Overflowing with passion, romance and shocking twists, the final installment of the Twilight Saga does everything in its power to leave viewers satisfied.
In “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” director Bill Condon skillfully reintroduces the storyline and takes the necessary time to do so. While in the past four movies viewers are immediately immersed into the fantasy world of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), this time the audience is greeted with a lengthy introduction of close-up shots of blood swirling, ice crystals forming and aerial shots of the Pacific Northwest pines. The sequence may make loyal fans antsy for the actual story to begin, but it serves as an important refresher of the fantastical nature of the film as the swirls of blood enter Bella’s pupils.
Picking up from “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” Condon beautifully illustrates the final stages of the internal transformation Bella goes through after her almost fatal childbirth. Totally transformed and bloodthirsty, Bella wakes up completely revamped. Her look, created by costume designer Michael Wilkinson, heightens her maturity and perfectly signifies her new persona.
While racing Edward through the woods, it’s evident that the transformation has done wonders to Bella’s character. Before, she was presented as a fragile girl who needed Edward to protect her from injury and outside dangers. Now, she is gracefully dodging fallen branches, all while looking drop-dead gorgeous. Stewart seemingly grew into her character’s body, embracing the new, bad-ass vampire figure Bella claims she was born to be.
The new addition to the Cullen clan, Bella and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), lifted the typically heavy mood of the saga. However, it is difficult to enjoy the presence of the bundle of joy because for most of the movie her face isn’t her own. To demonstrate the rapid growth-rate of the half-vampire, half-human girl, CGI effects are used until a few weeks after her birth — showing her as the human equivalent of a 6 year old. Though at times the effects seem lifelike, it is hard to shake the strange, unnatural quality of her facial expressions and movements.
Following the storyline of the novel closely, the film effortlessly presents one of the most shocking twists in the entire saga. Provoked by a false allegation that Renesmee is an Immortal Child, a child vampire and a threat to the vampire population, the Volturi — vampire governors who are based in Italy — set out to confront the Cullens and punish them for their professed crime.
Upon their meeting in a snowy clearing, vampire allies from all over the world and the nearby werewolf pack band together, prepared to battle the robed rulers. Aro (Michael Sheen), a Volturi leader, dominates these scenes with his eerie, blood-red stare and sinister chuckle. Also within this sequence lies a major twist that may leave viewers with their mouths gaping open. While it comes to a peaceful resolution, the immediate reaction is horrifying — especially to those who are expecting a traditional plotline.
With Bella’s lullaby playing softly in the background, the movie closes with a tribute to every actor who appeared in the saga, appearing in chronological order leading to the main characters. The pictorial credit roll ends the same way the book does — with the last word of the novel.
Dripping with intensity and pulsing with fervor, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” is a must see. A fantastic salute to the ending of a cultural phenomenon, the film takes an ongoing obsession and immortalizes it — again.
Overall rating: 3 ½ stars
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” marks the end of the popular “Twilight” franchise.