Seven years ago, I walked into a bookstore and spotted Stephenie Meyer’s debut novel, Twilight. Since then, I was enamored with the world and characters she created. Despite years of obsession, criticism, drama, crazy, denial, and all the works… I can’t deny that I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with it. I am a Twilight fan, and this passion for it has changed my life in many ways. I would’ve never met some of my greatest friends. The Young Folks would definitely not have existed, if it weren’t for Lucy’s and my mutual love for Robert Pattinson. So when I was seated for tonight’s screening of the last Twilight film, Breaking Dawn Part 2, a quiet, yet unsettling, anticipation filled up in me. It hit me right then that this thing—this HUGE part of my life—was ending tonight. It was jarring how sad I felt because I wanted to feel relieved. Relieved that I could stop defending being a Twilight fan or even pretending I’m not a fan at all.
I must admit I was even more surprised when I began to tear up during the opening credits sequence, a first for a Twilight movie (the sequence, not me crying). Like with Part 1, director Bill Condon showed some beautiful imagery in that title sequence. With the integration of Carter Burwell’s score with the past scores of Alexandre Desplat (New Moon) and Howard Shore (Eclipse), I could tell it was important to just not end the saga, but to encapsulate everything that has brought us to this point. It also helped create a smoother opening, since the movie picks up right where Part 1 ended. Bella (Kristen Stewart) wakes up as vampire and immediately goes hunting to quench her thirst and check out her new abilities. It becomes clear that Bella isn’t like other newborn vampires. Her restraint against feeding on human blood seems to be unprecedented.
Things start to get funny when Bella finds out that Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted on her daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), which leads to a comedic confrontation between the two. But as we all expect, matters turn serious as Bella finds a way to tell her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), what happened to her, and oh, yeah… the Volturi find out that Renesmee is an immortal child. To try to sort out the truth about Renesmee and defend themselves against the Volturi, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the Cullens recruit their vampire friends from around the world. It all leads to a quite unbelievable climax.
The first half of the film does move rather slowly. I was getting increasingly worried that this may not end up being the finale that I wanted it to be. There are the sweet Edward and Bella moments. They didn’t feel as monumental as their scenes in Part 1. Moving on, the film hits its moment. And WHAT A SLAP FACE IT WAS. Sitting here, a couple hours later, I’m still wrapping my head around it. Fans will definitely find it completely staggering and emotional beyond whatever they can imagine. In that regard, I want to say Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the best of the series, with an honest twist on a story we have re-read millions of times.
However, as much as I am in awe of certain parts of this film, there were still some elements I found disappointing. One was the CGI for Renesmee. To put it bluntly, it was very bad. I know she’s not entirely human, but she looked too alien and unreal for most of the film. I couldn’t connect emotionally with her because she looked too weird. And it was very distracting; I kept hoping that they would hide her face. Finally, they stopped the CGI, and my eyeballs praised the Lord. They could’ve used the money they spent on Renesmee’s CGI on making the vampire-running look less hokey. As aforementioned, the first half is paced slowly. The recruiting and training sequences could’ve been more exciting. Maybe a cool, fast montage of different activities going on could have worked. It sort of made me wish that they had made Breaking Dawn into one long movie. Finally, why did they give Michael Sheen such free reign on his performance as Volturi leader, Aro? He was ridiculous and a little mocking. Sure, I appreciate movie self-awareness, but it messed with Twilight’s famous self-serious tone a bit.
Otherwise, I got to hand it to Bill Condon for giving Twilight fans an incredible finale. There were so many moments that made me feel very sentimental. The ending was beautiful, and it finished on a lovely note. It takes the story and the experience full circle. As the credits played, it brought me back to seven years ago when I first picked up the book and began to read it. Next, it took me to four years ago, as I flipped through homemade “Twilight Charades” cards while my friends and I waited for the midnight showing of the first movie to premiere. Then, two years ago, as I marched into Times Square with all the friends I made through the fandom to see Eclipse. Finally, tonight, when the credits finished rolling and “Bella’s Lullaby” soothed out of the speakers, and I was at the end of forever.
Twilight Fan’s Rating: 10/10 stars
Regular Rating: 7.5/10 stars
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters Friday, November 16th.