Love it or hate it, “Twilight” is a global phenomenon.
The brainchild of Stephenie Meyer, the series has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and has gone on to inspire other works including the best-selling book of the millennia, “Fifty Shades of Grey” – essentially Bella and Edward with a splice of S&M.
A year after “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner return for a fifth and final time to wrap up the story that has bitten popular culture. Grossing an estimated $30.4 million from both its Thursday night and midnight Friday shows alone, it has already followed the series’ trend of intense success. Yet, with the whole “trampire” debacle (see Will Ferrell’s take on Stewart’s alleged infidelity) erupting immediately before the release of the concluding installment, it appeared unclear whether Stewart’s and Pattinson’s on/off-screen romance would survive. However, in “Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” directed by Bill Condon, they present a united front, more in love than ever. When Edward Cullen says to Bella “you’re the reason I have something to fight for,” it’s enough to make any twi-hard’s heart skip a beat.
Condon’s best known directorial accomplishment is the motion picture “Dreamgirls,” starring the likes of Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx, with Hudson taking home an Oscar for her performance. It’s highly doubtful that Stewart or Pattinson will win Academy Awards for their roles, but it’s interesting to see how far they’ve progressed as actors in the four years since the first film hit screens. In the blue-tinged (director Catherine Hardwicke’s specialty) “Twilight,” Stewart is almost painfully wooden in her awkward portrayal of Bella Swan, whereas Pattinson, a British native, is still warming up his American accent to a point of believability. Thankfully, in the latest installment, Stewart foregoes the lip biting she has become renowned for and instead becomes slightly more charismatic, actually showing emotion for once, even if it seems a little forced. Pattinson, after roles in “Remember Me,” and other equally successful blockbusters in his downtime from the saga, steps forth in “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” out of the cocoon of boyhood roles and into the footsteps of a professional. Confident and fluid, his portrayal of Edward commands the screen and not just because of his dashing good looks.
Many of the supporting cast are noticeably absent in the final movie. Yet, series regulars such as Aro, the ringleader of the Volturi, played by Michael Sheen, and newcomers like Lee Page as rogue vampire Garrett provide entertainment through their comedic quips and facial expressions. It is unclear whether Sheen’s performance is intended to be funny but his cackles and Michael Jackson-esque appearance are enough to crack the audience up. A lot of the dialogue is really quite stupendous.
“Breaking Dawn – Part 2” seems less serious than the others, perhaps because some of the plotlines reaching crescendo in this closing segment are somewhat ludicrous and farfetched.
Like the preceding four films, “Part 2” offers beautiful cinematography of forests and snowy landscapes, as well as lots of running, jumping and corny one-liners. Artists like St. Vincent, Ellie Goulding, Passion Pit and Christina Perri provide the musical backbone of the movie, living up to the hype of the infamous soundtracks of the other installments. Yet, with an estimated budget of $120 million, CGI unfortunately dominates the film through digitalized wolves, babies and shimmering, creating a vacuous element where nothing seems very real. That’s the main problem with this part of the pentalogy; it’s lacking true depth – of character and of script – providing surface-level humor and standard PG-13 sex scenes. If you’re looking for a sub-par glimpse of vampire steaminess, this flick’s for you.
Whether you’re on Team Edward, Team Jacob or Team I-just-don’t-care, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is a must-see, if not simply because it represents the end of an era. For those who thought the first four films were mediocre at best, “Part 2” will doubtfully redeem the collection with its infinity of good-looking people and a dreamy, love montage to end all dreamy, love montages – sure to induce vomit from the haters. But for the devoted, it’s surely the pièce de résistance for those very same reasons.
It can be said that some of the criticism the film itself is receiving is harsh as after all, the movie follows the book meticulously, except for a cunning plot twist towards the end that adds some action into the mix. Apparently, in the second half of the novel not much actually happens. Despite this, it often seems as if Summit Entertainment and Condon himself lost the will to carry on slightly. Many of the actors appear to be poking fun at the saga, too, with self-mocking portrayals of the story’s elite. Any deep meaning whatsoever is forfeited thanks to silly dialogue, slow pacing, frankly odd allusions to pedophilia, and, primarily, the overwhelming campiness of the entire thing. In total, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” appeals as a light-hearted comedy, ironic or not, at which, however enjoyable it may be to some, it’s hard not to laugh.
Jenny Rae can be reached at email@example.com.