When vampires fight
The fifth and final installment of the uber-successful movie franchise based on Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series will be a box office hit. It has little motivation to seek new converts—too late for that—but to satisfy the legions of passionate fans. On that measurement, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” should do just that. But early indicators are proving that it’s the least despised of the series by critics (earning solid 50/50 marks) and the highest reviews of all the series’ by moviegoers according to web-based polling sites.
With that information as a background, here are some basic questions and concise answers for anyone still deciding on whether to see what the fuss is all about.
How does this chapter differ from the previous films? Same basic characters Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) now married with a vampire/human baby Renesmee and of course wolf boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner) still in the picture maximizing his opportunities to go shirtless. (Only one in this episode, for those counting).
Still the same lugubrious pacing? “Part 2” is a little better with more at stake as the Volturi stage a battle with the Cullen family who recruit other vampires for a climatic, beheading filled showdown – easily the franchise’s best action sequence.
Any improvement in acting? Not really, but with Bella now a full vampire and less petulant (death becomes her!) the larger, talented ensemble lightens the load of the principle actors making their limitations less noticeable. Special kudos to Michael Sheen hamming it up as Aro, the creepy captain of the Volturi and newbie Lee Pace in a supporting role as Garrett, a disheveled, charming British ally of the Cullen family.
Any benefits for non-fans? While this “Swan” song has some improvements (Director Bill Condon who directed “Dreamgirls” and “Part 1” is still a good choice) it would be wise to go with a fan who can explain some of the back stories of which knowledge is assumed. One big gotcha moment near film’s end, while expected by fans of the book nonetheless offers a much needed surprise that sparks controversy—but hey, at least it stimulates reaction.
How would “Part 2” compare to the Harry Potter wrap-up? Despite very different subject material – similarities of the two franchises abound. But while “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” was much more interesting than “Deathly Hallows Part 1” this final “Twilight” can’t compare in scope, excitement or sheer sentimental gravitas to Harry’s final chapter.
The bottom line is that the “Twilight” film franchise ends with a fitting finale that neither proves the series worth, nor does it disappoint the faithful. It is likely to be remembered as a commercial juggernaut that over time will be seen as a trendy artifact rather than a cultural touchstone of iconic value.
Rated PG-13 for scenes of disturbing violence, sensuality and partial nudity
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