Movie Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’

In Theaters

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” written by Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) and Stephenie Meyer (novel), directed by Bill Condon, 115 minutes, rated PG-13.

After three disappointing follow-ups to Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” the series finally regains its footing with its final installment, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2.”

The fifth film in the saga, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” stops the cycle of spinning its wheels with the unproductive love triangle pitting vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) against werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) for the affection of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).

The movie picks up where “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” left off, with Bella having been married to Edward, and then turned into a vampire after birthing a human-vampire hybrid baby, Renesme, a feat believed to be impossible. Growing and aging more rapidly than a normal human, Renesme is already 7 years old after mere months of living, and she finds herself at the center of a controversy in the vampire community after being mistaken for a full-fledged vampire child.

One of the most important laws in Meyer’s world of vampires is that vampires are never to turn a child. It’s an act punishable by death. With the Cullens suspected of committing such a heinous crime, the corrupt governing body known as the Volturi, led by Michael Sheen’s maniacal Aro, converge on their home of Forks, Wash. to confront the vampire family. With a battle looming over the small, woodsy town, the Cullen family begin to recruit friends within the vampire community to testify on their behalf, and fight alongside them if need be.

Bill Condon’s “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is the most focused film the saga has offered, with two opposing sides at odds – good vs. evil – leading up to an inevitable clash. For the first time since the original, there is a clear, direct threat to our heroes, adding a level of peril to the final installment that hasn’t really existed before. The Volturi are intimidating, and where we know this is the final chapter for Bella, Edward and company, there’s uncertainty as to who will make it out alive, adding much needed suspense and tension to this supernatural teen romance.

The ending allows fans to have their cake, and eat it, too. It’s satisfying on two levels, and is likely to surprise casual viewers such as myself. Having not read Meyer’s entire series, I’m inclined to say this is a tactful, smart and fitting way to finish the franchise.

Like many, I’ve taken my share of cheap shots at “The Twilight Saga” over the last few years, and although I’m still not a “Twihard,” this film caught me off guard. I actually found “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” quite enjoyable.

Grade: B

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