Reviewer's Rating: ★★★
Like the film adaptation made from J.K. Rowling’s final book about boy wizard Harry Potter, the concluding movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s concluding book about glamorous vampires and working-class werewolves, The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn, has been split into two feature-length films.
So much happens in Breaking Dawn — Part 1, released in mid-November of last year. Human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) get married. Bella instantly gets pregnant. The perpetual tension between vampires and werewolves escalates to the breaking point.
Breaking Dawn — Part 1 is the fastest, most exciting and bloodiest film in Twlight Saga series. Being the first of two parts, it also has a great hook, a cliffhanger loaded with enough wow factor to keep audiences salivating for months.
Now that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 finally is here, moviegoers can see what they’ve been waiting a year for. Unfortunately, Part 2 simply keeps them waiting.
The two-part movie breakdown for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows resulted in the first Deathly Hallows film being a relentlessly downbeat dirge of a movie. Most of the good stuff ended up in Deathly Hallows — Part 2.
The opposite is true for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Its second half is mostly a movie waiting for a climactic battle scene.
In Breaking Dawn — Part 2, Bella, the vampire bride who dies in childbirth in Part 1, exists after death thanks to husband Edward’s last-second intervention. Rather than lose her forever, he bit Bella, transforming her into an immortal vampire.
Bella and her quickly growing baby daughter, Renesmee, are the new additions to the Cullen family of friendly vampires. Led by the benevolent Carlisle, this young, handsome, pretty, kindly clan of bloodsuckers defy the evil depictions of vampires that terrorized movie theaters for so many decades.
The bland vampires in Breaking Dawn — Part 2 are sanitized and mainstreamed to point of being toothless. They benignly dwell in a beautifully modern home in a lovely Pacific Northwest forest. It’s enough to make an old-school horror fan long for Bela Lugosi’s Dracula smiling in his crumbling Transylvanian castle like the spider who caught the fly or Willem Dafoe’s cave-dwelling old monster in Shadow of the Vampire.
The Cullens, like any human family with a new baby in the house, fawn and coo endlessly over Renesmee. The Cullens actually have two newborns in their midst. Bella, a young adult when she died, is, in her post-human life, a newborn vampire. When the Cullens aren’t marveling over Renesmee, they’re expressing delight about Bella’s growing and already impressive powers.
And there’s even more love in the house. Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), the hunky young werewolf who’d been Edward’s rival for Bella’s affection, has become a tame member of the family.
Breaking Dawn — Part 2 marks time with its many niceties until a misunderstanding involving the innocent Renesmee puts the Cullens in mortal danger. The Cullen coven lands in the sights of the powerful and genuinely wicked Volturi coven of vampires. Aro (Michael Sheen), the remarkably pale-faced leader of the Volturi, is at his weirdest in this Twilight finale.
After all that clingy vampire family love, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 resurrects itself through an epic battle between the Cullen coven and out-for-vampire-blood Volturi coven. Part 1 is the best movie in the Twilight films, but the series’ greatest battle rages in Part 2. The battle, plus a little storytelling sleight of hand, makes for a satisfying Twilight Saga conclusion.
On a local note, the snowy, effects-packed battle scene was filmed inside the Southern University Agriculture Center Livestock Arena in Baton Rouge. Both parts of Breaking Dawn were filmed primarily in and around Baton Rouge and New Orleans, as well as in Vancouver and Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.