An Unexpected Ending to ‘The Twilight Saga’
Claire Stephens | Monday, November 19, 2012
With an entire year of waiting after the last film, the finale of the Twilight Saga, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” was finally released in theaters at 10 p.m. on Nov. 15 (instead of midnight Nov. 16), much to the relief of pop culture across America. After the dramatic/traumatic ending of “Breaking Dawn Part 1” with the violent “birth” of Edward and Bella’s baby, weak and clumsy Bella is at last a powerful vampire.
The strength in this last installment, which received better reviews than any of the previous movies, is its artistic choices in changing the novel into screenplay. “Breaking Dawn Part 2” glosses over some of the lengthy parts of the book – such as Bella’s descriptions of her new life as a vampire – to get straight to the action. The choice of shots conveys her thoughts without lingering too long on her. Another one of these good translation choices was changing Renesmee, Edward and Bella’s vampire/human child, from a baby to elementary-school aged child rather quickly.
The dialogue of this final film is surprisingly scattered with funny moments. The humor kept the finale from feeling too emotional, weighty and melodramatic and rewarded fans of the books with those awkward and hilarious moments between the characters they’ve come to know and love beyond film characterization.
The bulk of the story is devoted to the Cullen clan’s newest problem: the royalty, papacy and mafia of vampires, the Volturi. This time they are after Edward and Bella’s daughter. Wanting to protect her and avoid being executed by the Volturi, the Cullens gather their vampire friends from all over the world to and stand in battle against the Volturi. Dozens of new international characters with varying, interesting gifts are added to the story. Though their powers seem to be that of superheroes rather than of vampires (control of electricity, the natural elements, mind control, etc.) their presence adds some interest to the sometimes-nauseating amount of emotion bouncing around between Edward, Bella, Jacob and Renesmee.
However, it is still impossible to avoid the supposedly romantic, artistic montages between Edward and Bella with close ups of skin on skin that are more awkward than romantic. The beginning and especially the end make a point to try to nail into your head the epic nature of their romance now that they have a happy family forever, that this series is really over now, etc. Even if you’re a nostalgic fan, the scenes go on a little too long.
The shining moment in the film, however, is near the end. SPOILER ALERT – the best part is also the least expected and most surprising, especially for fans of the book.
In the book, a very convenient solution is found at the last minute, so the big fight never happens. In the film the Volturi want to fight and will fight. From here the film completely strays from the book into a fight between the entire Volturi and their guard versus the Cullens and their witnesses. Ignoring the bizarre nature of violence and dismemberment in the series, those 10 minutes are the most thrilling and interesting part of the movie, because not even book readers know what is happening and what will happen next. This move was genius, because fighting actually gets to happen, and major characters are killed in the process, proving that this really isn’t the book anymore and anything can happen.
Even less expected is after 10 minutes of crazy, unpredictable violence, it turns out everything the audience has just seen was the clairvoyant vampire’s futuristic vision of what would happen if the Volturi decided to fight … but none of it actually happened. Needless to say, the 10 p.m. release fans in the theater were losing their minds the entire time, and never has there been such a vocal reaction from an audience in a movie theater.
Though not a cinematic masterpiece of our time, this Twilight ends the series well enough from the book material it had to work with, and worked even better with what it created on its own.