Friday, March 1, 2013

Video review: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2"

Before the Twihards pile on too quickly for my less-than-gushing take on the final episode in the “Twilight” franchise, I just want to state for the record that I actually have read – and enjoyed! -- the first novel of the series by Stephanie Meyer. And I even gave the third movie a positive review.

But the decision to split the last book, “Breaking Dawn,” into two parts was an unwise one. It left the entire fourth movie and the first half of the fifth feeling like an endless stretch of exposition. The filmmakers even introduce a whole slew of new characters at the 11th hour, most of who recede in the mind as soon as they wander off screen.

The final culmination itself, though, is filled with the sort of vital storytelling juices that seemed to get leeched out of “The Twilight Saga” halfway through. The story opens with Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned by her vampire lover Edward (Robert Pattinson) into a fellow nosferatu.

Their love child grows at an astonishing rate, but is viewed by the Voluturi, the vampire ruling clan, as an abomination. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the werewolf Other Boy vying for Bella’s hand, must lick his wounds and contend himself with “imprinting” on her daughter, becoming her hirsute protector.

Things build toward a huge battle, where vampire heads go flying and werewolf teeth get gnashing, that is genuinely thrilling. And there are some emotional exchanges that actually pluck the heartstrings.

Much like the rest of the series, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” wasn’t great. But at least it didn’t completely suck.

Video extras are generous including a seven-part making-of documentary that takes you through all the aspects of shooting the final two movies back-to-back. There’s also an audio commentary by director Bill Condon, and even competing features that allow you to jump to your favorite scenes featuring Edward or Jacob.

Movie: 2.5 stars out of four
Extras: 3 stars

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