The many faces of Isabella Swan – ★★★
Dylan Moran said that a woman’s life is like a constant opera with masks falling to the floor throughout your life whereas men have one finger up their nose, the other hand on their dick and they get taller. This pretty much sums up the Twilight Saga.
We pick up two days after the end of Breaking Dawn Part 1, so newcomers beware there isn’t any recapping. Bella (Kristen Stewart) has survived the ordeal of child birth and being turned into a vampire by her one true love Edward (Robert Pattison). Her first hurdle is coming to terms with how Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted (a process where a werewolf commits to one person for the rest of their life) himself on her newborn daughter. This isn’t as creepy as it sounds and doesn’t cause much consternation. Where the tension comes from is the Volturi coven, lead by Aro (Micheal Sheen) who see Bella and Edward’s daughter Renesmee as a threat to all vampires.
The first thing to note is how bad the CGI is, with a franchise this big and for the final instalment you would think they could have ironed out the creases from the previous films. The biggest problem is with the baby Renesmee, it baffles me why they just didn’t get a child and alter her eyes instead of this ridiculous looking computer blob. This isn’t resolved until Machenzie Foy starts playing the child at about age 7. As there is much running in the film which vampires do at super speeds , fake scenery whizzes by in a blur, but again only highlights how clunky and shoddy the special effects work is. It isn’t all bad however as the wolves look ferocious and the effects for the final battle are more than convincing.
| o | – Who’s got the guitar?
The face off between the Cullens and the Volturi is the culmination and best act of the film. All elements leading up to this are a strange family reunion for the vampire division of the X-MEN. This involves lots of jet-setting and time wasted divulging each new recruit’s power. While this luxury is only possible as the final book was split in two, you feel the time would have been better spent on older characters. The sum total of time it takes Bella to tell her Dad what has happened is about 30 seconds and this is deemed acceptable after a mere question or two. This trait is ongoing throughout the film and having not read the books I am unaware if it is merely bad storytelling carried over to the big screen.
The face-off allows Micheal Sheen to shine and makes for a fitting climax to the saga’s fifth film, with a special mention for Jeff Imada who was the fight and stunt coordinator and does a superb job. The build up of tension is adequately released in a dazzling 20 minute fight. The film for me is not suitable for anyone under the age of 12, it has been given a cert of 12A which means younger children can go when accompanied by an adult but be warned there are too many heads ripped off in the final encounter to count.
The Twilight Saga is a love story with a twist and over the past five years countless audiences have watched the story of Bella and Edward play out. As I mentioned at the start Bella went from teenager to young adult to woman to wife to mother to vampire in the space of these five years whereas Edward got a haircut. We see Bella’s transition from a timid love sick girl to an almost indestructible force of nature hell bent on protecting the people she loves whatever the cost. The best dialogue is between Bella and Edward when alone with each other as this is the core of the whole series and felt like it had been slightly sidelined in the final film.
While Part I is still the best film in the franchise there is enough contained here to keep non die hard fans entertained. I won’t even mention the “Oirish” vampires.
USA / Directed By: Bill Condon / Written By: Melissa Rosenberg / Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner / 115min / Fantasy, Adventure / Release: 16 November 2012 (UK/Ireland)