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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2(2012)
After the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens gather other vampire clans in order to protect the child from a false allegation that puts the family in front of the Volturi.
For more about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray release, see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 25, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Maggie Grace, Michael Sheen
Director: Bill Condon
» See full cast & crew
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray Review
The end of an era.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 25, 2013
NOTE: This review contains spoilers for previous events in the 'Twilight' Saga.
Immortality becomes you.
There's Team Edward, Team Jacob, and Team Get This Series Over With. Of the three, two have won; Bella's made her choice between the two Hollywood hunks and Twilight's big screen run has come to an end, cause for mourning for some and celebration for others. For those sad to see the series end, fret not. Twilight may be over, but the final installment proves a worthy conclusion to a long-running fan favorite. Breaking Dawn, Part Two makes for a satisfying conclusion to the series, an intense, quick-moving picture that blends drama, suspense, and action quite well; it's a far more balanced and enjoyable experience than Breaking Dawn, Part One, a generally well-made and thematically necessary but structurally overlong picture that might have satisfied its core audience with an extended "you are there" wedding and honeymoon segment but that otherwise failed to find a rhythm to keep outsiders interested until the bloody final act, a rhythm Part 2 discovers and runs with through a surprisingly brisk experience. Yes, some might see fit to disparage the film simply because of the name at the beginning and the demographics that made the franchise a success, but look beyond the generalities and find a film -- a series, really -- in Breaking Dawn, Part 2 that's certainly imperfect but otherwise entertaining, oftentimes thoughtful, and technically well-made.
Bella (Kristen Stewart) has survived birthing her human/vampire hybrid baby and has also returned from the dead following Edward's (Robert Pattinson) desperate attempt to save her by transforming her into one of his own kind. She's finding it difficult to control her newfound bloodlust (but not difficult at all to grasp her new, heightened powers and senses), but under Edward's tutelage she soon becomes capable of fitting right in with her new vampire family. However, she takes news of Jacob's (Taylor Lautner) imprinting on her baby daughter Renesmee harshly, but with time she comes to understand the special bond they do and will share. Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) grows quickly, so quickly that her presence alarms Irina (Maggie Grace) who informs the Volturi that Edward, Bella, and the Cullen clan may have turned a child, an age-old no-no amongst vampires. Learning that the Volturi are coming for Renesmee, even as they don't understand just exactly who -- and what -- she is, the Cullens form a small army of 18 sympathetic vampires from around the world to stand against the powers of the dark Volturi and protect Renesmee at all costs.
If there's one thing that Twilight has taught, it's that the old adage that "love knows no bounds" is certainly true, even if those boundaries are set up between the living and the dead, between humans and vampires, and between werewolves and humans or, as the case may be, werewolves and human/vampire hybrids. But boundaries are meant to be crossed; lines in the sand can wiped away with a shuffle of the foot or a good, stiff breeze; and love -- even inter-species love -- does conquer all, including, it seems, biology and all known-laws of vampire-human childbirth, which basically boil down to one word: "impossible." Of course, Bella and Edward are no mere mortal and immortal or, now, together immortal. Theirs, the Twilight universe would have one believe, is a once-in-a-lifetime romance that can beat the odds through sheer power of will, all well and good but even for the power of their bond the unlikeliness of their story is bound to bring with it trouble. And that's where Part 2 hits its mark. Bella has survived both her daughter's birth and her own vampiric rebirth. First came love, then came marriage, now comes the Volturi looking for a little bundle of potential evil, just not in her baby carriage; the mortal/immortal hybrid Renesmee is simply growing too quickly for that by the time vampire-dom's version of the Illuminati pay her and her extended family a visit. Breaking Dawn, Part Two is really, in a lot of ways, a whole lot of hot air; it's a ton of build-up towards a confrontation that plays out with a love it/hate it twist on what's in the book. Nevertheless, the anticipation, the story revelations, and the way Author Stephenie Meyer and Director Bill Condon bring it all together makes it feel far more dramatically potent than it is or, really, needs to be. But sometimes a little boiling blood and hot air is necessary to discover the truth about how such a powerful thing as love -- more powerful than a vampire's strength, a werewolf's fangs, or a human's tenacity -- can indeed cross all boundaries.
As something of a "question-and-answer" film, Breaking Dawn, Part Two makes things rather easy to break down for audiences not intimately familiar with the complexities of all the back stories, in part because it's well-made but also in part because it is, beneath all of the superficial interspecies complications, a rather straightforward story with, when it comes right down to it, very little to actually fill a two-hour film. But the difference is that Condon succeeds here in making the material work in the allotted time, remedying his biggest failure with Part One, a film that dragged considerably in its opening half. This picture, however, introduces all sorts of new characters but in good time and usually with good reason to the needs of the final resolution. None of them are really dynamic but do, oddly, make this feel like X-Vamps, a Twilight take on the X-Men franchise considering all of the unique "mutant"-like abilities on display and critical to the resolution. But even as a wide range of superpowers are introduced, reinforced, or used to fun dramatic flair, the movie still manages to make things more interesting and thematically novel through its tales of the ins-and-outs of vampirism as they relate to child Vampires and the reasons why the Volturi are suddenly so interested in little Renesmee. Even if it ultimately feels like one big cop-out by the time it's over -- trying to satisfy all sides with its resolution rather than picking one or the other -- it still makes for a satisfying if not in many ways odd journey, even if the destination comes as something of a letdown when it's all said and done.
