Joint Review – Warning: Contains Spoilers
I went to the cinema at a slight disadvantage to Laura. Having not seen the previous movie nor having read any the books apart from the first one, my review is based purely on from a movie review point of view.
The fact that I hadn’t seen part 1 should have meant that I was at least a bit lost on what was happening, but due to the coverage and the fact I had swotted up on the previous movie beforehand, I found it pretty easy to follow.
The movie seemed to take a little while to get going, with most of it dedicated to finding allies to help support Bella and Edwards case for Renesmee being a born immortal rather than a made child vampire.
When the final confrontation between the Cullens and the Volturi actually takes place, it’s a violent and dramatic conclusion. However, the twist under minds what could have been an epic conclusion to one of the beloved series in recent times. True, it would have meant the demise of beloved characters, but the impact was amazing.
As Gemma mentions, I went to the cinema being a die-hard lover of the books, I also loved the first three films, but I thought that Breaking Dawn Part 1 was a bit blah (you didn’t miss much Gemma). I actually re-watched it two days before going to the cinema to get myself ready for the grand finale and thought to myself – is that it? I understand why they split the book into two, so much happens in Breaking Dawn they had to, but it ended up being quite diluted on the big screen.
Which meant I was a little nervous that the same thing might have happened in part two. Of course most of the action happens in part two with the Volturi making a play for the Cullens. I was hugely anticipating the grand finale, I couldn’t wait to see the new beautiful and glossy, vampire Bella, Edward and Bella as parents and how each of their new vampire allies were portrayed. For the most part I wasn’t disappointed. The ending was indeed epic, even if they did change it, but more on that later…
Bella wakes up as newly born vampire, super powerful and super charged. The first third of the movie is all about Bella settling into her new life and getting to grips with her abilities. It is all pretty standard stuff. There is nothing really new to this and at times the dialogue is pretty cheesy.
There is a few chuckles and some good banter between Jacob (Lautner) and Edward (Pattison). In fact this movie really does show how far both have come as actors.
An interesting twist is the fact that Jacob has ‘mprinted‘ onto Renesemee. This is kind of like a soul mate type thing with werewolves and we have witnessed its affects with other pack members. Bella isn’t happy about this and almost starts a war between the wolves and the vampires. I can’t remember how, but it Bella and Jacob do reconcile
Just as the family are settling into some sort of version of a happy family. Bella has even managed to reconcile with her father, even though it goes against everything about being a vampire. This is all shattered when one of the Volturi clan members spots Renesmee in the woods. She thinks that she is a turned vampire child, which is against vampire law. Bella catches up with the member, but this is all done off screen. A little time later Alice, Edward’s Vampire sister, has a vision of the Voltori coming to Forks and starting a war.
In an effort to prevent a massacre AND to keep Renesmee safe, the Cullen’s go to the ends of the earth, in an effort to seek out allies for their cause. This seems a herculean task as the Volturi’s are feared throughout the world by all of the other vampires. This part could have been really interesting, at least for me, but the many clans are all introduced very quickly with the briefest of introductions.
A big issue for me was the fact that I just couldn’t get invested in the story. The Volturi just weren’t painted as a big enough threat to me. Yes, we are given glimpses of their brutality and what they are capable of, but they came across as a nuisance more than a real enemy. Maybe it would be better explained in the book.
The movie really did kick into gear with the final confrontation between the two camps. What seemed to start off as a face off, seemed to free-fall into all out war after the Volturi arrest Alice. From here on out, no one is safe. Many familiar faces fall and there was a real sense of disbelief in the cinema. Even I was impressed at the characters who died. It felt like an epic conclusion, but with one swipe of the magic ‘premonition’ we see that this was all a warning to the leader of Volturi. Go down this path and both his lieutenants and he would not survive another day. I sat there, gobsmacked.
I had heard about the fact that the screen writers had changed the ending and with everyone’s reaction to the fight, I thought that this was it. In reality, ‘the twist’ was the fact that the writers decided to show what would have happened if the Volturi had went up against the Cullens, rather than have Edward explain this as he did at the end of the book. (Click here for full article)
Having been a dedicated follower and fan of Joss Wheedon, the death of central characters was nothing new to me. I just thought it was a brave move for the filmmakers to do this with such a beloved book. If they had took that step, it would have changed the tone of the film and made something that was average into something epic, at least for me.
I really enjoyed watching the twists and turns of the plot unfold. But it did occur to me as the film was progressing that this is perhaps the first of the films where I really felt like part of the book was missing. And I think this is because a lot of the build up, the terror of the Volturi coming, the sense of hopelessness and dread take place through Bella’s internal dialogue in the book. While we did have some narration over the film to try and add this into the film, it was missing, even the difficulty Bella had in mastering her shielding ability seemed downplayed. Also a lot of the skills and the friendships they each developed with the new vampires that came to help the Cullens also ended up being edited out.
