Title: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)
Runtime: 115 minutes
Director: Bill Condon
It’s no secret that I’ve never been a huge fan of The Twilight Saga. The first entry – Twilight – was easily one of the worst films of 2008. It’s a wonder the series became as popular as it did, but one should never underestimate the power of teenagers and middle-aged woman when it comes to box office prowess. The Twilight Saga: New Moon was also laughably bad, but it was definitely an improvement. The third entry in the series was an anomaly: I actually liked it. It wasn’t a stand out film from 2010, but it was entertaining enough. This lead to the disappointment that was Breaking Dawn – Part 1, where I felt that director, Bill Condon, couldn’t get out of his own way long enough to deliver a solid product. That leads us to today, and to the conclusion of one of most undeservingly successful film franchises of all time: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is nothing more than a masturbatory, pointless, cash grab. The scariest part: the fans I talk to actually enjoy it.
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 picks up exactly where the first film left off. Bella (Kristen Stewart) has been turned into a vampire, and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted on her and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) baby girl, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). Bella, looking sexier than ever as a vampire, begins to get accustomed to her new life of eating blood, moving way too fast, and turning to glitter in the sunlight. Much like she always does, Alice (Ashley Greene) gets a vision of the future, and it’s grim: the Volturi are coming to kill Renesmee because they believe that she is an immortal child (which, according to the flashback scene, is a very bad thing). The Cullen’s then set out to gather their friends to be witnesses to the fact that Renesmee is not an evil immortal, and, with their help, they hope to talk down the Volturi when they arrive to kill Renesmee.
And then nothing happens. We meet these new family members, learn of their individual powers, watch Bella beat some people up, and then the Volturi come to do their deed. There’s nothing of substance in this film at all. The two moments that could cause tension are squandered, the first of which comes minutes into the movie when Bella learns that Jacob imprinted on her newborn daughter. She is irate, but only for about two minutes. The next scene sees them sharing laughs and being generally content with their new lives. The second time a tension is created, though, is the kicker. This moment absolutely kills any of the guts – any of the boldness – that I thought this movie had. If this instance was handled correctly, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 may have been the biggest surprise of the year. Instead, Bill Condon and scriptwriter Melissa Rosenberg (along with Stephenie Meyer, the creator of the source novel, and producer of the films) slap the audience in the face with an ending that can only be described as “Hollywood”.
As if that ending wasn’t bad enough, the viewer is then forced to sit through a memory that Bella plays for Edward, highlighting key moments in the whole Twilight Saga. This is followed by a casting call of all the major and supporting characters in the whole series, even if they weren’t in Part 2. The Twilight Saga has done nothing to earn this histrionic, self-indulgent love fest. This film franchise consists of one good film, and nothing more.
I can understand splitting up the movies based on their book counterparts, but splitting up this final film reeks of a studio trying to soak every dime out of their fans. There is no reason Part 2 should be sold as a separate film when it is little more than an epilogue to the rest of the series. This story may work well in novel fashion, but as a film series, The Twilight Saga is one giant, glittery ball of disappointment and pander.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.
I am surprised you even saw this! I have watched these awful movies only because I actually enjoyed the books – they are a fun, fast, silly read – but the adaptation franchise is SO LAME! It stinks from casting to script to acting to directing and everything in between (the one thing I’ve like is the wolf-turning CG). Guess I’ve been watching only to see how badly the adaptation ruined the book series, but I am in no hurry whatever to see this last increment – especially after your review, which I am sure is spot-on. And I agree – people are completely non-discerning these days when it comes to quality of entertainment (or much else, for that matter). Cheers!
Another great comment, Zu, so thank you. The only reason I’ve seen these is because my girlfriend is a big fan. She genuinely likes the whole series, which is just mind boggling for me. At least she admits that the first film is the worst, which it clearly is. Thanks again for all the comments! They’re very appreciated.