November 15, 2012
'Breaking Dawn 2' a climax for fans only
By Bruce Kirkland, QMI Agency
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 breaks ground in the storied franchise. It is the best-made of the five movies in the series. It deviates more radically than any other movie from Stephenie Meyer's novels. But it does so only because Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg conjured a new climax to the story that involves a huge battle scene.
Part 2 will also infuriate many viewers. But explaining how and why would be a gigantic spoiler. We'll talk later, after you have seen it.
I suspect most Twihards will love it anyway. Or perhaps even because Part 2 gives readers a surprise they did not get in the four novels. As for the rest of the human population, unless you are curious, Part 2 is irrelevant if you have not seen the other movies. It is absolutely a piece in a puzzle and not something that stands alone.
Part 2 is better-made because everyone has gotten better at what they do. Summit Entertainment has obviously shelled out big bucks to director Bill Condon to refine the necessary special effects. For example, the battle sequence in Part 2, set in a vast wasteland of snow and ice (but shot in a green-screen studio), is extremely effective.
When you look back at the clumsy fight climax of the original Twilight movie in 2008, it is downright laughable. Director Catherine Hardwicke obviously has a minuscule budget for her special effects and the results were almost amateurish. But who really knew that the first Twilight movie could have supported a healthier budget and more elaborate special effects, in advance of its release and mega-hit status?
Meanwhile, the actors have grown in their roles, and some of the roles have grown with the actors. While Robert Pattinson as moody vampire Edward Cullen is pretty much the same throughout, not so Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan. It is her story and there is an arc. The character moves from the despondent teen Stewart was obliged to play in the first three movies to a dynamic character defying death in Part 1 and then re-emerging as a kick-ass vampire mom in Part 2, which begins exactly where Part 1 ends.
I have to say, after being bored with Bella's whining and moping for three movies, and being grossed out with what happens to her in Part 1, it is refreshing to see her emerge as a positive force-of-nature in Part 2. Stewart is up to the task, throwing herself full-bore into the role. Lautner also gets to modulate his performance as werewolf Jacob Black. And Michael Sheen gets to insanely preen with more screen time as the evil vampire Aro, head of the Volturi council. Part 2 overall has more humour, too.
In the end, those who are committed to The Twilight Saga will benefit now. This is a rousing climax to the series. But, if you hated it from the beginning, there is no reason here to change your mind.