"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
After four movies and five years of the Twilight Saga, director Bill Condon concludes the love story between Bella and Edward Cullen in a dramatic and exciting part 2 of Stephenie Meyer's final book in the series, "Breaking Dawn". With a lot riding on the line for the characters of Forks, Washington, the filmmakers are able to craft a smart and enjoyable conclusion to this record-breaking romance series.
After the birth of Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) and the death of Bella (Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson) attempts to turn Bella to save her. When it works, she is now stronger than ever, and is ready to start her life with the love of her life and their daughter. At the same time, she must deal with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who imprinted on the newborn right after delivery.
When they think everything is fine and they can finally settle down, word gets to the Volturi about the new half-vampire, half-human hybrid. They believe the Cullens broke the law by turning a human child into one of them, not knowing that Bella and Edward are her birth parents. Now, the Cullens must gather all of their vampire allies as they can to assist them in this confrontation with the old vampire council, even if it means an all-out fight.
Since this movie is the final installment of the saga, there are a lot of callbacks to the previous films, which I think makes this more personal in a way. It shows how much our characters have changed into what kind of people they are now. It's crazy to imagine how only five years have gone by since the first film to this one.
With that being said, I think they were able to fully embody the characters that Meyer had created, making them seem more personable and real. In the first movie, they all seemed kind of stiff and awkward, like they weren't meant to be there. But now, the actors know how to play these characters right, in addition to the great directing by Condon. I found it fun to watch all of the characters get along actually, compared to Jacob and Edward fighting all the time for Bella's love and affection.
Speaking of Edward and Jacob, I definitely think these past two films have the best performances by Pattinson and Lautner in these roles. I have mentioned in my reviews for the previous films about how Lautner seems very stiff and tries too hard to be intimidating and cool, and this movie completely changes my mind about his acting abilities. Jacob is actually a very fun character to watch in this movie, and I wish he had received a little more screen time. Consider the scene where he turns into a wolf in front of Bella's father, Charlie (Billy Burke). It is very funny and uncomfortable for both the characters and the audience, but a good kind of uncomfortable. Burke definitely complimented Lautner in this scene.
For Pattinson, on the other hand, he has been developing this character and this personality for years, and he finally reached his peak in the finale. I wish we had saw more of this version of Edward Cullen in the previous movies, but I think it's good he performed his best in the final films as it would have been hard to top it if there were more to be made.
It was awesome to finally see Bella as a vampire in this movie. We have been waiting to see her transformation ever since the ending of the first film, and it's a joy to see that the fans and audiences finally get their wish. Stewart does a pretty good job at playing a more vampire-esque character of this classic role, even if it is cheesy and unreal at times.
One of the best moments (and perhaps the most shocking in modern film history) is the huge final battle at the end of the film. The reason for it being shocking - none of it happened in the book. So, when characters, both loved and hated, started dying and having their heads ripped off, it was extremely shocking and saddening to see. However, there is a brilliant twist at the end of this scene that I think the filmmakers pulled off very well. But for the scene as a whole, I think it is greatly shot and choreographed, and was a perfect battle that has been set up for the past four years.
Now, of course there are cringey moments and awkward dialogue in this movie. It wouldn't be a Twilight film without it. I think they started to embrace their cringey and awkward vibe though, when there are lines about Jacob naming Bella's baby after the Loch Ness monster present in the movie. However, one thing I didn't expect was how bad the special effects and CGI could be. This film contains perhaps some of the worst effects since the first one. Some of the wolves look very fake and cheesy, but the worst comes when Renesmee is still a baby and throughout the first couple of times she ages. The baby looks incredibly fake and creepy-looking, as well as Foy does when they try to CGI her face to make her look younger. They definitely should have put some more time and money into making the child look better as it throws off the mood and the tone for the film is going for.
Overall though, I do think this is a pretty good and satisfying conclusion to the Twilight Saga. There are of course people who will hate on these movies and say how awful they are, but there are still die-hard fans of this series and their characters. Isn't that the purpose of these type of movies, to please their fans? Whether you read the books when they first came out, or you're getting into the movie franchise today, these films will stay around and be important for the rest of time.