The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen, Peter Facinelli
Directed by: Bill Condon
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg
In some ways, I’m sad to see The Twilight Saga go. While most people of my gender are ready to roll out the red carpet to send this series on its way out, part of me will miss having a guaranteed slam-dunk comedy to be released every year. I enjoy these pictures for being so incompetently written, horribly constructed, and now recently, self-aware. Bill Condon’s two outings with the franchise has brought out the sillier aspects in the series, and to be fair, the franchise is better for it. Yet I find myself disappointed in this installment, not because there was some grandiose finale that didn’t deliver, but because this wasn’t the funniest film of the year.
The main reason this film isn’t as funny as previous installments tends to rest on the fact Condon treats this installment like an action film. While that might turn off the more devout “Twi-Hards”, the stakes are actually high here. It also doesn’t hurt that there are some cool, fun vampires to balance out the sillier Cullen clan, particularly Lee Pace as Garrett. He’s ruthless, but has a sense of style about him that can keep the males in the audience interested enough, and thankfully, gets a fair amount of screen time.
As for the three stars themselves, it appears Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson get the material they’re adapting. It’s tough to say they have chemistry when they’re working from some pretty horrendous source material, but at this stage, they understand the characters they’re portraying, as if they’re giving a bit of a wink to their audience. Taylor Lautner ends up being my favorite of the bunch, as he channels his inner Milla Jovovich from the Resident Evil franchise. Where Pattinson broods (sometime to comical effect,) Lautner handles everything po-faced. His super serious-ness to Jacob causes unintentional hilarity that not even Lautner may be aware of.
Yet if we’re going to discuss favorites, Michael Sheen’s Aro has been my favorite character of this franchise. Sheen plays the character straight from an episode of the Adam West Batman TV series, and long have I hoped West would pop in shouting “SURRENDER…you VAMPIRES!” Sheen is arguably having the most fun of his career with the character, chewing up every bit of screentime he gets.
At the center of it all, is Bill Condon’s vision for the material. Where Condon succeeds (or fails, depending on your take) is adjusting certain story elements that would be considered anti-climatic on film. The promotional materials have certainly hinted at an epic, action-packed finale, essentially billing it as The Dark Knight Rises for females. Fascinatingly enough, things finally happen in this franchise and this is where the material finally gets interesting. One wouldn’t expect Stephenie Meyer to create such a sequence, and turns out this specific scene was created for the film. It elevates (or brings down) a movie that should be horrendous and funny, and for at least ten minutes, feels decent. If anyone should ride off into the sunset from this franchise with a grin on their face, it’s Condon.
No one’s going to argue Stephenie Meyer is brilliant (and personally, she’s the Tommy Wiseau of authors,) but her saga that young ladies have attached to finally comes to an end. While most will be sad to see it go, most of us who’ve hated the franchise will be happy it’s finally on the way out. I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m thankful young women won’t be subjected to the worst series that could possibly happen to them, but I’ll miss the truly awful storytelling and stupidity that Meyer would bring to a medium.