Movie review: Violent 'Twilight' filled with romance



As a newborn vampire, Bella already is seeing red, quite literally.

Then she realizes that her best friend and fellow teenager, werewolf Jacob, "imprinted" on her baby daughter, which means he's bound and bonded to her for life. Or something like that.

As she rants about this "moronic wolfy thing," she smacks and flings him around, stopping only when she learns Jacob also has given the girl a nickname. "Nessie? You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?"

Just when it appears "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" is going to be a by-the-book adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel (above, pages 449-451) it takes a turn that had a preview audience gasping. It's like a roller coaster car that leans around a curve and almost seems to go off the rails before returning to the track and clattering to the entrance.


'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2'

2.5 stars = Average
Ratings explained
  • Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner.
  • Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity.

Or exit, as the five-movie franchise comes to a close.

Devotees of the four books about a teenage transplant to the Pacific Northwest named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) who falls in love with a century-old vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), much to the initial dismay of werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), likely will be satisfied. If you're unfamiliar with the movies or novels, you will be hopelessly lost.

The story picks up where "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" left off in November 2011. Newlywed Bella is now a fledgling vampire, still gauging her strength and powers, and realizing her daughter continues to be no ordinary child. Just as her name is an awkward blend of two other names, Renesmee is half-human and half-vampire.

That means she starts to grow and mature at a rapid rate but, when she's mistaken for an immortal -- a human child who's been turned into a blood-sucker, which is forbidden -- the rival Volturi coven makes plans to come and crush the Cullens once and for all.

"Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" is the most action-packed and violent of the movies, even as it playfully acknowledges why the newlyweds have a bedroom when they don't sleep. Their quaint, beautifully furnished cottage, however, looks straight out of a fairy tale or shelter magazine.

The movie covers just under half of the final novel but additional characters get short shrift and the franchise has never solved the wolf problem. The animals are still too big and betray their computer-generated roots, appearing to have been layered into the scene behind or alongside the humans.

Combine a wolf and little Renesmee, played by 10-year-old Mackenzie Foy whose face was often digitally pasted on other girls' bodies to indicate her rapid growth, in a single scene and you have two distractions in one. The imprinting will always seem creepy, even if handled with finesse on film, and Bella's dad (Billy Burke) is awfully tolerant of oddities for a police chief.

All of those drawbacks aside, the final film directed by Bill Condon and written for a fifth time by Melissa Rosenberg, sends moviegoers out with a double dose of romance, a return of characters such as Michael Sheen whose visiting vampire cackles with craziness, and emotional end credits.

As Christina Perri's song, "A Thousand Years Part 2" plays, they sweetly pay tribute to actors and actresses from the entire series. "Twilight" has always known how to give fans what they want -- oh yes, Jacob takes off his shirt one last time -- and that hasn't changed.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies. First Published November 16, 2012 5:00 AM


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