The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two REVIEW

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two DVD review.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part Two.

She was delighted to hear that it was the last Twilight film.


Release Date: 11 March 2013
12 | 110 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£22.99 (two-disc edition DVD)/£25.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Entertainment One
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two received nine Golden Raspberry Award nominations this year, with a nod in all but one category. Blimey, it must be a turkey of epic proportions.

Well, no. Ironically, it’s probably the most non-Twihard-friendly film of the franchise. Doubly ironically, it didn’t need to be, because let’s face it, no matter how hard someone tries to convince you, “There’s a genuinely great, bloody battle scene and it’s actually quite funny in places too!” if you haven’t felt the urge to go and see a Twilight movie before, you’re hardly going to start now.

And that’s how Breaking Dawn – Part Two landed nine Razzie nominations. You want it to be bad. The zeitgeist demands that it be bad. The idea it might actually be bearable does not compute. And if you want to condemn something badly enough, you can find the evidence:

The first hour is dopey vampire soap: talky, sentimental and hampered by the fact that (amazingly for a pair of actors who are dating – on and off – in real life) there is zero on-screen chemistry between Pattinson and Stewart. The structure is bizarre. The plot is episodic, with a seemingly tacked-on threat instigated by a bit of a misunderstanding. There’s a hideous CGI baby and Michael Sheen’s still wearing that appalling wig. The dialogue rarely moves beyond a range with leaden at one extreme and trite at the other. And then there’s that cheat of a twist, which is the laziest cinematic sleight of hand.

See, easy.

But how about looking at this way? It’s a vampire version of X-Men. Sounds a bit more exciting, doesn’t it? And it’s not stretching a point too much.

Once the whole Bella’s-baby plot has been resolved, the film becomes a story about two army preparing for a showdown, and involves the Cullens making contact with various vampire allies, all of whom have special powers. Honestly, it’s X-Men (or possibly Ex-Men) with fangs, and the film does a pretty good job of giving every one of its massive cast of super-vampires a scene or two to shine. There are even moments of real charm and wit.

Then we get that showdown, a 30-minute long scene set in one location. How many FX blockbusters do you know with the balls to have – effectively – one scene go on that long? Of course, that fact that a great chunk of the half hour is a BLOODY GREAT BATTLE helps. It’s a hugely entertaining spectacle, surprisingly bloody at times too.

As for that cheat of a twist? Well, it’s not a cheat, really. We won’t give it away here, but suffice to say it’s a clever visual way of portraying something that’s woefully uncinematic in the book, and it does make narrative sense.

But it would have been pointless to market the final Twilight film as a vampire X-Men. No-one would have believed the hype, and Twihards would probably have loathed the idea. Breaking Dawn – Part Two is an efficient, rewarding finale for the loyalists, and really isn’t bad enough to bother the rest of us. Certainly not enough for nine Razzie nominations. All of which should have gone to Mirror, Mirror.

Extras:

As usual with Twilight shiny disc releases, there are plenty of impressive extras for fans prepared to pay that little bit extra…

The basic, single-disc DVD release just has a commentary by director Bill Condon and a UK exclusive coverage of the UK premiere. Condon’s commentary isn’t exactly sparkling (he could do with someone to bounce off) but it’s an interesting insight into some of artistic decisions, and he touchingly defends his cast against all press criticisms.

Both the limited edition two-disc DVD and Blu-ray releases (rated)add a stunning amount of documentaries and featurettes. The centrepiece is the hour-long “Forever: The Filming of Breaking Dawn – Part Two” which is an excellently put-together combination of interviews and genuinely interesting behind-the-scenes footage. It features a great comedy moment involving an only partly-tame cougar’s inability to leap onto a rock, some stunt men seriously going for it while planning out the end battle, and Stephenie Meyer admitting she could have quite happily lived in the cottage set. However, no amount of enthusing will ever convince us that the CG baby Renesmee was a good idea.

Shorter features include “Two At Once: Filming Both Movies At The Same Time”, “Tingles & Chills: Special Vampire Powers”, “Carlisle’s Contacts: The New Vampires”, “Judge, Jury & Executioner: Aro & the Volturi”, Being Charlie Swan”, “Breaking Dawn – Part Two At Comic Con” and “Stars On The Black Carpet”. There’s also a Green Day music video and the now legendary “Jump To Edward” and “Jump To Jacob” features (which only play the scenes with either Pattinson or Lautner in them). Blu-ray purchasers also get a “Picture In Picture” movie mode.

Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder

Read our Jackson Rathbone interview.
For an alternate perspective, read our Breaking Dawn – Part Two review from the theatrical release.