With few dry eyes left in the room – it’s over. No longer must invisible walls divide us into Teams Edward and Jacob but finally, everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief and feel a communal gratitude that we’ve all shared something utterly absurd but at the same time quite tender and most importantly – a good ride to an honest location.
As a casual (but nonetheless loyal) fan who came to Twilight fairly late in the day, I’ve felt a sympathetic attachment towards the patchy saga. It might be an over the top, ridiculous fantasy story aimed at teenage girls, cheaply mocked, but there is something heartfelt about the epic and its outlandishly presented central ideas. By the end of the film, I was dying for the conclusion to be milked for all it is worth in true Twilight fashion. In the strangest way, I can’t help but care for this world and its characters. Breaking Dawn Part 2 is an admirable conclusion, loyal to itself while enthusiastically rewarding the loyalty of its faithful, producing a couple final hours of pure drama, joy, tears, shocks and just a bit of silliness.
The absurdity doesn’t let up following Part One‘s vampire birth and body horror. Bella (Kristen Stewart) begins her new life as a vampire with the awkwardly named baby Renesmee in arms. The Bella-Edward-Jacob love axis has never seemed quite so bizarre now that Jacob has “imprinted” on baby Renesmee causing the baby to be identified as the soulmate he must defend at all costs. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Renesmee (MacKenzie Foy) seems to be growing at an alarming rate and Bella must tell her father that she’s now different, but can’t tell him why. Tricky conversation. Renesmee is wrongly reported to the Volturi due to suspicions that she is in fact a human infant who had been bitten and transformed into a vampire. The Volturi then they set out to destroy the Cullens, who in turn try to gather vampire clans from across the world in a form of defence against the sinister Italian policemen.
Robert Pattinson broods magnetically and Kristen Stewart makes a convincing new born vampire, still Bella but not quite Bella. The film’s grateful for the change in dynamic. Taylor Lautner’s Jacob has more or less come to terms with his freedom to embrace becoming a hero rather than seeming like a frustrated teen flicking through the Facebook photos of one he can never have. Michael Sheen continues to be magnificent as the Volturi’s chief and seems to be enjoying every second.
This time the inner tension escalates, building towards some climatic moments which will leave even readers of the books shocked. The Saga has often been criticised for being too loyal to Stephenie Meyers’s sacred text and yes, there are a few shocking lines in this installment which are clearly copy and pasted straight from the book which should be no where near the screen. Despite the fact that it wavers from its source considerably in the final act – it’s hugely satisfying, shocking and unpredictable. Without wanting to give anything away, the conclusion is utterly, utterly true to its melodramatic affections, getting the tone spot on and remembering it’s a love story more than it’s about vampires.
It is unlikely to convert any new fans but it’s sweet and charming. Cynics can scourn, but you’ll be unlikely to find something so absurd and so silly which is also so heartwarming, executed well and clearly loves the people who love it back.
Review by David Rank
Breaking Dawn Part 2 is out now in the UK and out on 16th November in the UK. Certificate 12A (UK). Running time 115 mins.
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