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The Twilight franchise’s decision to split Stephanie Meyer’s fourth novel, Breaking Dawn into two films was a bold one. Despite being over 700 pages long, there’s not a ton of action that goes down after the birth of Bella’s daughter, Renesmee. Apparently, screenplay writer Melissa Rosenberg felt she could go somewhere with two scripts, and in Breaking Dawn: Part 2, she comes through in a big way.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is a weird hybrid of an adaptation that follows the latter half of the book fairly closely, until the climax of the flick is flipped on its head and shaken so hard the audience’s heads might explode. The ending of the film is shocking, and it will throw its fanbase through a bit of a loop. The changes are impressive, but I wish Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay would have forged through with its premise and given us a conclusion that stuck to its guns.
If you haven’t caught Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, yet, please do not read this article. There are plenty of spoilers, but there are a couple in particular that will totally change the way you view the film.
Bella has immediate control over herself, but her thirst is far more apparent than the avoidable scratch she mentions when she first awakes as a vampire. Jasper still teases her and she does briefly go after the hiker, but she still has a little more baby vamp in her at the beginning of the film. This doesn’t really change Bella’s personality at all, but it does make the newness of becoming a vampire apparent, before she even energetically bounds through the forest.
Charlie’s whole attitude to his daughter’s “mysterious” change is completely different than in the book series. In Meyer’s novel, he doesn’t want to know anything, which is convenient for the writing, but doesn’t really make sense for a parent. In the film, Charlie has a desire to learn what happened to his daughter, but Bella pressures him into backing off. It’s a more fluid segue.
While we don’t get to see inside Bella’s head for the entire tenure of this movie, the flick uses vocal narratives from Bella on occasion to remind us that this is her story. This helps in moments were there is little action, including when Bella takes a car trip and explains, “Our trip North began…” and when she discusses being “born” to be a vampire.
The whole J. Jenks ordeal is streamlined, and there is no homeless-looking man to take her to a second location. The papers for Jacob and Renesmee, too, are easily secured. It may seem a little convenient, but director Bill Condon (or maybe Rosenberg) does a good job of determining when a book detail really matters to the timeline, and when it can be streamlined.
In fact, a lot of the details are cut out or cut down. Bella doesn’t get as much shield practice, there’s less time spent with the extended group of vampires who will witness, and (thank goodness) Renesmee doesn’t get a creepy promise ring from Jacob at Christmas, although she does get a gift. It seemed like there would be plenty of time to work in all of these oddities, but at nearly 2 hours, the script gets across as much from the book series as it can.
Alice shows up to the showdown between the Vulturi and the Cullen clan early, and helps it to move along its course. It’s a grand idea, to have her square off against Aro, the man who would wish to enslave her, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film.
A giant battle ensues with several members of the Cullen clan losing their lives. Jasper and Carlisle, as well as many of the Vulturi get knocked off by the writers, and it’s devastating and abrupt, and if things had continued to play out with such reckless abandon, Breaking Dawn Part 2 may have gone down as one of the greatest movie endings ever.
It’s still pretty great, but it was all just a dream. Alice’s skills come in handy when she shows Aro his future. This includes the aforementioned fight, as well as a great scene when Edward barely escapes from a volcano pit. The vampires end up talking it out, after all. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.
Purists of the series may not be a fan of Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but as a casual fan, the way the series closes out was far more entertaining than the book, and fairly satisfying. There’s nothing like sitting in a theater of stunned fans glued to the edges of their seats, and the shock value associated with the film more than make’s up for the creative license the film employs. There’s no doubt in my mind that this film works better than its literary counterpart.