REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Vampires in films and television are characteristically dark and sexy. That silent hypnotic night stalker coming to drain the life out of you is a chilling thought. And yet it’s that danger and unpredictability that makes them so infinitely alluring. Using that Dracula prototype, there’s a sexual subtext. The hugely popular True Blood brings that sexual subtext into the spotlight in order to use the plight of vampires as an allegory of civil rights. Stephanie Meyer’s entire vampire mythos, particularly in Breaking Dawn Part 2 nullifies these elements to the point that their magical nature is immaterial.

After the birth of Renesmee and the rebirth of Bella (Kristen Stewart) as a vampire, the Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene) are accused of the crime of turning a child into a vampire, which results in a faceoff with the Volturi (Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning).

Director Bill Condon doesn’t seem to be steering the film at all. The ‘acting’ is essentially furrowing your brow and staring – especially from the large number of new vampires that barely have speaking parts. Bella’s transformation into a vampire was a tantalising offering, a huge potentially dramatic carrot that hinted that she’s have to overcome the new dark inhuman impulses. But there’s nothing. Brief windows of testing her new physical abilities (especially a ridiculous arm wrestling competition) are followed by pats on the back that she’s coping quickly with the change – thus killing the drama. The once broody and charismatic Edward (Pattinson) loses all of his own attractive, mysterious and dangerous qualities. This powerful being formerly had control his every move so that he wouldn’t inadvertently kill his human mate  now resembles one of the giddy petulant schools mates who used to ogle the family in the cafeteria. And Taylor Lautner’s dramatic involvement barely registers. He spends more time worrying about Bella relating to the new born – which because of her effortless transition – relishes him to a muscle bound nanny.

The CGI in the film is utterly deplorable. Bella running through the woods looks like an animatic test shot and the filmmakers made the decision to graphically create a child to look more like a merger of Edward and Bella. The ‘Renesmee baby’ is so unrealistic and inhuman that for the first half of the film (before they cast a real child actor) it looks like the photo album from Kate Hudson made Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days or it makes the little girl (whose body they’re using) look like a dysmorphic Guillermo Del Toro/Tim Burton nightmare drawing.

The dramatic conceit of the story, the assumption that the Cullen’s have turned a child (assumed after a Volturi emissary sees Renesmee) into a vampire is undone because instead of a glimpse into the Volturi’s past savagery that strikes fear into the audience – it’s green screen flashbacks that have the atmosphere and production design of those photo booths where you dress up like it’s the old west.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 is an unredeemable waste of time and money. Like the vampire characters it’s utterly lifeless and yet by that monstrous twist of fate – it exists. 

NO STARS

Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here.