Movie review: “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part Two” is a good ending to the saga

By Emily Hopkins

Put all the Kristen Stewart acting jokes and Team Edward/Team Jacob hysteria aside, and what you’re left with in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two” is a visually impressive science fiction/thriller with plenty of action and head-ripping-off to go around.

I’ll admit, I read all of the “Twilight” books when they first came out, but I only saw the inaugural movie and “Part One” of the two films made from the last novel in the series.

The first movie made me gag from its cheesiness. But “Part One” was a guilty, but nonetheless entertaining rental choice on an extremely late and bored night.

I only could imagine the final chapter to the “saga” only could be better. And, trust me, director Bill Condon (who worked on the fourth film) and crew certainly didn’t disappoint.

“Part Two” picks up right where its predecessor left off, in the process of cleaning up “Part One’s” post-birth — both in terms of the birth of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) daughter Renesmee and Bella’s birth into full-fledged vampiredom. Bella is a newborn vampire, complete with bloodthirsty red eyes, flawless beauty and fancy set of undead skills to match.

She wants to see her baby, but the “I want to suck your blood” thing and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) imprinting on Renesmee gets in the way. Thus, Edward (Robert Pattinson) takes her for a lively jog through the forest — a.k.a. running at break-neck speeds, scaling cliffs and tackling mountain lions — to try to get her newfound thirst under control.

From then, the movie is full of drama. A fair deal of humor is thrown into the mix, as Bella, out of her awkward human years, is now in her awkward years as a gorgeous vampire and has to learn to deal with the major adjustment. This is where Stewart eases up on her signature sulkiness and starts to let loose in her altered role.

What this movie also has that the others lacked is an interesting slew of minor supporting characters. The Volturi (coven of vampires who enforce vampire laws) are sure Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) is some kind of unnatural threat against their kind and are dead set on confronting (and likely destroying) the Cullens. Alice (Ashley Greene), with her clairvoyant abilities, is able to warn the family and allow them time to gather friends and allies from across the globe to act as witnesses to Renesmee’s unthreatening nature.

Enter in Alaskan Kate (Casey LaBow), who can stun vampires with her taser-like physical electricity; Egyptian Benjamin (Rami Malek), who has insane control over the elements; Amazonian Zafrina (Judith Shekoni), who has the ability to create amazingly realistic visual illusions; and American nomad Garrett (Lee Pace), who is incredibly good looking and should’ve been introduced into the franchise much earlier.

Obviously, subtlety isn’t “Twilight’s” strong suit, so at certain points it’s just best to go with the extremely over-the-top, computer generated flow — which is half the fun of watching it anyway. The most notable example is the tremendous fight scene between the Volturi and the Cullen mini-army. Extremely intense and well staged, a major twist is thrown into the mix — one that wasn’t included in the books — that only makes things that much more thrilling.

Those who have yet to buy into author Stephanie Meyer’s undead love saga are unlikely to change their personalities and suddenly laud “Twilight’s” worth as a film franchise. But readers and viewers who have followed the story since its inception will not be disappointed by this final chapter in their beloved series.

Like it or not, the “Twilight” saga’s success and popularity is as immortal as its undead characters — maybe it’s time to give into its “so-not-cool/I’m too hipster for this shit” cheesiness after all.

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