Review: Breaking Dawn (Part 2)

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

PLOT: THE TWILIGHT SAGA comes to a merciful end with this, the conclusion to BREAKING DAWN. After being turned into a vampire while giving birth to Renesmee, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) find themselves forced into a showdown with the Volturi when a rumour spreads that they’ve turned a child into a vampire- which is strictly forbidden. Meanwhile, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) sulks, gets his shirt off, and moons over the Cullen’s infant daughter. Creeeeepy.

REVIEW: OK, so I’ve probably already infuriated Twi-hards just from my plot description, but I don’t think I’m wrong in seeing as a bit of a safe heaven for those, like myself and probably many of you, who don’t quite understand the appeal of this multi-billion dollar franchise. I’ve reviewed most of the other films for the site, and without exception I’ve hated them all, but believe it or not I actually hoped BREAKING DAWN: PART 2 would break the run of crap, as I’m a big fan of the director- Bill Condon. I was puzzled as to why he signed on to the films (well, other than the paycheck) and while PART 1 of BREAKING DAWN was probably the worst instalment of the series yet, I held out hope at least he might make the conclusion a little interesting. Yeah, not so much…

Like the last film, BREAKING DAWN: PART 2 takes forever and a day to get going. Literally an hour goes by with virtually nothing but exposition. It seems like Condon, working from a script by Melissa Rosenberg, was trying to be slavishly faithful to Stephanie Meyer’s book to appease the fans, but the result is a film that moves at a snail’s pace, just like the last one. In keeping with the other films, the performances by the core cast are one-note, with Kristen Stewart, despite now playing a vampire, still mooning over Edward as his virtual love slave. Outside of TWILIGHT, Stewart is fine, but whenever I see her in these she seems bored, and this is no exception. Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner is barely in this one, mostly due to his being a CGI wolf for the entire third act, although he does manage to get his shirt off once (cue screams from the teenage girls in the audience). Of the three, the only one who seems to be having a bit of fun in his final go-round in the saga is actually Pattinson, who for once does relatively little brooding, and actually cracks a smile here and there. Go figure!

Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning are around to camp it up a bit as the Volturi, but Sheen is particularly- almost hideously, over the top here, making his bit part in TRON: LEGACY seem like the model of restraint. As the Cullens spend a lot of time assembling vampires from around the world, a few new actors join the franchise, with Lee Pace bringing some much needed charisma to the saga as Revolutionary War vet- turned rock-star looking vampire. Everyone else- well, they look hot (especially Ashley Greene). That’s it.

Of course, being a TWILIGHT film, and despite the fact that they’ve grossed billions, Summit Films still seems to be penny-pinching, with the customarily awful CGI making a comeback. The CGI wolves look as bad as ever (at least they don’t argue in voice-over this time). Still, they look incredible compared to poor Renesmee, who’s rendered as a hilariously fake looking CGI baby in the first half, and then- once she’s played by Mackenzie Foy, is given, for some odd reason a CGI facelift that makes her look like one of the kids from THE POLAR EXPRESS. And, like the others, expect montage after montage set to a hipster pop soundtrack.


Now, to be fair to Condon and co., they do make one (apparent) departure from the novel by staging a big battle royale with the Volturi- which, for a good ten minutes or so actually made me think that maybe Condon and Rosenberg were in fact on to something. For the first time ever in the saga, I was actually enjoying myself, and even surprised once a few beloved characters started biting the dust in fairly gruesome (for PG-13) fashion. However, the trick that Condon and Rosenberg use to make this twist “OK” with the Twi-hards is beyond trite, and utterly spoils any momentum to film had going for itself, making a bad movie all that much worse.

Suffice to say, I’m thrilled that THE TWILIGHT SAGA has finally come to an end, but then again, is a reboot far behind? God forbid, but as long as these films keep printing cash I’m sure someone, somewhere will be back to exploit the franchise. To the Twi-hards, if you loved the other films, don’t be too angry with me. Chances are- you’ll like this one too. So go ahead, enjoy it. As for me- thank God it’s over! FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!




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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.