“THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN — Part 2” — 2½ stars; Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen; PG-13 (violence, disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity; in general release)
In “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” director Bill Condon has created an ending epic battle with twists that that will likely surprise fans of the series but keep them happy, too.
“Breaking Dawn — Part 2” picks up where Part 1 left off — with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) opening her red eyes.
Gone is the nearly emaciated and, at times, clumsy human. The “newborn” vampire Bella is faster than husband Edward (Robert Pattinson), beats Emmett (Kellan Lutz) at arm wrestling and has heightened senses, but she also possesses a thirst for blood that must be satiated before she sees her newborn daughter Renesmee, who has a beating heart and a unique gift of her own.
And, of course, she must also deal with how werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has wolfishly imprinted on her daughter (which effectively ended the vampire-werewolf conflict in Part 1 and Jacob assures them isn’t creepy), and figure out what to tell her father, Charlie Swan (Billy Burke), who is left mostly in the dark but is clued into the world of werewolves.
The new happier family dynamics are a relief from the angst and Edward’s moodiness in previous installments. Their greatest worry is about Renesmee’s (played by Mackenzie Foy) accelerated growth and how much time they might have with her.
The Volturi, the centuries-old Italian coven that are the impassioned enforcers of keeping the vampire secret, will have to be convinced that Bella is indeed a vampire.
However the happy family dynamic is broken when Alice (Ashley Greene) sees in one of her visions of the future that the Volturi and their guard are coming for the Cullen coven.
At the heart of the conflict are allegations that the Cullens have turned a child into a vampire, or an Immortal Child, as they are called. As vampires are frozen at the age when they are turned, Immortal Children don’t mature and have a very difficult time controlling their desire for human blood. The Volturi, led by Aro (Michael Sheen) with a guard of enforcers including pain-inducing Jane (Dakota Fanning), have long punished with death those who have created Immortal Children.
Renesmee has a human mother and vampire father and grows — something that is rare but can be seen and witnessed.
The Cullens reach out to their vampire friends, some with their own unique abilities, to stand as witnesses against the Volturi as they seek to protect the family. Alice, who caught Aro’s interest in “New Moon” for her ability to see the future, and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) have disappeared, but left a warning of when to expect the Volturi.
The vampires gather from Alaska, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Ireland, and a few nomads and a couple of anti-Volturi observers from Romania come, too. One points out Bella’s gift — a shield — which she attempts to develop to protect her family.
As the Volturi and the Cullens, werewolves and their witnesses face off on a snowy field, the word-twisting Aro isn’t easily dissuaded.
It’s an ending to a four-book and five-movie series that will keep those who have read the books on their toes but still satisfy as one of the more action-packed and exciting of the Twilight movies.
It truly earns its PG-13 rating. Bella and Edward show that they are still newlyweds who are very much in love and attracted physically to each other. They're also seen throughout the movie is the messy business of destroying vampires by beheadings, burning and other equally violent methods.
“Breaking Dawn — Part 2” is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity; running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.