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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

2012 | 112 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2


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Theatrical release date

 16 November, 2012
 16 November, 2012

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 United States

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Screenshots from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, November 15, 2012

Remember last year’s “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” where Bella and Edward got married, had violent, bed-breaking sex on their honeymoon, and conceived a daughter that werewolf pal Jacob went all humuna-humuna-humuna over shortly after her birth, pledging his eternal love to a baby? I’m sorry to report that the ludicrousness of “Part 1” doesn’t carry over to “Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” which, in its ambition to manufacture an epic conclusion to a decidedly earthbound saga, mounts an incredible amount of exposition and adds a legion of superfluous characters to reach a point of explosion it ends up mischievously undercutting as a way to keep the die-hard fans guessing to the end. The series has been mopey, uninspired, poorly acted, and dramatically inert. Now, with “Part 2,” it’s become a total cheat.

Transformed into a vampire, feeling out her sensory powers and thirst for blood, Bella (Kristen Stewart) is excited about the possibilities of eternal life with husband Edward (Robert Pattinson), while processing the rapid growth of daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), the infant that Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted everlasting love upon. When word of Renesmee’s birth reaches vamp lords the Volturi, leader Aro (Michael Sheen, the only actor who understands exactly what type of movie he’s in) demands answers, fearing the birth of an immortal child will lead to the downfall of their kind. Preparing for war against the elders, Edward’s family reaches out to bloodsuckers across the globe in an effort to prove Renesmee’s stability, bringing in assistance from the likes of Garrett (Lee Pace) and Tanya (MyAnna Burning), building strength in numbers as Jacob and the werewolves offer support. With the Volturi demanding submission, Bella, Edward, and Jacob dig in for the fight of their lives, hoping to preserve a future for Renesmee and other loved ones, including Bella’s dad Charlie (Billy Burke).

While it promises heated vampire-on-vampire action, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is more about endless explanations as this supposedly final act in the “Twilight” series actually builds like any other installment, unwisely taking precious screen time to introduce a slew of new characters designed to beef up the Cullen Army. And with these new recruits come new powers, with the vampires showing off their skills summoning electricity and manipulating fire and water. In fact, “Part 2” resembles more of an “X-Men” sequel than a “Twilight” film, with this sudden rush of special abilities killing the mystique of vampirism. Who cares if these goofs can live forever and display diamond skin when they can blast people with lightning bolts or lift water out of pools. I half-expected Professor X to roll out and educate the ghouls on the value of self-control.

With the new band of monsters, and the inevitably laborious dialogue by screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg employed to explain the history of the strangers, little time is reserved for the triangle of power that’s been fueling the series up to this point. While Bella gets a chance to show off her vampire athleticism and develop into a violent character, Jacob and Edward are short-sheeted in the screentime department, with little for the duo to do besides stand in the background and wait patiently for their chance to matter to the story. Edward is practically castrated by his newly undead bride, watching Bella smash rocks and mega-sprint around the woods while he stands back and holds what’s supposed to be an infant version of Renesmee. It’s difficult to tell though, since director Bill Condon has elected to create a CGI baby to articulate the half-breed child’s amazing growth, ordering up a pink blob with a shifting face that’s supposed to pass for a living creature. The trick is extended over half of the movie, and it’s amateurish work. Why not just cast a team of kids to convey the rapid maturation of this fringe character? Now is not the time to start asking questions.

“Part 2” builds toward an ultimate showdown between the Epcot Superfriends and the Volturi, who want to kill Renesmee, requiring some convincing to alter their plans. These leads to even more dialogue exchanges, with a master scheme in motion that finds Alice (Ashley Greene) off to locate critical proof that a half-human/half-vamp is not a threat. After 90 minutes of exposition, action finally occurs, turning Wonder Bread into San Francisco sourdough as decapitations are passed around like breath mints, while major characters are offed as chaos erupts on a snowy mountaintop. Huzzah! “Twilight” finally gets interesting and brave. But there’s one final trick in Condon and Rosenberg’s bag, and it’s such a colossal letdown, solidifying “Part 2” as the worst “Twilight” effort of them all and a production worthy of genuine contempt.

Let’s just say that if the climax of “Part 2” is warmly received by the public, we all owe Emilio Estevez an enormous apology for the cruel way “Wisdom” was treated.

On the plus side, this is likely the last “Twilight” offering for the foreseeable future, until the inevitable “Jacob & Renesmee: It’s Baby Love!” spinoff emerges. Bella and Edward are now at peace, along with audiences who’ve endured this shabby series since it debuted in 2008. They’ve lapped up every drop of swoon and devoured every ounce of melodrama, and now it’s time to say goodbye to the sparkly vampires, dim-wit dads, pants-magic werewolves, extended stares, soundtrack hustling, abysmal acting, absurd characterizations, murky romance, icky stalking, and, well, infant passion. It’s been real, Forks. Real awful.

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Maggie Grace, Michael Sheen
Director: Bill Condon

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