But I still very much enjoyed the film, the love between Edward and Bella was as beautiful as I envisaged it when reading the books, I love the fact that they got the daughter they both never believed they could have and that Jacob got his own happy ending too.
But now I too must talk about that changed ending! I tell you for a good while I was completely outraged! I actually hissed ‘WHAT?!‘ quite loudly into my cinema companion’s ear in disgust and then proclaimed in every time something happened that hadn’t happened in my book, folding my arms nonchalantly. I actually thought for a minute they were going to kill off some of the book’s beloved characters. I was a very unhappy bunny.
This is where Gemma and I’s opinion on the film varies quite greatly and I wonder if this is because I’m such a lover of the books. If the ‘twist‘ hadn’t occurred and the ending had of stayed how it was, I would have been outraged and you can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn’t be buying the DVD. I HATE it when filmmakers change books dramatically, people love books for the reason! I can see Gemma’s point that it would have made the film more bold and perhaps added an edge that wasn’t there before, but as a huge fan I needed it to be the same as the book.
I can see why the ‘twist’ was added to the film though, it added drama and a real edge-of-seat, jaw-dropping moment to the film, and after it was revealed I did allow myself to smile at the filmmaker’s cleverness. After the shock, I found myself grinning, because I loved that I got the surprise drama, but was still cocooned in the happy ending Meyer had delivered in the original stories.
The only real character development I saw in the movie was with Bella and Jacob. Even then Bella’s was down to the fact that she was now a vampire. I’ve never been a fan of the actress, Kirsten Stewart and this doesn’t change my opinion of her. What I will say is her very limited facial expressions and limited range is well suited to the new Vampire Bella.
Jacob was a bit of a surprise for me. He has gone from this brooding puppy dog, following Bella around hoping she will change her mind and pick him, to a young man who knows what he wants now. He takes the responsibility of being Renesmee’s future mate seriously and even steps up to the plate when Bella reprimands him for “imprinting” on her baby daughter.
Edward came across as a bit of a jerk in this movie, especially with the disagreement between Bella and Jacob. He knew what had been going on when Bella was still going through her transition, but rather than acknowledge that Jacob had been helping out with Renesmee, he stands back, hoping that Bella teaches Jacob a lesson. Edward has his girl, why he felt the need to stoop so low confused me.
Michael Sheen is again vastly underused as the leader of the Volturi. Given half a chance, Sheen could have brought one of the most terrifyingly evil villains in a long time. We are given a small glimpse of what could have been at the end of the movie when he says that they are backing down….. for now.
I viewed the whole Jacob / Bella / Edward dynamic differently to Gemma. I had a small chuckle at the Jacob and Bella scene, but perhaps in retrospect that is a bit of a book in-joke? It was nice to see each of them sink into their own happy endings, I was finally relieved to move on from the painful love triangle. Bella finally got some make up, a slick wardrobe and some high heels. While she can be a slightly wooden actress, overall I think Stewart’s done a pretty good job as Bella, in fact each of the three leads – Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner have grown into the roles as the film has progressed and I think each were at their best in this final installment.
I have to take a small moment here to discuss Renesmee. What the freak was wrong with that baby? I couldn’t work it out, was she a real baby, was she entirely animated? Even as she grew up her eyes continued to look really strange. She just looked weird and freaky until the final scenes. I know that she is meant to look really like Bella, but I have no idea why they didn’t use a normal baby. She kept giving me the creeps!
In terms of reviewing the film like any other film, I would have to say that it was ok. It took a little while to get going and the actual plot was a bit hazy.
My biggest disappointment was the fact that the film makers seemed to take an easy way out by completely underwriting the dramatic battle. I couldn’t help drawing conclusions to another recently finished movies based on a book series, Harry Potter. Though they are really aimed at different demographics, for me Harry Potter managed to pull off a better concluding part.
RATING: 3 Stars
Ok, we’re going to have to disagree again Gemma! This was up there with Harry Potter in my opinion. Lovers of Meyer’s stories finally get the big screen adaptation we have all waited several years for. A giant battle, Bella as a vampire, the conclusion to a love triangle that has me gripped for years and yes even ‘the twist‘! I personally would have liked it to be slightly longer so we could have had a bit more build-up and detail to the final climax, but overall I definitely enjoyed it and as soon as it’s out on DVD I shall be purchasing it and watching them all though again like the Twilight geek I am 😉
RATING: 4 Stars
TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (2012)
DIRECTOR: Bill Condon
STARRING: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelle, Ashley Green