For a largely sedentary, if sometimes sweet series, the finale was surprisingly exciting. In part, because a fire alarm evicted me from the theatre midway through the film forcing a mad rush to another venue to catch the rest; in part, because of the buzz created by good-spirited female viewers, i.e. the fun sort who know when to scream rather than the loutish lot who shout into cell phones throughout the film; and in part, because the climactic battle was high-energy and spirited.
Initially, though, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is preoccupied with the question: How will skittish human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) take to becoming a member of the bloodsucking clan?
The answer: As a skittishly stylish vampire, her former casual threads now replaced by a sleek, new designer wardrobe. As a newbie vampire Bella struggles to control her blood lust, while revelling in the ability to fly, her superhuman strength and sex drive — this last, censored in local cinemas.
She even shows some spirit when she screams at her best friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner): “You think you have some sort of moronic wolfie claim on her?” Jacob, you see, has “imprinted” on her baby daughter — wolf-slang for saying that they will become lovers when she grows up. Bit creepy, that, but somehow okay in Twilight’s bizarre world.
This strange baby that Bella and her old-young vampire husband Edward (Robert Pattinson) have created, the unfortunately-named Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), is the crux of the story in the last of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books adapted for screen by Melissa Rosenberg.
Renesmee comes to the attention of the powerful arbiters of the vampire world, the Volturi — headed by the all-knowing Aro (a deliciously over-the-top Michael Sheen). They want to destroy the kid — not because of the silliness of her name but because they think she is an illegal “immortal child”; i.e., an infant vampire who will never develop to maturity, and whose bloodlust can never be tamed.
But Renesmee, though growing with unnatural speed, isn’t one of these monstrosities: she is a rare half-human, half-vampire child.
To attest to the child’s “normalcy”, the Cullen family, led by pater Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), gathers together witnesses — a rag tag group of vampires who are seen to have individual superhuman abilities from clairvoyance to controlling the elements. Who knew?
The story itself is pretty thin which gives plenty of time for the Cullens and friends to pose and pout. And for director Bill Condon, who shot both parts of Breaking Dawn, to reward fans with the series’ must-haves — Edward and Bella romancing, Lautner taking off his shirt — and some new extras such as the robust finale.
The series actually has been reasonably engaging overall, and deserves credit for speaking directly to viewers starved of celluloid romance in today’s male action-oriented movie plots. Still, we do need a little break from swooning vampires and werewolves. Hopefully, the recent sales of the Star Wars property won’t encourage greedy studios to indulge in a hasty reboot of another long day’s journey into twilight.