Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two

TWILIGHT BREAKING DAWN: PART TWO ***

DIRECTED BY BILL CONDON

STARRING – KIRSTEN STEWART, ROBERT PATTINSON AND TAYLOR LAUTNER

THE Twilight franchise finally bows out, as Bill Condon’s Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2, concludes the franchise, completing what the director started last November, when the first part was released. But as Stephenie Meyers’ franchise bows out, love it or hate it, there’s no denying the impact the series has had upon cinema and popular culture.

I can’t remember a series of films that have received such nasty criticism from cinema goers and critics alike. A franchise targeted young teenage girls,that has been sneered and lambasted by others. While personally I’m not a fan of the Twilight series, I’ve never felt the need to go out of my why to mock fan’s for likening the films.

I’m reminded of Elizabeth Olsen’s character Zibby from Josh Radnor’s indie feature, Liberal Arts. In the middle of a heated argument over the literary merit of the series, the young student tells Radnor’s character Jesse, she reads the novels because ‘they make her feel good.’

Despite being such a lucrative franchise for Summit Entertainment, its bizarre how they’ve handled the series, with four different directors directing the different features. It’s meant that some films have worked better than others and a lack of directorial coherence throughout the series.

I’ve always felt that none of the films have ever managed to bring the shape shifting wolves convincingly to the big screen. It’s surprising that they’ve been so executed so poorly, considering their importance to the story. The substandard CGI means they lack any real physicality onscreen, the same problem can be said about the bizarre CGI infant Renesmee in this feature that just didn’t work.

The film starts just as the last film ended, with Bella’s transformation into a vampire complete, following the birth of her daughter. In a clever twist from the previous films Kirsten Stewart’s character has went from being the weakest character to the strongest. She struggles to comprehend her newly gained powers and controlling her taste for blood.

Her Husband, Edward, played by Robert Pattinson is in awe of his wife’s new ability’s, delighted they can now pursue more physical actives in their relationship. As Edward tells his wife their bed in isn’t for sleeping. But the couple’s carnal delights are cut short when a rapidly growing Renesmee is mistaken for an immortal child.

The mistake leads to the Cullen family facing accusations of perpetrating one of the highest crimes of the Volturi, changing an infant into a vampire. Michael Sheen’s menacing, Aro, the head of the Volturi demands swift action to resolve the matter, by any means possible.

While everyone onscreen seems to be taking the film so seriously, Michael Sheen is having a ball onscreen, treating the material with a pantomime sense of fun that the film needs. It’s a shame he’s not in this feature more than he is.

The Cullen clan are forced to embark on a globetrotting expedition to spread the truth about young Renesmee that she was born not bitten, to other vampires throughout the world. They hope that by doing so, their fellow vampires will so they might stand witness against the Volturi’s accusations.

Both Breaking Dawn parts one and two have probably the most over the top and complex of all Meyer’s novels, with many vampires showcasing Jedi like abilities and the rapidly ageing Renesmee. But for me it’s probably been the most enjoyable. Gone is Bella’s moping and struggling to choose between her two potential suitors, Edward and Taylor Lautner’s shape shifting, Jacob.

In the past I’ve always found Lautner to be the weakest link of the trio, but this time round that’s not the case. No longer attempting to court Bella and his feud with the Cullen’s at an end his character is much more likeable. Jacob’s primary role now is the protector of young Renesmee, seeing himself as her moral guardian. In this concluding chapter Jacob is much more likeable onscreen presence, even providing some of the much needed comic relief.

The film zips through its two hour runtime, without sagging, as it reaches the climax the screenwriters have taken some creative licence with Meyer’s source material. It’s a bold move, which may divide fans, but certainly brings a more cinematic sense to the finale. For me though it did feel too much like the opening moments from a Final Destination movie.

At 12A theirs a rather lot of violence within the feature, considering the criticism that The Hunger Games sparked earlier this year it’s surprising to hear no so little debate about  this feature. The BBFC’s extended classification states:  “Many Vampires are decapitated but there is no sight of any bloodshed. Their heads are severed rapidly, without any detail of either the process of decapitation or the resultant wounds.” I would say that some younger viewers might find some of the sequences a little disturbing and upsetting.

The film closes with a nice nod to the fans, as Bella uses her telepathic abilities to show Edward, her memories of their relationship, recapping sequences from all the previous films. It’s a nice touch for those who have invested several years with the franchise.

While the Twilight series has never been my cup of tea, as a 30 year old male, I’m probably not perceived as the film’s target demographic. Taking the lead from James Cameron’s 1997 feature, Titanic, film producer’s realised that movie franchises could be for teenage girls, who are just as willing to spend their money as geeky fan boys.

With The Hunger Games taking over the baton from Twilight, it’s hard to question the impact the series has left upon modern cinema.

Review By William McClean

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