Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.
Release Date: November 16th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Bill Condon Actors: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke
icking up almost immediately after the events of “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) must brave raising their newborn child Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) in a world where vampire children are forbidden. When Irina (Maggie Grace) spies close friend and werewolf guardian Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) out for a snowy stroll with the rapidly growing Renesmee, she assumes the young girl was turned into a vampire as opposed to being born – which in vampire lore, represents an unignorable dilemma from permanent immaturity, potentially destructive tantrums, and general untrustworthiness. Betraying this inaccurate vision to the inflexible Volturi leader Aro (Michael Sheen), she incites a war between the Cullens and their sympathizers and Aro’s army of skillful followers.
There’s something exhilarating about the “Twilight Saga” finally coming to a close. The repetitious nature of witnessing Lautner dramatically remove his shirt, seeing scantily clad forest people metamorphosing into oversized werewolves that appear entirely too cuddly despite gritted canines, and looking at Stewart’s blank face trying desperately to emote, has equated to a tiresome journey. The numerous problems plaguing the series haven’t been solved, once again demonstrating the excruciating preposterousness of vampire strength and speed (and now more conspicuously the feeding on wild game), unconvincing computer graphics (isn’t this franchise much too lucrative to ignore possibilities outside of Rodeo FX and Hydraulx?), and an overabundance of comic relief.
The pervasive humor in “Breaking Dawn Part 2” is perhaps the greatest scourge of the production. The first half-hour is so blanketed by one-liner riffs that it’s difficult to understand the intent. These constant little jokes don’t progress the story and only serve to pollute the tone, which gravely requires seriousness to market sense for the wildly fanciful, fairy-tale-like characters. Imprinting, the love triangle, a very PG-13 sex scene, Bella arm-wrestling to prove her fortitude – all of these and more are purely comedic (while aspiring to be essential) and further detract from the severity of quenching bloodlust, rearing an enigmatic child, and engineering an army for an epic closing battle.
The casting of Michael Sheen is easily the most garish selection, bestowing upon the goofy role expressions, dialogue, and cackles that garner awkward laughs. Later, the elaboration of special powers beyond merely being immortal bloodsuckers (the mastery of electricity, elemental distortion, mind control, etc.) is presented as pathetically derivative of X-Men mutants. The lengths the vampires will go to conceal their vampirism has apparently made it necessary to exploit flashier abilities, akin to superheroes. Jacob even comments of Bella’s “Jedi training.”
Admittedly, it’s amusing to see the much-awaited culmination of the Volturi’s mercilessness and the Cullen’s protective righteousness. The highly anticipated, skull-ripping campaign isn’t without unexpected and momentous casualties. An unfortunate twist surrounds this momentary enthusiasm and welcome realization of acerbity and violence, however, revealing a method of misdirection tantamount to storytelling treason – which will unavoidably displease the casual or uneducated viewer (namely those not familiar with the book, should they exist in crowds for this release). At least Bella’s narration quickens the overly simplistic plot, resulting in a finale for the theatrical phenomenon clocking in at less than two hours.
– Mike Massie