Film comes complete with unseen guidelines and rules. You shouldn’t, for example, cross the 180˚ line, which means your camera shouldn’t be on one side of the conversation for Character A and then on the other side for Character B. The idea is to not confuse the audience by criss-crossing the eye lines of both characters. After seeing Breaking Dawn Part 2 of the Twilight series, I am confident that the 180˚ rule hasn’t been broken. That’s a relief. But more troubling things have happened, and I think a new rule should be enforced: Never generate a baby’s face in a computer. And never, for that matter, allow it to stroke your cheek before its first birthday. It becomes an instrument for horror.
The baby, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), is the child of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), recently married, now of the same species. Renesmee’s conception and birth is somewhat of a miracle — vampires have never been known to mate with humans, a fact that makes more sense than them actually mating. She attracts the attention of the Volturi, an ancient family of vampires who’ve grown accustomed to Italy for unknown reasons and spend their hours pouring through thick books that swirl dust into the air when slammed shut. The Volturi are convinced that Renesmee is an Immortal Child and must be quickly vanquished.
Immortal Children, as dictated by characters in Breaking Dawn Part 2 while they stand around the living room looking ominous and foreboding, are little kids who’ve been turned to vampires, stunting their growth and ability to be taught. They run amok and can destroy entire villages. Evidently even adult vampires can’t control their young.
So the plot of this movie revolves around the Volturi — led by Aro who, in the hands of Michael Sheen, is an impressive force — travelling from Italy to the snowy plains of Washington to kill Renesmee and commit other random nefarious acts.
On the Washington side stands collected a vast group of vampires, recruited from all over the world to confront Aro and his monastery of monks, whose robes suggest they’ve been trapped in some sort of time warp. The good guys include some Middle Easterners, some Russians, some Amazonians, some Irish, some British, some family members, and one Australian. Among them are a few who have special gifts, like controlling the elements and generating electricity. As luck would have it, Bella also has a gift; she can project a protecting forcefield, kind of like the Invisible Woman.
Together with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and his posse of wolves, all these vampires charge into battle. It is as stunning a sequence as you will possibly find in such a movie, despite less-than-convincing visual effects and a twist at the end that would’ve garnered groans from the audience had I been seated with an audience at the time.
Bella this time is not so helpless and pathetic. With her new vampire powers she has somehow also become more headstrong and logical. There is an unintentionally comical scene where Edward takes Bella through the woods of Washington to break in her new gifts. She runs like The Flash through the trees and observes flowers blossoming in slow-motion, then she spots a wayward rock climber and zooms in on his throbbing carotid artery. I didn’t know whether to fear for the climber or laugh at Bella’s own rock-climbing prowess. She ends the fiasco by wrestling with a poor puma.
There is nothing damagingly wrong with this movie. The acting by all involved — and there are many, as evidenced by the end credits — is as good as it’s ever been. The plot isn’t convoluted; on the contrary it’s rather juvenile. Everything happens as a result of something. But looking back on the series as a whole I am not convinced that this story, about the love between Bella and Edward, requires five films to tell. Each of them hovers around the two-hour mark. That’s 10 hours of the same danger, the same misunderstandings between the human, the vampire and the werewolf, and the same romance that is so enveloped by itself that the entire vampire world almost implodes. “All these people put themselves in danger because I fell in love with a human”, says Edward. He’s realising this four movies too late.
Best Moment | Nope.
Worst Moment | Bella climbing up that rock face. Wait, no, it’d have to be Renesmee. That baby is creepy. She even looks weird when she gets older, as if the computer effects don’t want to let her go.