The final installment of one of the most popular young-adult romances of all time, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” begins right where “Part 1” ended — with Bella (Kristin Stewart, “Snow White and the Huntsman”) having just completed her transformation from human to vampire. Finally, she and Edward (Robert Pattinson, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) can get it on as equals — and do so, almost immediately.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
At Quality 16 and Rave
With the peaceful dissolution of the love triangle among Bella, Edward and Jacob (Taylor Lautner, “Abduction”) thanks to Jacob having imprinted on Bella and Edward’s daughter Renesmée (Mackenzie Foy, “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”), all ongoing conflicts are resolved and the storyline transitions into a place only a romance drama would dare go — epilogue-level complacency with the status quo for a chunk of the first half of the film to allow for a luxuriously digressive love-fest.
This uniform contentment in the Cullen family is instantly dashed when Alice (Ashley Greene, “Skateland”) sees a vision of the Volturi, the vampire royalty, attacking the Cullen home. The Cullens discover that there has been a miscommunication: The Volturi believe that Renesmée is a full vampire child — an enormous liability for vampire kind — incurring an incontestable death sentence upon its creators and defenders. The Cullens must find a way to make the Volturi listen and relent, or else enter a battle they can’t hope to win. Fear for our perfectly coupled-out family of lovers is renewed and redoubled by the kingpin conflict of the series: how to avert war with the invincible Volturi.
The majority of the movie is then concerned with the gathering of witnesses, friends of the Cullen family from all around the world, to compel the Volturi to pause their judgment and permit the Cullens an appeal.
The Cullens assemble a diverse cast of 27 vampires. The fresh acting talent injects a breath of life into what had been an inert tableau of high-handed courtship and wooden apprehension. Lee Pace, who plays the gruff witness Garrett, and the creepy Romanian witnesses, played by Guri Weinberg and Noel Fisher, present fresh angles on the mysterious vampire persona we had come to associate with the more subdued and emotively ungenerous Stewart. The fresh blood on set shows the audience there are better ways to play a vampire.
The “Twilight” movies have turned Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner into nearly household names, but much like with “The Hunger Games” or “Harry Potter,” this was a case of the franchise lifting the actors, not the actors lifting the franchise. Each was acceptable in his or her part, the lines were inevitably cheesy and adequately delivered. The manner in which Renesmée is treated is believable and adorable (No one could keep a scene starring Foy from being adorable). And all the relationship dynamics are sorted satisfactorily.
The sex scenes were as good as PG-13 can get — which isn’t saying much — but it’s nice to see a film aimed at young adults portray a married couple as having a passionate sex life (albeit a married vampire couple, but it’s still a step up). Meanwhile, the gooey expressions of love between Stewart and Pattinson made par, but only just. The real treats of this movie are the unexpected ones — much of this film was directed by expectation, and expectation does not make an exciting director.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” fulfills its promises. If you have no love for the characters, this retelling will not force attachment on you, but the film is sweet in all facets. It revels in lovely, winter-oriented cinematography, and there are no outstanding flaws for the legions of fans and haters to pounce on.
“Breaking Dawn,” in full commitment to its teen-romance roots, retains the appealing quality of making the audience feel as though they are spectating from the inside of a small, intimate world — as though the whole of Bella’s and Edward’s romance were an inside joke, and the audience is in on it. That feeling of intimacy, however plastic, however commercialized, is still there for the people who want it to be, and that seals the deal for this franchise. Job well done — haters gonna hate.