This is the second review from “Page to Premiere.” Check out Kimmy’s review here.
I was excited and apprehensive about seeing “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.” I was excited because I adore “The Twilight Saga” and I couldn’t wait to see the latest film, but apprehensive because what did all this fighting, which isn’t in the books, in the trailers mean? It meant a shocking twist that had this fangirl going into shock.
Let’s take a step back though. ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ begins differently than any of the other ‘Twilight Saga’ films with credits instead of a Bella voiceover. As images in blood red and snowy white of landscapes and symbols from ‘The Saga’ mix with the credits, we hear samples of the score from all of the movies to date. It’s a beautiful montage to begin the film before Bella (Kristen Stewart) opens her eyes.
Bella sees and hears the details from the first shot with sharp and defined looks at items around the room, the feeling of Edward touching her with her new senses, and the shimmer of a bell as she speaks her first words, “I love you.” She is a new Bella, but glimmers of the girl Edward (Robert Pattinson), Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and we all fell in love with are still there.
While I was impressed with Bella’s transformation and experiencing her as a vampire, many of the other characters got a chance to shine and emotionally connected. I loved seeing the moments between the Cullen couples – small gestures and kisses that showed that Edward and Bella are not the only ones in love! I loved seeing Rosalie (Nikki Reed) happy and excited to be an aunt, Emmett’s (Kellan Lutz) teasing, Jasper’s (Jackson Rathbone) commentary on newborns, Alice (Ashley Greene) as sister and friend, and Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) and Carlisle’s (Peter Facinelli) playful little moments. Did we never see these moments before because it was all so wrapped up in Bella’s limited human view of the world?
Of course we have a lot of new characters in the form of Carlisle’s vampire friends. When the talk began on a ‘Breaking Dawn’ movie, I figured they would cut down on the number of vampires they would use because there are just so many. With the exception of Kachiri, everyone made it in and I felt like everyone made an impact even if they didn’t say a word. The Amazons (Judi Shekoni as Zafrina and Tracy Heggins as Senna) and the Romanians (Noel Fisher as Vladamir and Guri Weinberg as Stefan) had terrific entrances. Rami Malek made Benjamin of the Egyptian coven endearing while Angela Sarafyan as Tia, who didn’t speak a word stood by his side with this knowing look that constantly drew my eyes to her. Joe Anderson as Alistair made his presence known more so that he did in the book with biting delivery fitting of the pessimistic nomad.
Two performances that stood out for me though were Casey LaBow as Kate of the Denali coven and Lee Pace as the roughish nomad Garrett. I found Casey’s performance jarring in ‘Part 1,’ but when free to show off her powers and a playful attitude in ‘Part 2’ she really shines. From Lee Pace’s first appearance on screen while hunting in New Orleans, he’s a character that you can’t help but like. I’m starting to understand the appeal of that character and now Lee Pace.
‘Breaking Dawn’ is a big book, which is why it earned two movies. Even with that being the case, they still had to cull down aspects of it to fit it all. I thought they did a great job at cutting the extraneous stuff while still capturing important moments in a shorter form like Bella’s first hunt, finding out Jacob imprinting, revealing the cottage, vampire sex, and Bella’s meeting with J. Jenks. Showing Jacob revealing himself as shape shifter to Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) was a great addition of a moment we know happens, but we don’t actually witness in the book.
As you probably have heard by now there is a twist in the movie that is different than what is in the book. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can tell you that it is shocking.
The elephant in the room is Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). The special FX of plastering the emotion full face on a baby, toddler and then child didn’t work for me and mostly because of their lack of consistency and that if often looked awful. At times there was almost a halo around her face and/or a really bad hairline that showed where they masked over her face. At times she went from looking like little Mackenzie to a completely different child. It made it really difficult for me to make any type of connection with her because I felt like I was looking at a different kid in nearly every scene. I also didn’t feel like they played up how endearing she is. She felt like a background character to the story – she’s there and she happens to be Bella and Edward’s child, but this movie is about Bella being a vampire and saving the Cullen’s, not about Renesmee.
The one other disappointing element was the music. Much of the score was literally a repeat of music from ‘Part 1.’ The music when Jacob is riding his motorcycle to Charlie’s house is the exact same scoring heard when Jacob is riding his motorcycle to the Cullen’s home in ‘Part 1.’ When I recently wrote about my Top 10 favorite ‘Twilight Saga’ songs, I chose songs that not only do I love, but they connect you immediately to the moment in the films that the songs play during. There was not one song on first viewing of ‘Part 2’ that stuck out for me. I’ve grown to like the Passion Pit’s ‘Where I Come From’ that plays when Bella opens her eyes, and the song ‘Ghost’ by James Vincent McMorrow that you hear when Bella returns from Seattle, but I don’t feel like there’s a connection between scene and song like there have been so often in the other films.
Overall I think the film captured what it needed to capture and it does it a way that tells the story that fans want to see and the casual fan will appreciate. The end credits, which honor ‘The Twilight Saga’s’ cast make me cry every time. Like many I picked up a book called ‘Twilight’ before ever seeing a movie called ‘Twilight’ and I could never have begun to imagine how it would impact my life. As the final chapter ends I think fans will be more than satisfied with “The Happily Ever After” of Edward and Bella’s forever that has immortalized on film, in fact, I think like me they will be saying thank you Bill Condon, Melissa Rosenberg, Wyck Godfrey and most of all, Stephenie Meyer.