Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – review

Director: Bill Condon

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

So, the Twilight Saga of films comes to an end and you know what, I didn’t hate this one – at least I liked it more than some in the series. That’s not to say that the film isn’t fatally flawed, it is, but up to a point I could see why fans of the series might like this one. I’ll walk you through that point with a really big spoiler but I figure either you have already seen the film or you will forever avoid its sparkly celluloid presence.

Part of the fatal flaw came in the pacing, very much like Breaking Dawn part 1. You see they could have cut the detritus from this film and the former and made one well-paced movie. But then they wouldn’t have been able to scam two films worth of money out of the fans.

The film starts where the last left off, with Bella (Kristen Stewart, Snow White and the Huntsman) as a new-born vampire. She wants to see her baby, Renesmee (later in the film played by Mackenzie Foy), but Edward (Robert Pattinson) wants her to quench her thirst first (a thirst that she apparently doesn’t feel until he points it out). So off they go into the woods and run around for a bit as she tries out her vampire speed etc.

She is about to leap on a deer when she detects a climber, who conveniently grazes his knee. And she’s off like a bat out of Hell, Edward chasing after her. She’s almost up the cliff face when Edward reaches her and she pulls herself from the brink, returns to the deer and takes out a mountain lion that was hunting it. Edward is impressed with her monumental control. They head back to see the baby.

Which is CGI. What the Hell? They couldn’t cast a baby for five minutes screen time? It looks CGI… not that the CGI is bad as such but it is just not human, moves all wrong and is very, very creepy. This is the nearest the Twilight Saga gets to real horror and it was just a bad effect choice. Anyway, Bella discovers that Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has bonded with the baby and is unhappy, but that passes quickly enough. They are going to tell her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), that she has died and leave the area so Jacob then reveals his wolf secret to Charlie and tells him that Bella is back…

evil little bugger
So Irina (Maggie Grace) comes to visit the Cullens and sees Renesmee. Believing her to be an immortal child, rather than a fast growing, now approximately seven year old, hybrid (as a hybrid is she technically a dhampir, I guess she is) she goes to the Volturi and reports the Cullen’s crime. Alice (Ashley Greene) has a vision of the Volturi coming to kill them all (and legs it but she is on a mission of her own really) and Bella is told of vampire children who remained at their mental age when turned and were wiped out as a risk to the vampire secret by the Volturi. The Cullens search for witnesses to attest to the fact that they have broken no laws and, with more and more vampires there, more of Jacob’s tribe transform into wolves.

killing Aro
OK… spoiler. The film dragged along a bit and could have done with less of the beginning and more exploring of the other vampires. However the witnesses (now convinced to fight) and the wolves prepare to battle the Venturi, Alice returns (with another hybrid) and offers Aro (Michael Sheen, Underworld & Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) a view of what she found. All Hell breaks out and a battle occurs. Now this wasn't in the book but the film gains some much needed momentum and, whilst it isn’t bloody, it is fun. It goes on until Bella and Edward kill Aro.

Michael Sheen, coming to a panto soon
And it is all a vision and nothing has happened and it is the most crass of filmic techniques, akin to the old false awakening scene that plagues films or Bobby Ewing in the shower. By the way, the distinction between werewolves and shapeshifters isn’t mentioned and so, in the film, I guess the wolves are still werewolves (they aren’t in the books). The film itself isn’t as bad as some in the series but pulls the rug from under its own feet with the false ending - for me they should have parted with the book and had the battle for real, dead characters and all. Alternatively they could have ended without the battle at all (as it was only there to provide a climax, albeit a faked orgasm rather than the real deal) and ended on a damp squib.

There was a comment needed to be made over an Eastern European accent that sounds Scottish at times and Pattinson and Stewart have all the chemistry of a wet lettuce – she is as miserable as always. Michael Sheen is in full on Pantomime mode, I await his presence in a Christmas production as the dame – this role would be perfect practice. The rest of the acting is how you would expect given the rest of the series and the fact that actors who have actually offered good performances during the series are marginalised in the subsequent movies. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Unknown said...

The Baby is supposed to look abnormal and be capable of facial features a real Baby couldn't do. CGI was in fact the only way to go.

Alex said...

So it's utterly, completly, finally over? No more damn sequels to this thing?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Unknown: I'm sure that'll have been what the filmmakers said but sorry, I don't buy it, it looked cgi, creepy and broke disbelief.

Such could have been achieved by having a real baby and manipulating the features with a subtle cgi.

Plus Kirsten Stewart is only capable of one facial impression and so, following the same logic, shouldn't they have CGI'd her?

Alex: Yes, over, ish, unless they make The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - same universe but none of the core actors should be in it. That said, Summit might decide to make films that aren't book based.

Unknown said...

Stewart does plenty of facial expressions. I'm really tired of that meme.

I don't like CGI bashing in general that seem to be all over the Internet. Fact is this Baby had as a new born be capable of comprehending things around her a normal baby isn't.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Honestly, I don't want to get into an argument but it isn't just a meme, as far as I am concerned - having watched all the twilight films and snow white, it is a fairly accurate descriptor of her acting ability. There is no noticeable expression beyond pained.

As for the baby we'll have to agree to disagree. It isn't cgi bashing, the baby did not look real because it was acting in an unreal way and was too hyper-real for want of a better phrase. The very thing you say it needed to do was the very thing that made it creepy and unreal. So, from that perspective, the cgi was successful.

However I maintain an actual baby would have been better from a visual perspective and decent acting from the adults could have sold an awareness in the child where none existed by having their acting chops draw us unto the fantasy, that aside cgi could have been used subtly to change the expressions and make the baby seem more aware without losing realism.