Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two
directed by Bill CondonThe fifth film in the Twilight saga opens with some of the artiest and prettiest credits I've seen in a long time. Nothing happens, but those blood-red snowflakes and mountain vistas wouldn't look out of place in an art gallery. The story starts in a similar way, with lots of happy vampire families and soft-focus snogging as Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) settle down to enjoy their new life together. I think you need to have a crush on one or the other of the main actors to appreciate this bit, because it's dull.
Bella is getting used to her new powers and the thirst that comes with them. There are some good-looking action sequences as she runs through the forest, and the first hint of any conflict when she spots a climber and feels like a bite. But this comes to very little and her struggle for self-control barely registers as a plot element, it's so underplayed.
Bella wavers about whether or not she should tell her father Charlie (Billy Burke) she's still alive, since keeping the big secret about vampires is a matter of life and death. But the main crisis centres around Renesmee (played by various actresses including Mackenzie Foy), the half-vampire child cursed with a stupid name. Renesmee has unique powers, and she's growing at an astounding rate that just happens to be convenient for the plot. Her parents fear they won't have long left with her. But other vampires think she's an immortal child, something that's forbidden by their laws. The Volturi vampires won't tolerate such an abomination, and they're coming to kill the child and destroy anyone who stands in their way. So the Cullens have to rally their friends and gather all the witnesses in a attempt to prove Renesmee is harmless.
The Quileute werewolves barely get a look in during this film. They're present, but Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) is the only one who gets to say anything of note. The rather distasteful way he "imprints", which is the way werewolves in this series find their life mates, is rushed through with shamefaced haste. If it weren't an important plot point I think it would have been cut, given the amount of screen time spent dealing with it.
The film moves to its finale on a big, snowy field in the mountains with a certain sense of deja vu. We've seen the same field and the same formation of the good, the bad, and wolfy allies before. However there's a nice twist at the end when it comes to the duplicitous Volturi and Alice Cullen's (Ashley Greene) attempts to change the tragic future she has foreseen.
This film manages to seem both overly compressed and too thinly stretched. The material from the second part of the novel it's based on isn't quite enough to sustain a movie, and Melissa Rosenberg's script doesn't expand on it. This means that for anyone who has missed other films in the series there isn't quite enough explanation of what's going on. I think some of the minor characters' roles have been simplified in comparison to the book, so whilst it's faithful to the text the movie is also too much of a summary of the story. Michael Sheen as the villain Aro chews the ham in a way that would make a mountain lion blush. Then there are the end credits, which go on and on and include characters who aren't even in this movie.
Breaking Dawn Part Two is full of padding, and when it isn't utterly embarrassing it's tooth-achingly sweet. I was glad to leave the cinema, rather than endure any more of its passionless romances or soulless superpower fantasies. The one good thing is that someone seems to have forgotten to buy the glitter, and the vampires don't look so much like they belong between Disco Ball Pony and 70s Drag Queen Barbie on the toy store shelves. However this film is strictly for the most hard-core Twilight fans only.
19th November 2012
Review © Ros Jackson