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REVIEW: 'Twilight' glows with excitement
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen
Director: Bill Condon
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence, including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Ahh, the life of a newlywed vampire. No need to sleep, eat or use the bathroom. All the time in the world to canoodle with your eternal love in a fairytale cottage.
So you’d think Bella (Kristen Stewart) could muster a bit more enthusiasm over her bliss with vampire hubby Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).But overall, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” brings on the over-the-top thrills, especially in a climactic battle scene, glimpsed in the film’s trailers, that’s the rare instance of a movie improving on a book.
And, thank goodness, director Bill Condon wisely jettisoned the silly telepathic talking wolves from Part 1 and simply let them growl and menace. Condon split Meyer’s fourth and final “Twilight” book into two parts. The new film begins right where Part 1 left off last year, when Bella has just opened her bright red eyes into the new world of vampire life.
As in the book, Bella immediately checks out her newfound powers, leaping effortlessly over a waterfall, running through the dense forest at lightning speed, scaling a sheer rock wall like Spider-Man in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. At least Pattinson manages to look pleased.
Meanwhile, last we saw Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), he was forgetting all about his unrequited love for Bella and doing some seriously surreal bonding with Renesmee, Bella and Edward’s honeymoon baby. This “imprinting” that comes with being one of Meyer’s werewolves is the most bizarre part of the book, and the author takes great pains to assure us that this love is pure, like a brother-sister thing for now, not just plain wrong.
Lautner, buff as ever, pulls it off, appearing as a doting protector. If nothing else, it’s uncanny how 12-year-old Mackenzie Foy really looks as if she could be Stewart and Pattinson’s daughter, or a kid sister.
Soon, wouldn’t you know, there’s trouble in paradise. First come worries about Renesmee. Half vampire, half human, she is maturing at an alarming rate. And then there’s the Cullens’ vampire “friend” Irina (Maggie Grace). She is about to pop in from Alaska for a visit and, viewing Renesmee from a far-off ridge, assumes the worst: that the Cullens sank their teeth into a human child and created an out-of-control immortal brat, verboten among vampires.
Irina rushes off to rat them out to the Volturi, the long arm of vampire law. These black-robed Italian overlords are only too happy to come administer their punishment: death to all Cullens. And their werewolf friends, too.
Not to reveal too much, let’s just say that the book’s anticlimactic ending gets a violent twist. While the vampires of David Slade’s “Twilight: Eclipse” shattered delicately like porcelain dolls when they died, these vampires get their heads ripped off. That’s reportedly the reason the movie was almost slapped with an R rating. At least vampires don’t bleed.
The changes make for a visceral, satisfying climax. After the ups and downs of previous “Twilight” films, it’s good to have the series quit while it’s ahead.