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.
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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.

Grade: A-

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).

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.

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The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

 
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