Review first published 17/11/12
“Breaking Dawn – Part 2” picks up shortly after the previous film finished. Bella has finally been converted into a vampire and feels the strength and hunger of a newborn after giving birth to her child Renesmee. But she, her new husband Edward and the Cullen covern face danger as The Volturi believe that Renesmee is an “immortal child” – a crime punishable by death.
Okay, I’m going to say now that I write this as a person who hasn’t read the novel on which this film is based, so I’m approaching this from the point of view of this being a piece of film.
Firstly, I have to say that there is a marked improvement in the pace of this film over its predecessor. “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” felt very much like a protracted wedding video and I still maintain that from a point of view of maintaining interest that the previous film could have done with some pruning and have this second part bolted on to it to make a cracking fourth film.
However, what I will say that, whether it was something that came from the original novel by Stephenie Meyer or something that I can only level at the script, what the film lacked was guts and as a moviegoer, I have to admit that the film’s resolution left me unsatisfied, given what was meant to be this powerfully romantic tale. (Sorry for the brevity, but I don’t want to give away spoilers for the people who want to see it and who haven’t read the book).
On the acting front, the acting does appear improved than the previous films, with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson finally having some fun in this film. A lot of this stems from the fact that Bella is no longer this delicate little flower of a character and gets to kick ass, both seriously and in humour, which leads to both actors getting their moments to shine.
Taylor Lautner also gets his character moments following the events of the previous film with Jacob now imprinted on Renesmee and serving as her protector which leads to some humourous and serious areas for the character and I think that Jacob is a better written character now that he’s stopped moping after Bella.
Mackenzie Foy is the main new addition to the cast in the role of Renesmee and she definitely holds her presence on screen as she gets to portrait the character for most of the film through her live performance and through CGI – more about that later.
Given the story being centred on Bella, Edward and Renesmee, the rest of the Cullen concern along with further returnees along with new arrivals including a charming performance by Lee Pace (“Pushi g Daisies”) in the role of Garrett are firmly in supporting cast.
The Volturi are again represented by Michael Sheen being ever the politician in the role of Aro, Christopher Heyerdahl in the role of Marcus, Jamie Campbell-Bower in the role of Caius and Dakota Fanning being both beautiful and chilling in equal measure in the role of Jane – especially in the flashback sequence where Carlisle recalls the story of what happens to Immortal children.
Behind the camera, Bill Condon makes use of the locations to deliver some beautiful cinematography. However, given this film’s estimated budget of $120 million plus, there are some special effects which have to be called disappointing at best and downright sloppy at worst – especially the early sequences where Bella and Edward are shown running through the forest on Bella’s first hunt and the CGI versions of Renesmee as a baby and toddler which were so false they were downright creepy to watch.
All in all, this film is a bit middling given that it is the last of the franchise with opportunities being taken and dashed, and with new YA franchise films waiting in the wings such as Catching Fire, The Host, The Mortal Instruments and Divergent, this could be a series that gets lost in the shuffle.