the latest

« Screens

The Sun Sets on the 'Twilight' Saga

The Chronicle reviews Breaking Dawn Part Two
Kimberley Jones, 9:40am, Sun. Nov. 18, 2012

Box office analysts are anticipating a $275 million global haul by the end of the first weekend for the final film in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn – Part Two.

Your humble reviewer was one of those opening weekend seat-fillers. (The studio didn’t screen the film for press until after the Chronicle’s print deadline.) I’ve come to loathe the series, which kicked off with Catherine Hardwicke’s enjoyable 2008 Twilight – “a deliciously trashy mash of pulp and pop art that managed to take seriously its central lovers while maintaining a sense of humor about itself" – but degraded with almost every installment, marked by bad acting, an anemic view of bloodsuckers, and abstinence-only hectoring.

David Slade’s swing at third film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at least had some fun character interplay, but Breaking Dawn – Part One broke down completely. In my 2011 review, I wrote, “It was about the time a teary Bella literally begged her husband to fuck her that the Twilight series officially made the transition for me from more or less harmless Victorian-minded trash to something flatly pernicious.”

Part Two isn’t as bad, which shouldn’t be mistaken for a full-throatedendorsement. The Twilight Saga has never regained the brio and stylish swagger of Hardwicke’s series starter, but this capper at least moves the action away from all the sex-shaming:


“There continues to be little wit or subtlety to series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg’s scribblings (her script isn’t just on the nose – it breaks the bone), but Part 2 benefits by taking the will-they-or-won’t-they-be-together of Bella and Edward off the table ... which allows the film’s focus to expand to other concerns, such as the United Nations of exotically accented vampires that encamp to the Pacific Northwest for battle (though, it must be said, most of these thinly sketched parts seem to exist only to satisfy reader expectations) and the surprising maturation of the werewolf Jacob, and the human playing him, too, Taylor Lautner, who’s survived six years as a critical punching bag to emerge as one of the livelier actors in this last go-round. He and Michael Sheen, returning with a delicious giggle as Volturi-in-Chief, seem in on the joke, but everyone else toes the line in this slavish, straight-faced adaptation.”

Read the full two-star review in Film Listings.

Next in Screens: From the Vaults: It’s All in the Family With David O. Russell »