November 17, 2008. Prior to that date, no one knew just how big the Twilight Saga was going to be. Was it the next Harry Potter or was it the next Golden Compass?
From every second after that date, we knew it as a global phenomenon.
Four years later we stand here with five Twilight films, all but two being helmed by a different director. Twilight was unique in that it had an indie feel with a pretty unknown cast. New Moon was special because we knew going in how large of a base the fandom had. Eclipse stood out for its darker and more serious tone brought by director David Slade. And Breaking Dawn – Part 1 stood out for its climatic moments in which Edward and Bella finally tie the knot and transition into a life together, literally, forever.
That leaves to find what Breaking Dawn – Part 2, opening Friday in theaters worldwide, will bring to the franchise. The answer? A perfect and exciting close which will not leave fans disappointed in the slightest.
The film begins exactly where Breaking Dawn – Part 1 left off: Bella opens her eyes and we see her as a vampire for the first time. She then adjusts to life as someone who will live forever: Going on her first hunt, learning to act like a human (for Charlie’s sake), and discovering her and Renesmee’s unique abilities.
We then learn that the Volturi isn’t pleased with what Bella and Edward created, so the center of the film focuses upon the Cullens’ and wolves’ mission to round up covens who can stand by what Renesmee is. The antagonists travel across the world and the film moves at a pleasant pace as we’re introduced to new characters like Tanya (MyAnna Buring), Kate (Casey LaBow), Benjamin (Rami Malek), Vladimir (Noel Fisher) and Eleazar (Christian Camargo). The Volturi return too, and Michael Sheen’s Aro is absolutely wicked for his final performance as the vampire governing leader.
Then there’s the epic ending. Highlight the text below for *very light* spoilers and our thoughts on it. We do not give away what happens at the end.
—>As you can tell from the trailer, there is indeed a fight between the Cullens and Volturi. The idea was dreamed up by author Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg one night at dinner. It is a true shocker that will leave you gasping until the very end. We loved this scene because it was a true surprise and kept the audience captivated.
Despite having to travel to many locations to pick up the various coven members, the film moves at a perfect pace. Between the rounding up of vampires, the Cullens discovering their new life together as a full vampire family, and the epic ending, director Bill Condon was able to keep the story fresh and intriguing through out. At no point in Breaking Dawn – Part 2 did we find ourselves in a slow moment, which is something Part 1 suffered numerous times.
The acting performances don’t differ much here from Breaking Dawn – Part 1 because they were filmed at the same time. The biggest character change you’ll see is from Kristen Stewart who is now a vampire. She gets her new vampire looks, which work great for the actress, but her vampire portrayal is comparable in quality to her human-Bella character. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing and fun to see her new life as a blood-thirsty creature. Newcomer Mackenize Foy’s Renesmee is as sweet as you could’ve hoped, and it’s clear her quick growth spurt during the story was designed carefully.
In hindsight, we have a hard time imagining the Breaking Dawn story being wrapped up in one film. Despite the slowness of Part 1, the pace of Part 2 makes up for the splitting decision. Our one qualm with the pace of Part 2 was the lengthy opening credits sequence. On one hand, since this is the final film it is nice to have this traditional opening. On the other, it takes up several minutes and it felt like it loses the audience who just want to jump straight into the action.
As are all of the Twilight films, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 caters to the fans and delivers. You get shirtless Jacob, you get plenty of intimacy between Edward and Bella, and you also get some fun scenes with the Cullens and Charlie. We believe that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the best of the series and will leave the audience holding back tears until the very last scene.
The memories of this Saga will indeed live on forever because Condon, Rosenberg, and Meyer worked up a great multi-part ending. Congratulations to the studio, the actors, the crew, and the fans for a successful four year, five-film run.
Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity)
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 opens in theaters on November 15, 2012 (10 PM local time).