Breaking Dawn Part 2 outshines its predecessors

It’s hard to take a vampire movie seriously when vampires glitter in the sun and werewolves whimper like little puppies.

In fact, all hope for the Twilight series seemed lost after New Moon, when the whole ordeal involved insecure, angsty teens whining about their love (or lack thereof) for one another.

Father-daughter pair · Mackenzie Foy and Robert Pattinson star as Renesmee and Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. – | Photo by Andrew Cooper, courtesy of Summit Entertaiment

And Eclipse was, if anything, worse than its predecessor. By the third installment, the Twilight franchise became unredeemable. Not even a star like Dakota Fanning could save the series from its terrible acting, disappointing fight scenes and shoddy special effects.

In case Breaking Dawn Part 1, has been forgotten, the movie ends with Bella (Kristen Stewart) giving birth to her half-human, half-vampire child. Part 1, like the earlier movies, was a major disappointment. And it was definitely frustrating buying another ticket just to see the next installment of the inadequate storyline.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 starts off the same way as the previous films, full of unintended humor and second-rate visual effects.

When the one-expression Bella awakes from her “transition” into a vampire, Edward (Robert Pattinson) looks at her like she’s a whole new person.

“You’re beautiful,” he tells her as he caresses her face and admires her pasty white skin, which is ironic given that Stewart, as Bella, looks exactly the same as always. If anything, she looks scarier with oily hair (clearly it hadn’t been washed for a few days while she was transitioning) and red eyes — although Edward seems pretty into that.

The special effects, which enhanced her transformation, should have improved by the last installment. After Edward’s admiration of the newly awoken Bella, the couple carries on with a romantic hunting adventure. But when they run through the forest at vampire speed, their faces look stationary while their feet move extraordinarily fast. It seems hard to believe there still isn’t a way to make this look more realistic.

But the poor visual effects are the least of the film’s problems. Anyone who read the Twilight series will become aware of the discomfort that surrounds Stephenie Meyer’s “imprinting” subplot between Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Edward and Bella’s baby, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). For Twilight’s werewolves, imprinting is an involuntary method by which they find their life partners, whether romantic or platonic. But given the large age-gap between Jacob and Renesmee — who is still in diapers at the beginning of Part 2 — this particular subplot was known for causing anxiety and, sometimes, outright laughter among readers.

Even the actors seem uncomfortable with this portion of the story. In scenes where Bella interacts with her daughter, the Cullen family awkwardly gathers in a living room with Jacob, Edward and Renesmee. They all sit together and smile uncomfortably like it’s some sort of freaky baby shower.

And Stewart and Pattinson are perhaps the most unconvincing parents possible; luckily, they have a whole family of vampires assisting them, especially considering that Bella seems more into jumping Edward than bonding with her daughter.

When it comes to Edward and Bella, it truly takes a village to raise a child. Thank goodness then, that Bella’s baby is cute. Maybe if there were an adorable baby in Eclipse, it would have been bearable.

But then something happens. As the film continues, the plot sharpens and draws viewers’ attention away from Part 2’s comedic elements.

The acting, of course, does not change or miraculously get better — Pattinson does not suddenly stop letting his English accent sneak through onto the screen. But as the story goes on, more dramatic events take place.

Renesmee’s transformation into a beautiful little girl is outright stunning. Even though Foy’s character doesn’t talk much, she remains quite pleasant to look at,  more pleasant than Stewart. It seems like the young actress might have a successful career in front of her, even if only for her onscreen charisma.

Moreover, instead of sitting around whining about minute problems, the Cullen family, in hopes of convincing the Volturi (the evil, powerful vampires) that Renesmee is not dangerous, travels around to convince other vampires to come to the little town of Forks. These vampires are an eclectic group of creatures,  ranging from Amazonian women to Arabian creatures. It’s intriguing to watch each vampire bring a different gift and personality to the story.

Interesting flashbacks, such as one in which Dakota Fanning’s character throws a vampire child into fire, are compelling, and despite the dark undertones of several scenes, the film convinces audiences that the Cullen family will live happily ever after when all is said and done.

These short anecdotes, of course, lead up to the huge confrontation between the Volturi and the Cullen clan. Despite what readers might have thought of the final conflict in the book version, the film depicts an intense fight scene that is actually quite interesting. At this point of Part 2, the film builds tension. Ignoring the dull quality of the franchise’s former installments, this installment proves that it’s capable of provoking emotional responses from viewers. And despite the slow, dragging nature of the film’s earlier scenes, the events near the end are entertaining and unpredictable — even for those who read the book not too long ago.

Yes, Part 2 is unnecessarily cliched. But though the film had a definite chance of disappointing, it surprisingly impresses. The beginning is comical, yet the movie as a whole remains fulfilling — perhaps because of the redeeming, happy-ever-after ending (it’s a shocker: Edward and Bella live happily ever after).

Breaking Dawn Part 2, is definitely the best of the Twilight movies. And if you’ve already suffered through the previous installments, there’s no harm in seeing the last — you might even be pleasantly surprised. If not, hey, there’s pretty scenery to look at, a cool battle scene and some serious moments that can provide you with a few laughs.

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