'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2'
Finally - finally! - the "Twilight" franchise embraces its own innate absurdity with the gleefully over-the-top conclusion, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."
This is by far the best film in the series. This does not necessarily mean it's good. But as it reaches its prolonged and wildly violent crescendo, it's at least entertaining in a totally nutso way.
The first four adaptations of Stephenie Meyer's mega-best sellers about the girl-vampire-werewolf love triangle (the final book was divided into two films for maximum box-office benefit) were, for the most part, laughably self-serious affairs full of mopey teen angst, stilted dialogue and cheesy special effects. Sure, they pleased their fervent audience, made billions of dollars worldwide and turned their three core actors into instant superstars. But they weren't what you would call high-quality cinematic experiences.
Now, Bill Condon (who also directed last year's "Breaking Dawn - Part 1") finally lets his freak flag fly. Here is the Condon of "Gods and Monsters," the one who loves lurid horror. Here is the Condon of "Dreamgirls," the one with an eye for panache. His final "Twilight" movie dares to have a little fun - it actually makes you laugh intentionally for once, teetering on self-parody as it does.
Like something out of a telenovela, Condon cuts between characters standing around staring at each other, the dramatic score punctuating each piercing look. Maybe they're reading each other's minds, sharing visions of the future or shielding each other from harm. Maybe they just can't think of anything to say.
Regardless, it's all prelude for the massive showdown that awaits in the film's second half. There have been teasers about a bold plot twist - and we wouldn't dream of spoiling it here because watching it play out with a packed and rabid audience is a complete kick - but Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have taken a big risk in deviating from the book, and it pays off big-time from a narrative perspective. It's kind of amazing that this thing got a PG-13 rating.