- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Summit Entertainment
Reviewed by David Medsker
utting “The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two” into perspective is tricky. On its own, it shares many of the same unflattering qualities that undid every other “Twilight” movie – worse, it doesn’t feature Anna Kendrick, the series’ sole saving grace – but compared to its predecessor, “Breaking Dawn, Part One,” it’s a vast improvement. It’s still not very good, though; indeed, the series as a whole has steadily lowered the level of expectations to the point where ‘less bad’ has become ‘good,’ which is surely what Bill Hicks meant when he warned that pop culture icons were in fact demons set loose on the earth to lower the standards.
She died in horrific fashion giving birth to her half-human, half-vampire daughter Renesmee, but thanks to her husband Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) poisoning her blood with his vampire-ness, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) manages to walk away from the event as a new member of the undead, even though she had a broken spine just hours before. When someone from another clan sees the rapidly-aging Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) playing in a field with Bella, she informs the Volturi (the Vatican of vampires) that there is an immortal child, which is expressly forbidden. The Volturi plan a trip to the Cullens’ stomping ground in order to bring the criminals to justice, but luckily for the Cullens, their resident clairvoyant Alice (Ashley Greene) foresees the encounter, which gives the Cullens a chance to clear their name, gather witnesses to Renesmee’s glory, and potentially prepare for battle.
Yep, this entire plot revolves around what a vampire saw from a half mile away, without any context, but still feeling confident enough in her absence of facts to inform the authorities, as it were. Perhaps author Stephenie Meyer was trying to make this a metaphor for gossiping, and how little good comes from it. If so, that’s commendable, but making a movie plot from it is ridiculous. This whole misunderstanding could have been resolved in five seconds if the witness Irina (Maggie Grace) had bothered to ask Bella a single question before ratting her out. That actually would have made for a funny scene, though it would have ended the movie at the 20-minute mark.
Irina: Is this an immortal child?
Bella: No, she’s my half-and-half daughter. Edward turned me during the delivery in order to save me.
Irina: Ah, got it. Mmmm, that blood of hers smells good.
Bella: Bitch, I will end you. Remember, newborn vampire, super-strong.
Irina: We’re good. Later. [Roll credits]
Instead, they take the ‘Idiot Plot’ approach, just like they did in the first installment of “Breaking Dawn,” and devise a setup that only works if everyone involved is an idiot. Worse, Irina was someone who was supposedly an ally of the Cullens. If the supposed guilty party were friends of yours, wouldn’t you try to find answers to your questions before potentially giving them the death penalty? There is nothing about the plot that makes any sense, and we haven’t even discussed the little things, like Bella running at cheetah speed through a dense forest with her head turned to the side, yet she never hits a tree. She would totally have hit a tree in the real world, and it’s impossible to watch the scene without having that thought.
Pattinson seems to get how silly it all is, because he sleepwalks through the entire movie, though in a passive, forgiving way. Lautner gets it as well, as he wears a knowing smirk during his big clothing-optional scene. Stewart, on the other hand, is still the series’ albatross. She is more wooden than ever, a point only made worse considering that she has to deal with more emotional baggage than ever, yet she makes one face through the entire film.
Despite all of this, though, “Breaking Dawn, Part Two” is still better than the last two installments, for two reasons. For one, it ends on a surprisingly high note, injecting a much-needed and cleverly plotted dose of adrenaline as a distraction to all of the idiocy that preceded it. More importantly, the movie is stripped of the overblown teen love melodrama that smothered the earlier installments. The tone is much lighter and more pleasant this time around, and it is most welcome.
It’s all still pretty worthless, though. The three leads endured a lifetime’s worth of drama, yet didn’t learn a single lesson or mature as a result of it. The fact that Bella’s father Charlie (Billy Burke) will never see his daughter again is treated with a laugh and a wink, when he will surely be devastated by the loss. The series as a whole clearly struck an emotional chord with its fans, but from a sheer plotting standpoint, they were pedestrian at best, and the two “Breaking Dawn” movies were just lazy. Oh, well – at least it’s over now.