The conclusion to the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, did not disappoint. This is likely because the last four movies in the series set a standard for quality that had no room to go any lower.
As a reformed “twi-hard” fan, having pored over all of Stephanie Meyer's books and seen all of the movies, I could definitely discern a sense of growth between the first Twilight movie and Breaking Dawn - Part 2. This final movie, however, solidified the blood-curdling idea that this oversexed, underdeveloped series of films has redefined its associated books.
“After 18 years of being utterly ordinary, I finally found that I could shine. I was born to be a vampire,” Kristen Stewart's whiny and scowling personification of Bella Swan proclaims in the movie's trailer.
The film begins as Swan wakes from the vampiric transformation that she has been begging for since the series began. After a brief preview of Swan's new powers and some halfhearted scenes between Swan and her newborn daughter Renesmee, the plot erupts with a confrontation.
The hilariously creepy vampire mafia, the Volturi, learns of Renesmee's existence and, assuming her to be an illegal and recklessly destructive “immortal child,” sets out to kill the entire Cullen clan. The plot revolves around Swan and Edward Cullen, her vampire husband, and their desperate quest to save themselves and their half-human, half-vampire child from death.
Stewart, Robert Pattinson, who plays Cullen and Taylor Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob Black, present glamorized portrayals of the saga's love triangle that are unsurprisingly lacking in passion. It's a bit difficult to blame the actors, though, as the script is littered with clichés and thoughtless profusions of love.
The team of Volturi villains displays slightly more interesting acting, particularly the group's leader, Aro, played by Michael Sheen. Aro is a unique villain with the power to read minds by touching hands with another person. Sheen brought forth the creepiest qualities of his character and was the only truly surprising actor of the bunch.
The bright and overwhelmingly beautiful shots characteristic of the Twilight saga are present more than ever in Breaking Dawn - Part 2. Brilliant shots of Washington state trees, lavishly decorated rooms and expensive clothing are common in these films. Though these elements make for a beautiful movie, overemphasis on these cinematic effects often takes away from the already bare-bones storyline. It's because of this that splitting the Breaking Dawn novel into two parts seems unnecessary. The plot is short and hardly supports itself after director Bill Condon's choice to eliminate many of the book's more complicated subplots.
While many of the effects and transitions were smoother than in the previous Twilight movies, some were a bit kitschy and distracting. Dwelling on baby Renesmee's blatantly computer-generated animated face, for example, consumed my attention for the entire first half of the movie.
The movie concludes with added suspense and intrigue after the addition of an unexpected twist not included in the book. At the same time, the surprisingly violent twist leaves an unsatisfying twinge behind.
Overall, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 takes an angle unique to recent mainstream movies that target teenagers - Instead of encouraging strength, intelligence or diligence like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, it emphasizes Swan's subjugation and dependence on her husband. The personal lives and fame of the main actors interferes with the storyline, which takes any and every opportunity to capitalize on a shirtless Lautner or a lusting Stewart and Pattinson.
If you have a thing for decapitated heads, overwhelming idealization or Lautner's sculpted abs, seeing Breaking Dawn - Part 2 might be worth it. If you don't, it still might be worth a good laugh.