When it comes to the finale of any series, writing a review is almost redundant. By this point you know if you either like Twilight or if you don’t, so all that really matters is whether Breaking Dawn – Part 2 offers a satisfying conclusion for the twihards. Being that I’m not a twihard however, that becomes a difficult question to answer – but let’s try anyway!
It only makes sense then to start at the beginning: let it be known that the first 30 minutes are atrocious. Picking up immediately from the end of Part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) is now a vampire and must grow accustomed to her new powers. These include running incredibly fast, a feat which is shown by the same cheap-looking special effect that wore out its welcome in the previous instalments. Indeed, the sight of Bella hopping around and aggressively rock climbing in this opening segment is borderline cringeworthy – where did the budget go?
Oh, a CGI baby… that’s where! Yes, Bella and hubby Edward (Robert Pattinson) now have a bouncing baby girl called Renesmee. She’s a hybrid vampire-human who grows at an accelerated rate. Why baby Renesmee is a creepy special effect is anyone’s guess – are there not enough real babies in the world? Anyhow, Renesmee’s existence is somewhat problematic as the Volturi (code for Italian vampire mafia) believe that she’s an outlawed immortal child – a child that was turned into a vampire. Apparently such bloodsuckers are bad news so Volturi circus leader Aro (Michael Sheen) uses this flimsy misinformation as an excuse to wipe out Bella, Edward and the Cullen clan. It’s a silly plot made sillier by werewolf Jacob’s infatuation with Renesmee. Even ardent fans have to admit that Jacob (Taylor Lautner) imprinting on ‘Nessie’ is kind of, maybe, just a little weird.
Regardless, dumb plot notwithstanding, after the first act and a woeful sex scene (seriously, Game of Thrones has really hurt the impact of all non-R-rated sex scenes), the movie becomes transiently enjoyable. There are a few good chuckles to be had, mostly thanks to some tongue-in-cheek humour that benefits from both the deliberate awkwardness of the situations the characters find themselves in as well as the added awkwardness of the generally terrible dialogue and bland performances. That said, Sheen has the most fun hamming it up as the baroque villain. Indeed, in a film with classic lines like ‘we’re the same temperature now’, Sheen seems to realise that the material needs to be treated with a (large) degree of camp – he’s certainly challenging Voldemort for most ridiculous evil laugh!
It all builds up to an exciting action-packed climax… that completely deviates from the book only to then pull the rug out from under your feet. The changes to the story here are likely to divide hardcore fans – I could feel the audience of twihards clench up in frustration as certain events unfolded. Perhaps it’s for this reason that I enjoyed this part the most (what does that say about me?). In my mind I pictured director Bill Condon poking his head into the corner of the frame with a massive, grinning trollface, to which I could only think ‘well played!’. Overall, it was a fun bait-and-switch that gave Sheen more screen time so I wasn’t complaining. And then it all ends, the saga concludes – but not before the last injustice of a tacky montage of the previous films. Oh well.
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is likely to divide fans due to changes from the book, but non-fans might find this last entry the easiest of the storied vampire romance to digest… if only because it’s all so hilariously awful.