Technically, this Twilight is as good as any of the others. Love these movies or hate them, audiences must admit they've only matured, technically, from blue-hued start to spit-and-polished double-bill last. Bill Condon's return gives Breaking Dawn, Part 2 the necessary symmetry between the final two films, and even as this one enjoys significantly better pacing, the technical similarities and adherence to the same visual style lend a cohesion that makes these two films very easy to catch back-to-back for that seamless Breaking Dawn four-hour marathon experience. The special effects are fantastic, still; the werewolves look rather convincing in digital form, showing great exterior complexity and smooth, natural movement. The third act extended battle scene shows some gruesome kills that are absent excess blood but that show enough in the way of seamless severed limbs and body parts and general battlefield chaos that it might be too much for younger viewers. The digital curiosity is a CGI baby Renesmee that in some ways looks and acts almost too real, but the faultless interaction and computerized manipulation isn't quite there yet and ends up giving her scenes a slightly awkward appearance. The acting is the same as the other films; there hasn't been a whole lot of evolution on the part of the cast, but there is a consistency that's to be commended. The cast plays material that's in many ways corny, in many ways dramatically intense, and in many ways thematically vacant quite well. It's a roller-coaster challenge to maneuver through the ins-and-outs of the Twilight universe that challenges the actors to make up for cliché but also dig deep into some of the darker themes that make the series, particularly this last installment, rather interesting. Pattinson, Lautner, and Stewart handle it as well as it can be handled; they've certainly mastered the parts to the necessary depths and show commendable ability to separate the working side of the ledger from the paparazzi and worldwide fan appeal that dogs them away from the relative safety of the set.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Both Breaking Dawn, Part Two and its predecessor were shot concurrently, so it should come as no surprise that this release features the same fantastic 1080p high definition transfer. Though there's a touch of softness in a couple of shots; a hint of banding here and there; and a few difficult, shadowy color transitions, primarily evident on lighter colored skin, the transfer otherwise dominates and offers what is generally a breathtaking film-like transfer. Light grain remains throughout, and details -- general and fine -- are consistently striking. Close-ups reveal incredibly natural skin and clothing details, right down to the finest little makeup nuances, the tiniest lines and pores, and the ornate decorations adorning the Volturi wardrobe. Exterior shots, particularly the wood-and-glass Cullen house and many woodland environments, look fantastic. Every leaf is unique, and even distant shots reveal vegetation cleanly and accurately; no clumping or messy details here. Colors are splendid, appearing even and natural, whether ghastly pale vampires or naturally warmer humans. Lush exterior greens, the beautiful wooden Cullen home, and red vampire eyes look fantastic, all natural and brilliant and never in any way dull or harsh. Black levels are fantastic. The image is free of any other unwanted intrusions other than those listed above. This is an A-grade transfer from beginning to end.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Breaking Dawn, Part Two features an aggressive and fully immersive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack. The beginning features big, rich, room-filling opening title music. It's evenly spaced and enjoys plenty of surround support that's not dominant but rather a natural compliment to the main front elements. Supportive bass is equally mesmerizing. It's deep and room-filling, the perfect body for the crystal-clear music. It never gets too rattly or unkempt while remaining aggressive and strong in all instances. The track also employs some fantastic woodland ambience. Whether background sounds that play at human hearing level or some scattered exaggerated elements meant to replicate a vampire's enhanced sense of hearing, the entire stage comes alive with various natural sounds that perfectly define the film's primary environment. A good, drenching rain saturates the stage in chapter 12, another example of the track's natural and dominant presentation. The main action piece at the end features exhilarating use of surround sound and bass. Whether slamming bodies, growling werewolves, or the earth itself splitting open to swallow combatants, the frenetic, energized battle is so well sonically defined that listeners might try to dodge a few attacks along the way. Rounded out by faultless dialogue reproduction, this last Twilight soundtrack might just be the series' best.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Breaking Dawn, Part Two contains a very nice collection of extras, the assortment headlined by a lengthy multi-part documentary chronicling nearly all aspects of the filmmaking process.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's an imperfect end to an imperfect series, but Breaking Dawn, Part Two nevertheless delivers what is easily the best film in the series beyond the first and certainly a far more fluid picture than the first-half sluggish Breaking Dawn, Part One. Though the movie leads up to something of a cop-out ending, the journey from birth of a hybrid baby to possible all-out war over a misunderstanding of identity that's a result of an unbreakable bond between two different creatures makes for at least a respectably interesting journey that posits and answers plenty of questions about the world of the supernatural and its interaction with both humanity and other supernatural beings, at least as developed through the creative mind of Author Stephenie Meyer. Part Two does most everything as well as can be expected from a technical perspective; fans should be thrilled, naysayers won't be convinced, and newcomers might find a far better movie than they expect. Lionsgate's Blu-ray release of Breaking Dawn, Part Two features tip-top video and reference audio. Plenty of in-depth extras are included. A must-own for fans, recommended for film enthusiasts, and worth a rental for fence-sitters.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2: Other Editions
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