Final ‘Twilight’ most watchable of series
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is easily the most
enjoyable picture in the series, but, let’s be honest – that’s not saying much.
By and large, the films have mainly served as accessories to the insanely popular series of teen novels, seeming more like fan service than cinema. Those in the know can read what’s between the lines of dialogue, whereas those who aren’t only see characters staring at each other for increasingly prolonged periods of time, followed by some more staring, stilted performances and a drawn-out storyline.
The series has never been able to stand on its own, catering to those who’ve read the books and leaving newcomers in the dark, wondering why vampires sparkle in sunlight and werewolves fall in love with infants.
“Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” however, seems a bit more self-aware than its predecessors, playing up the comedic aspects of its narrative oddities, while actually delivering some form of plot and action.
Picking up right where the gruelingly uneventful “Part 1” left off, “Part 2” opens with Bella (Kristen Stewart, “Adventureland”) embracing life, or un-life, as a vampire. She and stoic vampire husband Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, “Water for Elephants”) are enjoying married life with their unusual (and unusually named) child, Renesmee (played by 10 different young actresses), a human-vampire hybrid of sorts, who seems to be rapidly aging.
To make matters more awkward, Bella’s longtime friend and once potential love interest, Jacob (Taylor Lautner, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl”), a werewolf, has “imprinted” on little Renesmee, meaning that their souls have somehow bonded at first sight. As such, he’s sworn to stand by her through thick and thin and – well, let’s leave it at that for now.
But there’s trouble in paradise, when the Volturi, kind of a vampire Vatican, hears tell of Renesmee. Believing she poses a threat to vampire-dom, Volturi leader Aro (Michael Sheen, “Frost/Nixon”) assembles his troops to confront the Cullen clan and eliminate the threat.
But Edward’s and Bella’s family – Carlisle (Peter Facinelli, HBO’s “Six Feet Under”), Esme (Elizabeth Reaser, “Young Adult”), Alice (Ashley Greene, “Butter”), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone, “The Last Airbender”) and Emmett (Kellan Lutz, “Accepted”) – learn of the plot and take steps to defend Renesmee. They travel the world to gather witnesses to prove to the Volturi that the child doesn’t pose a threat.
Their efforts culminate in a showdown that’s arguably the most exciting part of the entire series, which also takes a sharp turn for the unexpected with one hell of a climactic twist.
Clocking in at just less than two hours, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is the series’ most watchable entry, thanks to an actual sense of urgency in its plot and its sometimes self-deprecating approach.
Director Bill Condon (“Kinsey”) deftly handles some of the more awkward situations, such as Jacob’s explanation of how he’s fallen in love with an infant, as well as Bella’s father’s (Billy Burke, “Drive Angry”) reaction to learning about the supernatural world in which he unknowingly lived.
Sheen has fun hamming it up as the Volturi ringleader, while a duo of Russian vampires (Guri Weinberg, “Munich,” and Noel Fisher, “Battle Los Angeles”) with Count Dracula accents bring to mind an odd combination of Bela Lugosi and some Euro-punk techo band.
But that’s not to say “Part 2” is without its shortcomings. For a film rife with monsters, baby Renesmee is the scariest of all, bathed in shoddy and outright disturbing CGI with computer-generated eyes that are the stuff of nightmares. Probably intended to maintain physical continuity among all the young actresses playing the role, it instead maintains a sense of uneasiness throughout.
Renesmee aside, the film’s other horrors take more of an ironically comic approach, such as the elementary dialogue (which is par for the course at this point) and author Stephanie Meyer’s heavy-handed “save it for marriage” imagery. Having a message is fine, but beating audience members over the head with it – in a series that’s not known for its subtlety – is a bit too much.
For a Twihard, though, there’s no such thing as “too much” when it comes to “Twilight.” The saga wasn’t made for Twi-outsiders. This was for the fans, and any moment spent with one’s favorite characters is, by default, a moment well spent – even if it sparkles in the sunlight or falls in love with infants.
“Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 9-B or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.