Directed by: Bill Condon Screenplay by: Melissa Rosenberg Based on the novel by: Stephenie Meyer Original Music by: Carter Burwell Cinematography by: Guillermo Navarro
Premise: Following her transformation into a vampire, Bella tries to cope with the changes and learn the rules of being one of the undead. Finding it easier than expected, she then gets to meet her daughter Renesmee. All seems to be going well, until a mistake is made by their vampire cousin Irina, who when she sees Renesmee and jumps to an erroneous conclusion, she goes to the Volturi to bring their attention to it. This is the excuse to act Aro has been waiting for. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Everyone did well, though with such a large cast, many of the characters got seen, possibly heard, but never really known. The three principals showed the changes in their relationships very well. Michael Sheen was fun as the greedy and opportunistic Volturi Aro. Dakota Fanning had some great facial expressions during the battle segment. Christopher Heyerdahl's one true line was priceless.
2) Special Effects - Thumbs Up: Werewolves looked great and were used to good effect. Benjamin's elemental powers were demonstrated beautifully by the special effects department. The water door he makes during his introduction was very cool. They also did good work on the vampires' supernatural speed and Alec's dark power.
The only criticism with the effects was Renesmee. A lot of CGI was used to make her face as a baby and during each growing spurt match characteristics of the hair and face of Mackensey Foy. Unfortunately, they might have been better served just using a real baby's face, because their manipulation of the faces was glaringly obvious and did not look well.
3) Plot/Story - Neutral: Years ago my daughter had read the books the "Twilight" films are based on. She'd been totally captured by the world, and couldn't read them fast enough, until she hit "Breaking Dawn". I'd listened to her complaints at the time, but had decided to reserve judgement. After seeing the treatment of the topic in question in "Breaking Dawn" part 1, I thought it'd been smoothed over in the film and the problems my daughter had raised been rendered minimal. But part 2 destroyed that belief. Jacob's glib explanation of why he thought he'd been interested in Bella and she in him as a friend or more than friends as well as how without it they would have never related in anyway, made me a little unhappy too. But perhaps it won't be a problem for other viewers.
Lots of funny moments were sprinkled throughout the film - when Bella finds out Jacob gave her daughter a nickname, when Bella takes on Emmett in an arm wrestling match, when one of them suggests to Edward to stop Bella's and Jacob's argument and he just smiles, and several others.
Yet I am not sure these lovely moments are enough to make up for the Jacob issue or the trick played on the audience with the combat segment of the film. It also bothered me that though a lot of power was available to Benjamin, it went unused for most of the combat, and when it was used, it was largely self defeating.
4) Stunts - Thumbs Up: I'm putting the combat scenes under stunts, since when CGI is involved, it can be very difficult to tell whether it was a stunt done by actors, stuntmen, computers or a combination of the three. However they were done, they were definitely entertaining. Heads got popped like champagne corks wherever you looked.
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The film contained some gorgeous shots. The Summit logo was even interwoven into the landscape in the sedate, yet lovely and themed opening sequence to the film. Panning shots of cliffs, the sea, the woods, and the snow capped mountains set up the mood perfectly for several scenes.
6) Costuming/Makeup - Thumbs Up: The place where the costuming and makeup departments really made a difference were on Bella. Her whole look was changed to fit her new vampiric/adult status, making her seem like a different person in many respects. They kept this going throughout, except for at the very end, were she went back to a more laid back dressing style. That in itself seemed a little awkward.
Conclusion: Overall it was an entertaining film. Fans of the movies and books present during the viewing seemed to really get into the spirit of it, cheering and booing, sometimes gasping, during the big combat scenes as it took its toll. It was a decent end to the movie series.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again.)