Film Review : Breaking Dawn Part 2
● By Justin Buettner
The fifth and final film in the hugely popular and profitable Twilight series picks up where the previous film left off. Bella learns to control her new vampire powers while adjusting to family life as a mother and a wife. Her best friend werewolf friend has imprinted (fallen in love) with her newborn daughter who grows at an accelerated rate. However trouble finds the Cullen clan when the Volturi learns the news that a child vampire exists which is punishable by death. The Cullens quickly spring into action recruiting vampire friends from around the globe to help them convince the Volturi to spare their lives.
This movie cannot be reviewed like other films, so opposed to trying to weave two distinct points of view into one review I thought it would be more fair to the reader and the movie to branch this review into two separate parts.
Part one : Twilight Fans
If you are a fan of this series you will absolutely love this movie. It has everything you have come to love about this series plus some. It has Bella and Edward looking longingly into each other’s eyes, it has them making out nearly naked, and above all Jacob takes his shirt off. The movie gives all the characters in the series screen time and it adds a whole host of new characters. The movie has a climatic ending with a fight between the good Cullen vampire clan and the evil Volturi. The audience at the screening I attended cheered, screamed and ahhed at all the right moments and nearly the entire theater stayed for the photo slideshow recounting every character that had a speaking role in the series dating back to the first chapter. You loved the first four movies, and this caps off one of your favorite series with an exclamation point. You will love this movie!
Part Two : Everyone else
The last entry in this dreadful series will do nothing to change your mind about the ineptitude of writing, acting, and special effects that have been put on display since the first film. Almost every aspect of this movie is bad, including the sound, which in most cases can be ignored, but in this movie the music and the sound effects are annoyingly awful. I will admit that Breaking Dawn part 2 was actually a marked improvement over the previous Breaking Dawn movie. This newest chapter shifts gears a bit from the atrocious romance of Edward and Bella and focuses more on the plight of their half breed daughter. However an improvement over the worst film in a terrible franchise is not a great achievement.
First let me begin by saying this is not a teen friendly series. Although the books and the films are clearly aimed at teenage girls, the content is actually quite disturbing and this final chapter takes PG-13 about as far as I think you can go. It shows a fairly explicit love scene that shows as much skin as they can get away with, it has a grown man who turns into a huge dog fall in love with a baby which is disturbing and wrong beyond belief, and it has several decapitations. True the decapitations are bloodless, but not all the decapitations start at the neck and are in some instances they are fairly graphic. All that aside, the main relationship between Bella and Edward is not in the least bit a healthy example of a relationship either, so there is really not anything of value for younger viewers in this series.
Breaking Dawn Part 2 does finally shift the focus of the film away from the selfish and reckless relationship of Edward and Bella and places the group’s efforts in saving the little girl who is mistakenly identified as a vampire child, which is against vampire law. At least this subplot gives the characters a meaningful purpose in the movie. The movie begins to feel like an X-Men movie as all the vampire have random special powers. The end culminates it what seems to be an all out battle in the middle of an icy field in the forest. Although the battle scene has several unintentional comedic moments at least something of consequence was unfolding for the first time in the five movie series. That is until the rug is pulled out from under the movie and a big reveal proves ultimately nothing of consequence really happens.
The frustrating aspect of the Twilight series is there are several good stories to tell in the Twilight universe. Why on Earth did the entire series focus on the least interesting characters the story had to offer? The writing in the entire series was abysmal and the end result is that this series had nothing to say. Was there even a bad guy in this last film? It is hard to tell when everything is said and done. Aside from the underdeveloped plot the dialog is laughably bad and delivered by horrible actors, or at least disinterested ones by in large.
I actually think Kristen Stewart can be a good actress in the right part. Her performance in Adventureland was quite good. But the rest of the cast is downright awful. Robert Pattinson has no emotional range, Taylor Lautner is eye candy only for the girls, and the only performance in the film that is any fun to watch because of the sheer campiness of it all is Michael Sheen. At least he really looks like he’s having fun.
The effects in this film are inexcusably bad. You’d think by the fifth movie they would divert an effects budget that would be worthy of a big budget blockbuster. That is not the case. Their attempt at a CGI baby may be the creepiest part of the movie, never mind it is unintentional. Most of the running, jumping, and wolf effects are so bad they are distracting. It almost calls attention to itself and the filmmakers do nothing to try and hide it.
Bill Condon, who directed the last two entries, was an acclaimed director. I was not a fan of his previous work which included Dreamgirls, Chicago and Kinsey, but Condon was a highly regarded filmmaker and not even he was able to make a redeemable film out of this story and lousy characters. I will assume he at least got a big paycheck.
The best attribute about Breaking Dawn part 2 is that it marks an end to the Twilight series, at least for now (the studio execs have already spoken about a reboot to this series). The studio executives who own this series would be far better off creating spin-offs of this series about the more interesting supporting characters that populate the Twilight universe than to create a reboot. As long as they keep Stephanie Meyers out of the writing process I would actually be half way excited about seeing those movies. The thought of having to watch the terrible trio of Bella, Edward and Jacob again in a reboot or any other reimagining of this series just sounds painful. In short, if you have not been a fan of the Twilight series Breaking Dawn Part 2 won’t change your mind but confirm all your previous opinions.
Films like Twilight : Breaking Dawn part 2 : Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn Part 1
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.