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Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

By Bob Garver

Previously, in the “Twilight” series…

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a human, married Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the vampire love of her life. The marriage went through despite objections from Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Bella’s spurned werewolf admirer. After a very scary pregnancy, Bella had a half-vampire baby. Edward and Jacob both showed dedication to Bella and the baby, eventually deciding to call a truce in the centuries-long feud between vampires and werewolves.

“Breaking Dawn – Part 2” ends the “Twilight” series on a dull note. The film sees Bella and Edward living happily together raising their daughter. Bella has since become a full-fledged vampire, and she takes to her new species with ease. The series has always loved its prolonged scenes of Bella and Edward in love with each other, usually with some vampiric twist. The final film continues the tradition, but the lovey-dovey scenes seem like old hat at this point. The same can be said of the camera’s many lovingly long shots of Pattinson and Lautner. We get it, they’re heartthrobs. The closest the film comes to finding an original way for them to be sexy is a scene where Jacob exposes a secret along with a good deal of his body. And the scene hardly counts because it is played for laughs.

Of course, there’s always some obstacle standing in the way of the couple’s happiness. This time it’s the Volturi, vampire overlords who have a bone to pick with Bella and Edward over their daughter. The Volturi are undoubtedly threatening, but never quite evil. They have a tendency to act like villains (especially their leader played by Michael Sheen, appropriately chewing the scenery like he has vampire fangs), but really they are little more than misinformed peacekeepers. Come to think of it, the werewolf leaders in “Breaking Dawn Part 1” played a similar role. This series hasn’t had a proper villain since Bryce Dallas Howard in 2010’s “Eclipse”.

Bella and company agree that a violent confrontation with the Volturi is looming, so they gather up as many fellow vampires as they can to form a counterattack. A host of new characters are introduced in rapid succession, too rapid for us to form any sort of connection to them. I got the impression that we are only meeting these characters now because the studio wants to spin them off into ill-advised side projects that carry the lucrative “Twilight” logo despite a threadbare connection to the series. I see similar spinoff opportunities for Jacob and a Volturi member played by Dakota Fanning.

Many viewers are quick to sing the praises of the film’s climactic action sequence. It’s hard to tell what runs higher during these scenes – the emotions of the body count. I heard a lot of screaming in my theater during this sequence. First there was a lot of suspenseful screaming, then it was angry screaming, then it was vindicated screaming and finally it was happy screaming. The sequence is spectacular if you’re a fan of screaming in theaters and spectacularly unproductive if you’re a fan of plot twists that make sense. I’m a fan of both, so I’ll call it a draw. Ultimately the sequence merely proves just how desperate the film is to have something exciting happen when clearly nothing is meant to happen.

The “Twilight” series had a good run, but perhaps five films is one too many. There’s only so much enjoyment one can get out of good-looking vampires and werewolves and there’s only so much enjoyment I can get out of watching people swoon over good-looking vampires and werewolves. Now there’s nothing left to do but let the franchise slowly fade away from theaters and let Stewart and Pattinson hopefully much more quickly fade away from the tabloids.

One and a Half Stars out of Five.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity. Its running time is 115 minutes.

Contact Bob Garver at rrg251@nyu.edu.