Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
At long last the end just might be in sight. For those of use reared on the creature features that spanned movies from the thirties to the seventies the age of romanticizing monsters may have passed its peak. Traditionally vampires and werewolves were creatures of the night, heinous, blood thirsty monstrosities that if you encountered them in a dark night would take your life with no remorse. They were never intended to be the recipients of the romantic fantasies of teenage girls. As my daughter noted; it is psychologically wrong for a tween girl to decide between necrophilia or beastly. With the Blu-ray and DVD release of bullet ‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2’ the end of this trend might be near. The author of the original novels, Stephenie Meyer, has finished with the exploits of ‘Team Edward’ and ‘Team Jacob’ moving on to the potentially richer pastures of ‘The Host’. Following precedent set by the final ‘Harry Potter’ novel splitting it into a two part film, the second part of ‘Breaking Dawn’ is now available for home theater ownership. It is better conceptually and in its construction than the first part; largely because it was intended to wrap up other loose ends not bait the audience with the capstone of the epic that marred the first part. Although I freely admit this trend of romantic monsters is contrary to my upbringing in the horror genre it does have a strong, faithful audience, the theatrical release of ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ reported raked in over $800 million in just over one hundred days. Between their allowances and after school job the target audience remains one of the most fiscally powerful demographics in the entertainment industry. This placed the movie among the most financially successful films of all time and the box office leader of the franchise. With those statements out of the way, it is now time to examine the cinematic value of this particular offering. Once again it dies not rise to the level of a great film but it does hold together sufficiently as a closing film in a highly successful and lucrative franchise. Like the Harry Potter and Middle Earth sagas the one shining result of Twilight is it did encourage young people to read; always a rewarding accomplishment.
After the exciting courtship of human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart ) and her vampire beau, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), culminated in the long awaited nuptials that magical night little girls dreams of occurred when her husband murders her and transforms her into one of the undead. The union has already produced a child, Renesmee but it had been decided to postpone Bella’s transformation so she could carry the child as a mortal. Unexpectedly the child imprinted on a close werewolf friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), an unprecedented and potentially dangerous paradigm shift for the supernatural world. The Cullen Coven wants to take Bella’s transformation and the associated incapacitation as a ruse to move away telling Bella’s father, Charlie (Billy Burke) she didn’t survive. Jacob, cannot bear to be separated from the infant due to his werewolf bonding tells Charlie the truth. Deception is standard for all monsters and is one of the few tropes to survive the romantic migration of the genre.
Paying for infant actors is expensive and presents cumbersome issues of legalities so thankfully the thematic concepts inherent in the premise permits a plot point convenience of rapid aging propelling rapidly out of the tedious diaper stage. Both Bella and her daughter begin to manifest their vampire nature including the special ability that vampires acquire. For Bella she can weave a shield against the mental powers of others while young Nessie can transmit thoughts through physical contact. Her aunt Alice (Ashley Greene) has the power of promotion which gives her a warning; the powerful controlling faction of vampires, the Volturi and Inna , a member of the Denali coven are hot on their trail. Inna mistaken Nessie as an immortal child, an abomination among vampires; one turned while an infant, uncontrollable and beyond instruction. The Volturi, an old school vampire governing council is composed of some of the oldest and most powerful of their kind. For example Jane (Dakota Fanning), who can mentally induce immense pain in her victims; is inflicting all the anguish and torment of Tomás de Torquemada in the package of a very pretty, petite young woman. Since there is no physical damage the pain can be continued indefinitely.
The film does deliver what the diehard fans have been clamoring for since the beginning of the series; a string of resolutions to the plethora of loose ends that Ms Myer sprinkled throughout the entire epic story. Of course the ‘Team Jacob’ and ‘Team Edward camps has to reconcile with Bella’s choice a while ago and accept the avuncular role that the perennially shirtless lycanthrope would eventually develop. What the fans of the series, especially those most invested with the film versions want most are the incredible special effects. In that regard you will not be disappointed. The penultimate film was geared more towards the less visual foundation building required to lay the ground work for what transpires here. The one undeniable strength of this film and the entire franchise is with Meyer’s talent for crafting various fractions dividing her collection of characters. Just as an aside this literary device was well deployed in ‘The Host’ and does appear to be one of the author’s stylistic strengths. The Cullens, the werewolf pack, the numerous other vampire covens and the Volturi each are acting to further their own agendas. To achieve these goals a Machiavellian undercurrent of alliances and animosities wax and wane throughout the story keeping the story as fresh and focused as possible. Naturally with this type of foundation battle lines are inevitably drawn and there is an expectation for a climatic grand battle. This was nicely achieved with an almost medieval feel to the culminating charge of two opposing camps across a field to clash to the death, a relative term consider the undead status of most of the combatants. Check You-Tube for a hilarious out take were a full on dance contest breaks out.
The film is not perfect but as culmination movies goes it does what it set out to accomplish and provides a fitting end to s well beloved saga. Even if you were not a big fan of the Twilight phenomenon the movie holds together sufficiently to be entertaining as an action adventure flick.