Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 review (Blu-ray)

And so it is that the final curtain draws on the Twilight saga (at least until the rights-holders can figure out a way to spin it off). At the end of the previous instalment, newly-married Edward Cullin and Bella Swan had been understandably carried away on their honeymoon and had gotten pregnant. Unfortunately, with Edward being a vampire and Bella human, the resulting pregnancy was a Larry Cohen/David Cronenberg style nightmare and Edward was forced to "turn" Bella to save her life. The new parents took revenge by naming their daughter Renesmee (if it had been a boy they were going to go with Sue). Spurned Bella love rival and fluffy werewolf boy Jacob "imprinted" in the infant. This is a "werewolf thing" that means Jacob now regards Renesmee as the love of his life, making him her ultimate guardian and protector in a way that is not at all creepy.

And so it is that the final curtain draws on the Twilight saga (at least until the rights-holders can figure out a way to spin it off). At the end of the previous instalment, newly-married Edward Cullin and Bella Swan had been understandably carried away on their honeymoon and had gotten pregnant. Unfortunately, with Edward being a vampire and Bella human, the resulting pregnancy was a Larry Cohen/David Cronenberg style nightmare and Edward was forced to "turn" Bella to save her life. The new parents took revenge by naming their daughter Renesmee (if it had been a boy they were going to go with Sue). Spurned Bella love rival and fluffy werewolf boy Jacob "imprinted" in the infant. This is a "werewolf thing" that means Jacob now regards Renesmee as the love of his life, making him her ultimate guardian and protector in a way that is not at all creepy.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 starts with Bella and Edward in vomit-inducing happiness, ready to go at it like super-powered rabbits. Even Edward's family can’t stand this, and so they give them a secluded "sex-cottage" and let them get on with it. Do you think I am being crude? The movie paints you a picture, guys. Bella spies the bedroom and remarks "vampires don’t sleep". "It’s not for sleeping," winks Edward ... hurl (but, y’know, in a fun way).

Things are a little sticky for a moment when the Cullens have to try to explain the whole imprinting thing to Bella. Edward making eyes at Jacob that scream "DON’T MAKE THIS SOUND CREEPY" is another comedy highlight. Jacob makes a serious tactical error when he reveals to Bella that he has – not unreasonably, I thought – taken to calling Renesmee Nessie."‘You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?" screams Bella.

Knowing he has some making up to do, Jacob decides to help out by having the dreaded paranormal birds and bees conversation with Bella’s long-suffering single dad Charlie (Burke, underused but as solidly blokey as ever). He does this, by stripping off to his underpants in the woods in front the mortified father, inducing a hilarious moment of heterosexual panic so tense you can feel the relief from Charlie when all that happens is Jacob suddenly transforms into a doggie the size of a cow.

Charlie gets over everything soon after though when Edward and Bella send him on a fishing trip restoring his masculinity. No one brings up the "imprinting" thing with grandad.

Meanwhile, Renesmee is growing at an alarming rate. The baffling decision to CG a teenage actress's face onto a baby is one of the most alarming special effects I have ever seen, and has been haunting my dreams since watching the film. Even more unfortunately, a passing vamp sees Renesmee catching snowflakes 16 feet in the air and assumes she is a vampire child. Doh, she is a half-human, half-vampire child, you fool. Anyway, it’s hard to tell the difference and vampire children are BAD NEWS so she runs to Italy to tell Tony Blair, sorry Brian Cough, sorry Kenneth Williams, dammit no, I mean Aro (a magnificently bizarre Michael Sheen) the king of the vampires. Aro is the leader of euro-trash vamp cult The Voltori, and this sets the scene for CONFLICT!

Readers of the book will know that it ends with one of the most heinous anti-climaxes in Young Adult fiction. Not so here. This is Hollywood, so it leads to a big scrap. Yay! Hooray for Hollywood. No, really.

Stephanie Meyer’s fourth and final novel was a door-stopping monstrosity capable of stopping a high-velocity bullet, so the decision to split Breaking Dawn into two movies is understandable (the potential enhanced box-office results were not a consideration, no siree). Unfortunately, there isn’t quite enough plot so BD2 feels somewhat padded – especially in the section where the Cullin’s recruit allies for the coming undead dust-up. This leads to the introduction of hordes of new characters that are given almost nothing to do. I did like the Oirish vampires, easily identified by being ginger and wearing flat caps. Begorrah!

Clearly, this is a pretty silly movie. But Twilight fans are perfectly aware of the series’ self importance and foolishness (probably more so than fans of 80s action flick) and the ludicrous camp of it all is half the fun. This instalment will also have you stopping the disc regularly to check that there really is a 12 certificate on the front. First, during the vampire sex montage, which includes slo-mo sparkly female orgasm. Yes that’s right, for all the whinging about Twilight being a pro-abstinence tract, it leads to a fore-grounded shot all about female pleasure. Write a thesis about that, dullards! Then, when the final battle comes, there is a satisfying amount of head ripping for a teen movie.

As a single film, Breaking Dawn would be impenetrable to non-fans, but as the second part of the story, BD2 simply doesn’t work as a standalone instalment at all. If you are a newcomer and want to know what the fuss was about, there is no point starting here. This is a movie for the Twilight faithful only. As such, it is probably the second weakest in the series after the deathly dull second film, New Moon. The high water-mark remains Eclipse, but Condon (director of Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh, and some other movies) has done a pretty good job of wrestling a messy and anti-climactic novel into two reasonably entertaining movies.

EXTRAS ★★★ There’s over three hours. Have I watched them? Do I look mad? Don’t answer that, let’s just give them a cautious ★★★ – no one will notice.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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