Release Date: November 15
Break Dawn Part 2 is absolutely faithful to Stephenie Meyer’s chart-topping novel, which will come as great news to some and less so to others.
The saga that began in 2005 with the release of the teen fiction novel Twilight has now come to an end as the second installment of the fifth book in the series opens on the big screen. Bella (Kristen Stewart), the girl who fell in love with the vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally gets what she has spent thousands of pages longing for: everlasting life among the undead. In the last film Edward and Bella married, but soon after their wedding day the blushing bride finds her life threatened by an unexpected, rapidly progressing pregnancy. Edward is forced to bite Bella to save her life and the sequel opens with his teenage wife enjoying her first days of immortality.
The arrival of her daughter Renesme also solves another long-running problem. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the boy who was Bella’s best friend-turned-werewolf and Edward’s chief competitor, has magically attached his affections to her newborn child. Of course with the rapid rate at which she is growing – a seven year old inside of a few weeks – he won’t have long to wait for his bride. But the ancient Volturi, the vampire’s equivalent of royalty, believe Bella has broken one of their most ancient laws, so it’s anyone’s guess if Bella’s circle will live to see the new year.
Honestly, I make this sound better than it is. The chief problem with this film is that it takes 115 minutes to say what can be summarized in just over a hundred words. What fills the spaces in between are some unnecessarily prolonged love scenes and a vast amount of longing, pouting, crying and venting. As is so often the case with cult films, no-one is prepared to apply the red pen where it is most needed. This is not just the complaint of an outsider, but a scriptwriter who recognizes a missed opportunity when he sees one. Instead of making the most of the big screen to reveal a world that has captivated millions in print, Breaking Dawn Part 2’s slavish attention to Bella’s emotional turbulence actually reveals more of the story’s weaknesses. Jacob’s devotion to a young girl looks even creepier on the big screen than it did on the page, and Bella’s acceptance of it less likely. And our heroine does immortality no favours either. The prospect of spending an eternity with a young woman with the emotional elasticity of a paddle ball could only appear attractive to someone with the intelligence to match.
The real irony behind the entire Twilight series is that the fantasy Bella and her fans yearn for – beautiful, immortal and in love – is actually well within their reach. Daydreams about vampires in expensive suits with carefully mussed hair distract from the real lover who beckons. Do Bella’s admirers long for a body that will never grow old, never hunger, never admit pain – one that will in fact shine like the sun? It can be theirs. Do they wish they could run faster than the wind, step lightly enough to dance across water, and be able to finally see all nature in its infinite beauty, and their place within it? They can have all that and more. Most importantly, do they wish to never be parted from those they love and be loved in return by someone whose passion for them will eclipse their own? He too is there.
This is everything that Jesus offers to those who will come to him – and that is Bella’s problem.
The heroine of Breaking Dawn Part 2 may appear humble but she is the sun at the centre of her own solar system. Even her greatest enemy considers her to be ‘such a prize’ and most of the tension of her life revolves around who will love her more. Tasting the exhilaration of her immortal life, she tells the audience, “I was born to be a vampire.” What a tragic misstep, Bella. You, like all of us, were actually born to be so much more.