Movie review: Breaking Dawn Part Two

20121120-233125.jpgAnd so, after 5 films the Twilight saga concludes in the same vein as the rest of the films in the series; humourless, badly acted and for the most part plain dull. Of course that won’t matter to Twi-hards, but as you can probably tell I’m not one of them. I don’t hate the franchise as many others do, but I’m objective enough to hopefully critique the film properly.

Little bit of backstory first of all, Bella has married Edward, given birth to a daughter and was turned into a vampire by her husband at the end of Part One. Part Two is all about the child, whom the big bad vampires (the Volturi) believe is an immortal child doomed to cause the destruction of the vampire race, and set out to kill her. The good vampires along with their werewolf friends are understandably not going to agree to that, and need to recruit an army to talk them out of it/fight against them.

And that’s basically what most of the first half of the film is about; recruiting people as witnesses to the fact that Bella’s daughter, Renesmee, is not an immortal child and then rallying them to their cause. There’s a whole lot of talking, and then some more talking, and then a little bit more talking. That doesn’t bother me; the problem is everyone is very serious ALL THE TIME. There’s nothing in the film approaching even a little bit of levity. Granted, their situation is dire but when the whole film is as humourless as it is, it becomes really depressing as a result. That sort of sums up the whole franchise for me; it takes itself far too seriously, when it should at least be allowed to have a little fun at times. But no, everything is super serious, although you wouldn’t know it from the performances of the three leads.

For this supposed epic love story/fight for survival no one ever seems to get very animated about it. No-one’s emotional dial ever goes more than halfway; Kristen Stewart still apparently adheres to Joey Tribbiani’s smell-the-fart school of acting, R-Pattz (I hate myself for typing that) still looks and acts like some kind of perma-stoned Lurch from The Addams Family, and Taylor Launter is still terrible but as long as he takes his shirt off often enough it apparently doesn’t matter. In fact the only person with a decent amount of screentime who can act is Michael Sheen as the evil vampire leader, Aro. He hams it up and chews any scenery he can find and is a joy to watch as the campy yet still quite menacing head villain.

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But after all that talking and the International Face Touching Tour 2012 (once you’ve seen it, you’ll understand), we get to the big showdown, which is apparently not in the book and inserted into the movie (in a very clever way, I might add). And if I’m honest, it’s pretty spectacular. A huge sprawling battle between the good guys and the Volturi, in what is possibly the most brutal action sequence I’ve ever seen in a 12A rated film. Heads are ripped off bodies, wolves are killed in horrible ways, superpowers are flying all over the show; it’s pretty hardcore violence that you don’t normally expect to see in this type of film, especially one made primarily for teenage girls. However, as most of the good vampires are people we’ve never seen before, you feel nothing when they meet their end. I felt worse for the awful CGI wolves when they bit the big one.

And then everything wraps itself up in the space of five minutes, with a montage of everything in the series so far, just in case the fans weren’t crying already, and we’re into the credits. No real payoff, just Happily Ever After. The End.

Verdict: With a plot that basically revolves around a massive misunderstanding, with terrible actors spouting terrible lines, and with more lingering shots of people looking pale and moody than every other vampire film put together, the film won’t convert any non-believers to become Twi-hards. For those already converted…BEST FILM EVAR!!!!!!

2 stars

Review by Jonathan Cardwell.

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