The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the best film of the franchise, in my opinion! Everything that fans have loved about the past four films is brought together in the best possible way in ‘Part 2.’ As the film opens, we are introduced to a newly-turned vampire Bella, who I thought was brought to life wonderfully by Kristen Stewart. The viewer can tell in her performance that she is stronger, more confident, and she owns it.
The first scene, Bella’s first hunt, is sure to please fans as well! Kristen really plays into Bella’s new animalistic nature as a vampire while she hunts, and I thought she pulled it off. Bella becomes a graceful, fierce, vampire mother – which is a complete departure from the shy, clumsy human teenager she was before. I thought there was a great contrast, which is amazing considering she filmed both Part 1 and Part 2 at the same time.
Bill Condon knows he’s making this movie for the fans, and he provided so many moments that were tailor-made just for them. The smaller supporting characters, such as the Cullens and the new vampires, would probably have been reduced to nearly nothing with the wrong director. In Bill Condon’s adaptation, we get to see special moments between the different Cullen coven couples that fans have always loved: Rosalie and Emmett, Alice and Jasper, as well as Esme and Carlisle. He knows that many fans love these characters as much, if not more, than the main trio! The new vampires that are added in the finale of this franchise must have been challenging for Condon as well. How do you introduce so many new characters without having them become like background props in the battle? They need to have at least a bit of character development.
A few of the new vampires, such as Garrett (Lee Pace), Kate (Casey LaBow), Alistair (Joe Anderson), and Benjamin (Rami Malek), are highlighted and have some great personality. Also, Noel Fisher and Guri Weinberg shine as as Vladimir and Stefan of the Romanian coven. They are perfect in their roles! They really owned their outrageous characters and it added a lot. I’m impressed with all of the new-vampire actors for creating such well-realized characters, in small supporting roles.
The film also has plenty of laughs! I absolutely loved the scene where Bella gives Jacob a beat-down when she realized he imprinted on Renesmee and nicknamed her Nessie. Robert Pattinson’s performance in this scene is so hilarious, you’ll love how Edward reacts! Your theater will also be laughing throughout the scene where Jacob shows Charlie he’s a wolf. I think that due to the cultural hugeness of these films, the Part 2 laughs at itself a little more than past installments. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that helps the movie work! The whole imprinting storyline was also handled gracefully by Bill Condon. The entire concept is extremely awkward to bring across on screen, and I think Taylor and Bill made the relationship caring, and not creepy.
I thought that Ashley Greene (Alice), Nikki Reed (Rosalie), and Kellan Lutz (Emmett) really gave new life to their characters in this installment. I thought Emmett’s humor and one-liners really worked, and Alice was perfect and bubbly. Nikki Reed really ran with her new development from the novel, that Rosalie latches on to Renesmee and becomes motherly towards her due to now being able to have children herself; I thought this was fantastic and softened Rosalie’s character. Going back to Bill Condon, it really proves how much he’s doing this for the fans, creating a homage to a small piece of the book involving a supporting character. Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli are great as Esme and Carlisle, and they get some nice screen-time. You really understand that Carlisle is the rock of the family, and see Esme’s caring nature.
Renesmee is a character who everyone was anxiously waiting to see on screen. The first time I saw the film, when she popped into frame I was taken aback, to be honest. For some reason I was expecting a completely photo-real baby, even though I knew she was being made with CGI. This, unfortunately, isn’t possible. We don’t have the technology yet. However, I do believe it does cause this section of the film to suffer a little bit, because the first scene when we meet Renesmee is a huge moment. Seeing a baby that is obviously not real, took me out of the story for a little bit and made me think, “That baby isn’t real, she was made in a computer.” Which, isn’t good. The second time I saw the movie, after having heard Bill Condon explain that some of Renesmee’s “wierdness” and “non-human” nature can be attributed to the fact that she’s not human, it improved for me. She’s a half vampire, half human, so she shouldn’t look completely human. That realization helped me accept this CGI baby Renesmee; but she still felt a little creepy and in the uncanny valley.
However, as Renesmee grows up, it improves a lot. They did some amazing work taking the performance of Mackenzie Foy and adding her face onto the bodies of different little girls across different ages. This is especially well-done in the scene where Renesmee is playing the piano with Edward, and the scene where they take her to meet the Denalis. There are a few other scenes where the face-on-actress special affects are a little awkward, but by the end of the film, there is no longer CGI used, and you’re seeing Mackenzie Foy as she actually is. She doesn’t get to say much in the movie, but I thought Mackenzie was adorable and believable in the role.
Now for the insane twist that everyone is excited for. Let me just say, it makes the movie. It is absolutely awesome. The book did not contain a real, action-packed climax and boy does this movie have it! Plus, they figured out how to add the action without throwing the novel to the wind and saying “Let’s just make a good movie!” They were able to make a great movie with an awesome battle without making fans angry. Although, fans may be a little angry, don’t get me wrong. Just not a “screaming mob with pitchforks” type of angry. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t seen it, but I just want to commend the film-makers for creating such an awesome movie-going experience for fans. The entire audience was on the edge of their seat, with emotional reactions. There was plenty of crying! I’ve never seen a reaction like that from an audience in a theater…ever. I don’t care about your opinion of Twilight as a whole, that’s a triumph for any film. The final curtain call for the series that closes the movie is so incredibly touching, especially for people like me who have followed it since the beginning. I cried, and if you’re a fan, I’m sure you will too.