It may come as no surprise to some that, as increasingly became the trend in the Twilight movies, the best parts of Breaking Dawn Part 2 are the bits that aren’t in the book.
In my humble opinion, the novel ‘Breaking Dawn’ itself was an exercise in futility, since author Stephanie Meyer failed to deliver on every single instance of conflict she created. Time and again, each major insurmountable obstacle that Bella and co. faced was instantly resolved with very little tension. I was curious to see how on Earth this would make for a thrilling movie experience.
The good news is that most of the offensive stuff (women putting up with violent men, women getting punished for having sex, yada yada yada) was taken care of in Part 1. Now that Bella Swan is a vampire, you’d think she’d finally get to have some fun. And she does, to a certain extent. The opening sequence of Part 2 features her coming to terms with her newfound powers, and it’s easy to see what’s so thrilling about being a member of the sparkly undead. From that point, however, the film slows down considerably. Whilst Bella’s coming to terms with her vampiric nature, she also has to deal with the fact that her daughter, Renesmee, not only has the worst name in the history of bad names, but the Volturi aren’t happy about her existence.
This means we get more of Michael Sheen, which is always a good thing. However, for some reason that’s never really explained, it takes the Volturi a really long time to travel from Italy to Forks, even if the Cullens have been zipping all over the globe in the meantime, trying to rally support. When we finally get to the climax (something completely missing from the book), it turns out that the filmmakers have something special for us indeed. If I could buy a Blu-ray of just the 25 minutes or so of action at the end of the film, I would, because it’s thrilling and exciting and emotional and a whole lot of other words that can’t really be applied to the rest of the franchise.
I’ve already praised Michael Sheen, but I should also mention Billy Burke, who has managed, against the odds, to be brilliant throughout all of the Twilight films. Our central three stars – Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner – still fail to impress, whilst the extraordinarily large supporting cast of multicultural vampires only get a handful of lines each, having to rely mostly on their costuming to get across any depth of character.
It’s always surprised me just how crappy the visual effects have been in the Twilight Saga considering the fact that the films make millions of dollars. Whilst Breaking Dawn Part 2 is probably the best looking of the series, there are still some awful effects on display. The high speed runs through the forest look just as silly as they did in the first film, whilst the CGI baby Renesmee is woefully unrealistic and thoroughly creepy.
I can appreciate that fans of Harry Potter and Twilight may like the recent trend of splitting up the final novel of a series into two films, because it means that the story really has time to breathe. Then again, a brilliant script is a brilliant script, so there’s no reason why you can’t squeeze an entire novel into two hours and produce a film that’s just as emotionally charged as the books supposedly are.
At the end of the day, it’s only really fans that will be watching Breaking Dawn Part 2, and I can’t see how they could have any problems with the adaptation. It’s like the book, only slightly better. For everyone else, it’s yet another case of reasonably pretty people standing around, awkwardly delivering lines that are nowhere near as profound as they’d like to think they are.Rating: