Susan Granger’s review of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” (Summit Entertainment)
Proclaiming this final segment as the best of the “Twilight” saga is damning with faint praise.
Birthed in Stephanie Meyer’s young-adult fiction, the tormented duo – brooding, chivalrous Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and awkward, uncertain Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who have courted on-and-off-screen celebrity love – are now parents of a half-vampire/half-human daughter.
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg’s hokey dialogue remains ludicrous, as Edward caresses his newly transitioned, now full-fledged vampire wife, murmuring, “We’re the same temperature,” adding, “You’re a lot stronger now; it’s your turn not to break me.”
Their daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) is healthy and growing fast, accompanied constantly by the protective werewolf, rugged Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who imprinted on her at birth, claiming the infant as his soul mate, and has nicknamed her Nessie.
“Nessie?” Bella says indignantly. “You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness monster?”
Prickly pleasantries aside, there’s trouble ahead for the Cullen clan (Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone) as the contemptuous Volturi (Maggie Grace, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Jamie Campbell Bower, Christopher Heyerdahl), led by devious Aro (Martin Sheen), travel from Italy to the snowy Pacific Northwest to examine the half-immortal child and decide if a punishable crime of miscegenation has been committed. To bolster their ranks, the Cullens recruit undead comrades from around the world, including a revenge-seeking Transylvanian duo (Guri Weinberg, Noel Fisher) and an outspoken bohemian (Lee Pace).
Director Bill Condon, who shot this concurrently with “Part 1” in 2010-2011, steeps the audience in outrageously campy, CG vampirism, literally and figuratively. Supernaturally formidable, butt-kicking Bella gets bloodthirsty, while her police chief dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), and his Native American wife are the only humans left. And expect some stunningly effective, climactic surprises to be dished out during the ferocious showdown fantasy.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” spawns a syrupy, suspenseful, surreal 6. Since the four previous films have grossed over $1 billion domestically and more than $2.5 billion worldwide, fangs for the memories.