The concluding chapter of the outlandish fang-tasy series based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling books delivers a master class in constructing CGI mountains out of molehills.
The Twilight Saga: Treading Water would be more apt, considering how scriptwriter Melissa Rosenberg manages to expand 30 minutes of plot into two hours of anticipation and dread.
A climactic battle royale between the diabolical Volturi and the Cullens is certainly spectacular and director Bill Condon, who also helmed Part 1, orchestrates this special effects-heavy mayhem with verve.
Before all of the slavering jaws and severed limbs, the fifth instalment in the series doesn’t justify the decision by film-makers to cleave Meyer’s final book in two a la Harry Potter.
Substance is woefully lacking and there are only so many slow-motion smooches that can paper over the cracks before the most ardent members of Team Edward and Team Jacob will start to look nervously at their watches.
Part 2 begins with Bella (Kristen Stewart) re-awakening as a vampire. Opening scenes visualise her heightened senses. She sees and hears everything, contentedly falling back into the arms of lover Edward (Robert Pattinson)
Soon after, best friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) arrives and is taken aback by Bella’s rejuvenation. Jacob confesses to Bella that he has imprinted on their half-mortal, half-vampire offspring, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy).
Once the young mother recovers from the shock and accepts Jacob as her daughter’s protector, Bella and Edward settle into domestic bliss with the rest of the Cullen clan.
Alas, their joy is short-lived when Edward’s cousin Irina (Maggie Grace) mistakenly identifies Renesmee as an immortal child - an abomination under ancient vampire law.
She reports her fears to the Volturi, the vampire counsel led by Aro (Michael Sheen), Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl), and they marshal an army.
Aside from the impressive final showdown, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 feels like the dying breaths of a cash cow being milked dry.
Stewart and Pattinson stare dreamily into each other’s eyes to an angst-heavy soundtrack of Green Day, Ellie Goulding, Christina Perri and Feist, and make gushing declarations - “I’m never going to get tired of this!” - that inspire wry smiles in light of tabloid revelations.
Lautner appeases fans with another scene of gratuitous nudity, while Sheen devours the very expensive scenery as the bloodsucking elder with an unquenchable thirst for slaughter.
A protracted montage of the leading couple in clinches is yet more filler but Condon does deliver one nice touch by individually honouring actors from all five films as he fades to black. Credit where it’s due.
By Damon Smith