’ll give this one a lower grade. And here’s why: even though quality-wise this is the best one yet and I think closes the franchise as best as it could have possibly have been done, I couldn’t help but feel upon thinking about this one that this franchise was just one that overstayed its welcome.

I mean that especially regarding the two final installments, directed back-to-back by Bill Condon. You don’t have to explain to me why they split the last book in two. Harry Potter was tremendously successful in doing so (and The Hunger Games will try and do so in the future) and it meant doubling down on box office receipts which is never a bad thing especially when you have movies like these which will have hardcore fans flocking to theaters no matter what. The financial side is obvious, but while the final Harry Potter book actually warranted the two movies because of the material, you could easily argue that the stuff of the final two Twilight films could’ve fit into one that was just some 20 minutes longer than this one.

Much like the last two Harry Potter movies, the one that came before it was a bit slower and this one turns around a huge epic battle (unlike the Harry Potter movies, however, the results of this battle are far less consequential and considerably more idiotic). Bella is now both a mother and a vampire, which not only means that she’s now a much more interesting character but also that we get the mandatory sequence of Edward and company sort of teaching her vampire tricks like hunting and pretending to be human.

The thing is that the Volturi believe that Renesmee, the daughter of Edward and Bella, is an immortal child and feel threatened by her, which prompts them to go to Forks to destroy her. Obviously the Cullen’s won’t have any of that, not only because she’s the daughter of Edward but because she’s not actually an immortal child, and so they enlist friends of their own to join them in an eventual fight.

While the first four Twilight movies were more about the love triangle and were pretty much static as far as action went (also, as far as any real acting went). This one, with Bella being a vampire and a big fight being the centerpiece of it, obviously feels different. Like I said, it’s executed well, I thought the fight was staged superbly by Mr. Condon and his crew but then there was that final coda. One that not only nullified (literally) the whole fight, but one that went ahead and literally showed you the final word of the book (“forever”) in the screen. Like I said, hardcore fans of this, and you twihards know who you are, will obviously love that touch, but most people will find it rather dumb and be taken away from what the movie had done right before it.

Anyways, this it for Twilight. Take a bow, you silly vampires. Your final installment is a decent enough film, and if you’re going to see it it means you know what you’re getting yourself into, so that’s why it more than deserves a passing grade. But, alas, it’s overstayed its welcome and it’s underused the one actually great asset it had at hand, Michael Sheen as Aro, the leader of the Volturi, who brings the only real sense of good acting to the table. Also of note is that this is rated PG-13 but there’s a whole lot of decapitation going on, so be warned.

Grade: B-


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