<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Bill Condon. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning.
Over the years and the many Twilight films I and many other reviewers, critics, vampire-lovers and men have developed a sort of aversion to these abominations with their substandard CGI and dull romantic gobbledegook. A sigh of relief then at the final film and what’s this… I actually liked Breaking Dawn Part 2 more than Life of Pi! Hell must have frozen over.
Low expectations are usually a good thing. Especially when watching a Twilight film (read the review of Breaking Dawn Part 1 here). Not if you’re a young girl. Or an old woman for that matter because then you’re there for the saccharine romance – ‘we’ll be together forever… and EVER… and Forever is too short a time’. They are there to watch Taylor Lautner’s mandatory shirt removal (he takes off more in this one). And who can miss the darling of them all, Robert Pattinson and his shiny white face and the hair. Chick flick!
But lo and behold, apart from some of the usual silliness that pervades this blot on vampire folklore and films, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is actually pretty bearable after the first half hour. There are interesting characters, mystery, mayhem and a finale that’s heart stopping. Of course, you have to ignore the bad make-up, silly looking CGI wolves, vampires speed hunting like they’re in a cartoon (think Road Runner) and oh did I mention the horrible make-up? Come on, surely they could cover their necks with the same cheap white face paint. And throughout the film to maintain consistency would be nice.
Oh dear, and I thought I was going to extol the virtues of Breaking Dawn Part 2. You know what, I think it’s the absence of a lot of those bugaboos and pet peeves from the previous films that makes this one watchable. Enjoyable even.
Bella is finally less whiny now that she is part of the undead. Thank god, I wanted to kill her myself! There’s less of her falling all over Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and more of her wanting to pulverise tanks! Taylor Lautner as the werewolf Jacob Black seems to be having more fun in this one. I mean we all know he’s not an actor. In fact, they all seemed to have taken things a little less seriously. Like they’re not carrying the weight of Stephenie Meyer’s beloved books.
Bella and Edward’s half-human, half-immortal child Renesme (shortened to Nessee, as in Lock-Ness monster!) is a bone of contention with the Volturi (the group of governing Vampires) and their leader Aro (Michael Sheen). They think she’s a ‘turned’ child and must be killed. Of course, Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) and the family (always hovering around like a pack) can’t let that happen so they set out to gather support from other vampires, vampires with special powers. And that’s where the magic of the movie really lies. The vampires that don’t only bite, but can control the elements, shock you with 1000 volts and make you see things… or not. At least now you don’t view them as silly vampires (the worst manifestation of film vampires I have ever seen) but as super beings.
Michael Sheen as Aro is so ridiculously hammy and over the top it’s actually quite fun. Kellan Lutz as Emmett Cullen is the muscled bouncer but they’ve made him more fun in this one.
The end sees a great battle between the Cullen’s assembled warriors and the Volturi’s dark keepers. Several key characters are killed off (don’t worry, this is not a spoiler). Apparently this is not how the novel ends the series and we can only thank director Bill Condon and writer Melissa Rosenberg for using some brains and making the film entertaining. Oh and there’s a magnificent twist to the battle that you won’t see coming. The audience at my screening let out a sigh of awe, which was like: ‘What?’ Made up for some of the plot holes in the film for sure.
The end credits pay homage to all the primary and secondary characters from ALL of the films but in such an elegant way that makes you wonder if they’re part of the same film.
Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 may be the best of the five movies (taken from the four books) but don’t go with high expectations. And since I’ve been so awfully disparaging to Twilight over the years, I can’t help but say: “Twilight, I’m happy to see you die now, and die with such a stellar twist in the finale that I can’t help but give you not one, not two, not three, but four, YES FOUR STARS!”
PS: I saw the movie again with a friend who wanted to catch it (yes I went AGAIN!) and enjoyed it just as much. In the final scene the audience in the theatre clapped, whistles and cheered. Words like ‘awesome’ were heard for the twist in the plot as well.