By Forrest Hartman
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
2½ stars (out of four)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand
The first movie in “The Twilight Saga” was a dull supernatural romance that showed promise yet never achieved emotional depth. Sadly, the fifth and final film in the series shares all the same traits.
Ostensibly, the “Twilight” movies are about werewolves and vampires, but the supernatural stuff has never been more than the backdrop for a classic love triangle. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is an average young woman who attracts the attention of a fledgling werewolf named Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and an aged vampire named Edward (Robert Pattinson). Through the series, the guys fight, and Bella finds her life endangered by the creepy crawlies who surround them.
By the time viewers get to “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” Bella has chosen a life with Edward, and the two marry and conceive a child. Alas, Bella’s human body is not strong enough to carry a vampire baby, and this forces Edward to change her into a bloodsucker.
In “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” Bella is just adapting to vampire life when she and Edward learn that the powerful vampire leaders known as the Volturi are about to attack them. Turns out these nasty guys believe Bella’s and Edward’s child is a forbidden creature, so Edward and his extended family prepare for battle. Jacob, although still emotionally wounded, agrees to help in the fight.
As with the previous “Twilight” films, the plotting is lightweight, the execution is melodramatic and the special effects are subpar. All these flaws are out of character for director Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “Gods and Monsters”), but even great filmmakers can stumble when saddled with weak material.
It doesn’t help that Stewart’s reading of Bella hasn’t improved over the years. The supposedly beguiling heroine never comes across as more than a sulky teen who has difficulties expressing emotion. As if in response to this, Edward repeatedly tells anyone who will listen that she is amazing. Perhaps his lines are designed to convince viewers because there is little in Stewart’s performance that qualifies as anything other than flat.
DVD and Blu-ray extras include an audio commentary by Condon and a seven-part, making-of documentary.