Today is the day that fans have dreaded and detractors have longed for. With the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 on DVD, the series finally draws to a close...very possibly forever.
As someone who's never understood the appeal nor the popularity of the series, even on a so-bad-it's-good-level, I've always tried to give each installment a fair shake, as though it was the one that was finally going to reveal the big secret to me. Well folks, it took 5 movies but I think I've finally caught a glimpse of something worth getting excited for. Too bad it's too little too late.
The DVD package of course caters to Twilight diehards, offering not only the film but an entire second disc filled with Special Features that take them inside the making of Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2.
That’s all great if you’re already a fan, but what if you’re a Twilight novice and want to test the waters? Is there anything worth checking out? Let’s take a look:
The Premise: The story revolves around a young woman named Bella (Kristen Stewart) who moves to small town Forks, Washington to live with her Father and finish high school. While there she becomes involved with the elusive Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) who, along with his siblings, is something of an enigma at school because, as Bella quickly discovers, he’s trying to hide the fact that he's a vampire.
Bella and Edward quickly fall in love and much melodrama ensues as Bella attracts the romantic attentions of young werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and the general complications of a human/vampire/wolf relationship begin to surface.
In Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (which is based on the second half of the final book by Stephenie Myer), Bella has been transformed into a vampire after dying during child birth. As the undead, Bella exudes newfound confidence and shows talent at restraining herself from snacking on humans, which is uncharacteristic of the newly turned. She's also a new Mom to a rapidly-growing half immortal child named Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) who can transmit images from her mind by touch.
After a cousin of the Cullens' (Maggie Grace) sees Renesmee from afar and assumes that the family has turned a child into a vampire, which is illegal, she runs to the Volturi, a twisted vampire authority headed up by mindreader Aros (Michael Sheen, having the time of his life camping it up), to tattle. Edward's precognitive sister Alice (Ashley Greene) has a vision of the Volturi coming to kill them so the family sets out to gather witnesses to the fact that Renesee is a born half immortal and brace for a possible battle that may end the clan forever.
Oh, there's also a whole side story about Jacob "imprinting" on baby Renesmee (which basically means he falls in love with her on sight) but it proves to be mostly inconsequential to the film so it's best just to ignore this creepy twist to the world's most anticlimactic love triangle.
The Review: In veering away from sticking so closely to Meyer's dramatically inert novels, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has finally tapped into what could have made the series palatable for viewers other than teen girls and their weird moms. This film crackles with the promise of not only plot threads that actually move forward in an engaging manner but also characters that do more than gaze lovingly at one another while struggling to find variations on "You're so beautiful" or "I love you so much it hurts." The addition of several new vampires played by recognizable actors (among them Mia Maestro and Lee Pace, whose character I would watch an entire movie about) adds even more energy to the proceedings and when the film reaches its big climax, during which Rosenberg pulls a genuinely clever switch, you'll find yourself thinking, "Wait, I am watching a Twilight film, right?!"
The Features: For die hard fans only. There's the seven-part feature-length documentary called Forever Filming and a featurette entitled Two Movies at Once that describes how they managed the logistics shooting the two Breaking Dawn films at once when each are so dramatically different (aka one sucks and one doesn't). There's also a feature-length commentary by the film's Director Bill Condon with the main cast once more conspicuously absent. Lastly, Green Day provides a video for their soundtrack single The Forgotten.
What's Next: That's it for the series as it currently exists unless Meyer decides to dip back into the honeypot sometime in the future. In the meantime, fans going through withdrawl can look forward to the film adaptation of Meyer's unrelated book The Host which hits movie screens on March 29.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 hits DVD shelves today. Check out one of Toronto's many indie video shops to get your very own copy.