Review - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2


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The saga comes to a fitting end with the best entry yet
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012)
Bill Condon
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
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As Bella (Kristen Stewart) adjusts to her life as a vampire and the mother of the half human Renesmee, the leading vampire clan threatens the safety of her new found family.

Based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight has dominated the box office since it debuted in 2008. Five films later, it’s time for the finale of the multibillion dollar franchise. Once more directed by Oscar-winner Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters), Breaking Dawn – Part 2is the pretty darn dramatic conclusion to the supernatural story.

Condon did good work with Breaking Dawn Part 1, or at least the best he could with a story which essentially revolved around a wedding and an agonising pregnancy. He improves things still further for the concurrently shot sequel, bringing out some intentional humour and finally giving us some characters with a little depth to their roles and even pulling some better performances from the cast.

It’s the most fast paced entry yet, spurred on by some training montages for Bella’s new powers and a globe-trotting quest for allies in the fight against the evil Volturi. There’s action, drama and even some surprisingly steamy stuff, a sign of the increased maturity of the series.

The cast aren’t the most electrifying performers but Stewart gives a better account of herself now that she’s finally finished moping around after Edward and even seems to be enjoying her more active role. Pattinson is also a little less drippy though gets somewhat sidelined in these proceedings.

The supporting players mainly do what they can to be noticed in the glut of new characters. Billy Burke and a scenery-chewing Michael Sheen get the most laughs (the latter’s OTT characterisation is a welcome contrast) and the periphery is peopled by capable performers like Joe Anderson and Lee Pace who we wish had more screen time. Just don’t get us started on the Irish vampires – who show up ginger haired, spouting talk of rebellion and sporting a Tam o’ Shanter and a brogue.

There’s a lot going on in Breaking Dawn Part 2, which means fans of the book might find some significant gaps. The critical character of Renesmee for example makes a big impression in the books but barely gets a look in here, with her power kept particularly vague. Our connection with her is made all the more difficult as she grows so fast, a transition realised on film by the use of a CG crafted baby who tends to look more creepy than convincing.

The CG in general is of appallingly low quality, especially in those scenes at the start of the film. The glut of characters and powers is also problematic and the zippy pace means those not familiar with the books might be left behind by some of the details. Die hard fans may also feel short changed by a diversion from the source material in the final act but we found it a clever way to add some extra drama to proceedings, drawing some gasps from the assembled crowd at our screening.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is undoubtedly the best entry in the series to date, with a fast paced, event filled plot, some memorable performances and a willingness to lean on humour instead of mawkish drama. Twi-hards should delight at their final adaptation (particularly the blatant fan service of the end titles) and their companions might find themselves surprisingly entertained. It’s just a shame it took them five films to get it right.

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Read our interview with star Myanna Buring.

7 Stars
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