The 400-Word Review
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
By Sean Collier
November 16, 2012
The five films that make up the now-complete Twilight saga have always been undone by the wandering, dead-end plot of the source material — to say nothing of a cast made up mostly of dead weight (Taylor Lautner) and/or semi-talented young performers handcuffed by awful characters (leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson).
Now that we’ve (blessedly) arrived at the franchise’s finale, though, a whole new roadblock stands between the franchise and quality: poor planning.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 adapts the latter pages of the series’ ultimate book; as such, the plot has become fairly direct. Bella and Edward have a rapidly-aging baby, who (after some early scenes as a newborn with a creepy CGI face) turns into a precocious preteen half-vampire in short order. Jacob, thanks to some under-explained and thoroughly unsettling werewolf stuff, has discovered that the baby is his soul mate. Meanwhile, the evil undead overlords known as the Volturi have decided that the child is a threat, setting us up for a climactic battle.
The problem? Even with four prior films to play with, the filmmakers behind the franchise — obsessed as they are with long, lingering shots of Bella and Edward doing absolutely nothing — never really bothered to flush out the whole thing with the Volturi. The bad guys certainly played into the films, and were referred to as serious business; they weren’t, however, made threatening or memorable. As a result, the series ends with a climactic battle between the good guys (and some suddenly appearing random friends) and some characters we don’t really care much about. It’s as if the (original) Star Wars franchise was seven hours of Luke and Leia thinking about one another before Darth Vader showed up to threaten everyone in the closing moments.
Of course, everything that was terrible about the previous films remains terrible here. We’re finally past the arch-conservative, anti-feminist proselytizing that characterized most of the series, at least — and it must be admitted that director Bill Condon, on his second Twilight, comes closer to making a watchable film than any of his predecessors. But the trio at the heart remains unlikable, the story remains alternately incomprehensible and inane, and the tribulations of the supernatural denizens of the Pacific northwest remain utterly uninteresting. Add a dreadful ending sequence, and you have a fitting end to the worst big-budget franchise of all time.