Finally: that’s probably the best thing I can say about this. No – check that, the best thing I can say about this movie is that it is not nearly as terrible as all the others in the series. It is absolutely the best of the Twilight movies. I have never hid the fact that I am not a fan of this series. I have read all of the books (and hated them). I (just my opinion!) found them terribly written, and found Bella to be one of the worst female role models ever put into existence. There are four books in the series written by Stephanie Meyer, who is famously Mormon, and they cover the romance between Bella and Edward in the slowest way possible.
In Twilight, we meet Bella - a high school girl who moves to the town of Forks, in the Pacific Northwest. She is awkward and pale and brood-y. Bella meets Edward, who is a vampire (of sorts), living with a family of vampires in this town because it gets less sun than any other city in the country. See, they need it to be overcast, because they sparkle in the sunlight (you know, as vampires do). They’re absolutely the worst vampires ever put on screen (not their fault, they are an accurate translation from the book), and really make me wish Blade would take a trip up there and handle everyone. Bella gets to meet and hang out with Edward's vampire family, who have sworn off drinking humans, but then they have to battle James – a vampire hunter who rolls into town with his buddies, and they do drink humans.
By the end of Twilight, Bella decides she can’t live without Edward and that being with him is the only thing that gives her life purpose (giant eye-roll). So in New Moon, Edward tries to leave Bella for her own good, she starts hanging out with Jacob who reveals his abs and goes all wolfy. Bella realizes that if she puts herself in mortal danger she sees visions of Edward. She keeps doing more and more dangerous things (including motorcycle riding and cliffdiving). Edward’s sister Alice sees the future, but werewolves cloud her judgement – so, she sees Bella cliffdive, but not be saved by werewolves, so she tells Edward Bella died. Edward decides to go to Italy and expose himself to the public as a vampire to be killed by the Volturi – the vampire ruling body – because he can’t live without Bella. She hears about this – goes to Italy to stop him, and they convince the Volturi to leave them alone with the promise that they will turn Bella eventually.
Eventually Bella demands to be changed into a vampire, Edward concedes, but only if they get married first (insert Mormon based sex/marriage commentary here). Eclipse brings Victoria, the mate of James - the hunter from Twilight - to come after Bella and Edward after they were responsible for James’s death. The Cullen clan partner up with the werewolf clan to eliminate Victoria and the group of newborn Vampires that she is assembling (newborns are really strong and out-of-control vicious).
Part 1 of Breaking Dawn was very long and very slow and involved the wedding – the honeymoon – the sex – and the crazy fast vampire pregnancy. It ended with Bella’s human life ending as her vampire husband chewed her half vampire/half human baby (which was slowly killing her) out of her, because the only thing that can break through a vampire amniotic womb is vampire teeth. That resulted in her turning into a vampire, and Jacob ‘imprinting’ on her baby.
There’s your unnecessary summary of the story to this point. If you want more detail, read the books. They’re written at an exceptionally low level, you can finish them very quickly.
That brings us up to date and to Breaking Dawn part 2. This one begins with Bella waking up as a vampire, thirsty for blood, super strong and out to protect her rapidly growing, telepathic child. Edward takes her hunting and she successfully controls her desire for human blood by tackling a mountain lion. While out in the snow playing with her daughter (who now looks 4ish) and her werewolf guardian, Maggie Grace observes them from a distant hill. Since it is forbidden to make child vampires (they can’t be controlled and apparently will eat entire towns), she assumes they’ve done this and runs to the vampire ruling body – the Volturi, which is basically Michael Sheen attempting to do the farthest thing from Lucius in Underworld that he can.
The Volturi assemble and come to do battle, so the Cullens assemble their own group of good (?) vampires to bear witness that the child is only half vampire and was born naturally, not bitten and made. The random collection of other vampires is a fun sequence, and we do get to be introduced to other vampires from other lands. Each of them has special powers and different opinions. In the book, the two sides stand on opposing ends of a snowfield and talk, for what felt like 7 chapters, but I’m sure was not. In the movie – there is a twist, a huge battle sequence; no spoiler there, it’s in all the ads. Eventually – it ends, and just about everyone gets their happily ever after.
This one is directed by Bill Condon, who did part 1 as well as Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters, and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (that doesn’t fit in). This is an Oscar nominated director, and it does pay off, this movie is better done than any of the others. By this point, the actors have been playing the characters for 6 years, so they feel more natural together.
- Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are back as Bella and Edward, and whether or not they are together in real life, their on-screen chemistry has greatly improved. Stewart finally gets to give Bella some personality, and she actually gets to smile in this movie. Likewise with Pattinson, who spent the previous movies looking pained.
- Taylor Lautner and his abs are back as Jacob. He does a decent job, and could have a mainstream career after these movies as opposed to the two other leads, who will probably stick to indie careers. Taylor’s Abduction proved he has potential to have a fun action career, so we’ll see what happens.
- Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed all return as the various Cullen family members. They have a little more to do in this movie than in a few of the previous ones, and they all seem to be enjoying themselves. The battle scene is great fun, and they all do a great job.
- Billy Burke returns as Bella’s father Charlie, and gets some fun moments where he as to act like he is okay with his daughter turning into a vampire and having a mysteriously rapidly aging child and her friend turning into a wolf in front of him. He does seem to be wanting this movie to hurry along so that he can get back to Revolution.
5 out of 10. Lost points for Bella, and Edward, and the majority of the characters. Gained points for the battle. Lost points for the creepy CGI baby…yikes. Gained points for Michael Sheen – he is pleasantly bizarre in this.Bonus Video 1: Blade Opening…real vampires and a real vampire hunter. While this opening sequence is epic - Blade 2 is my favorite of the series.
Bonus Video 2: Buffy the Vampire Hunter series opening (for each season). If you are unaware, 7 seasons of Joss Whedon’s genius, with arguably one of the best female role models ever. Rent it now.
Bonus Video 3: Cast Interviews