Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn II

The Twilight Saga
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Michael Sheen

Director: Bill Condon

Indian Express Rating: **

HOUSES that don't need cleaning, money that doesn't need earning, degrees that don't need studying, dishes that don't need washing, food that doesn't need cooking, injuries that don't need healing... If you thought the vampire life as imagined by Stephanie Meyer was wondrous enough, you ain't seen nothing yet. For, in the finale, she throws in the baby with the bathwater: children that don't need caring.

The fruit of all that longing, panting and heaving, and some frenetic copulating, that Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) did for the past three films is a child "Renesmee" who, her mother says in all seriousness, grows "every day". Of course when Bella says it that way -- with Stewart putting all her lip-clenching seriousness into it -- "growing" means days segueing into months, months into years, and a child into a premature pre-teen.

Renesmee stands for the names of Bella's mother and Edward's "carer". But where you and I might notice a glaringly CGI-animated pretty baby, one of the vampires sees an "Immortal". As opposed to vampires who don't die, "Immortal" is a vampire child who kills for pleasure, doesn't grow and generally gets killed by the "Volturi" -- the latter being the law-keepers of the vampire world, led by a desperately devious Aro (Sheen).

When the Volturis decide to come for Renesmee, it is one of those moments from Twilight when the whole Cullen clan, including Bella and Edward, are gathered together staring lovingly at the girl mastering yet another art form. Then Alice comes in, carrying a large vase, has the "vision" of the Volturi and gasp! -- yes, crashes the vase.

As Volturis take their time coming, we get plenty of such picture-perfect moments. All of which involve everyone looking admiringly at Bella revelling in her new-found powers as a vampire. She spares a deer to kill a mountain lion, can control her "thirst" for human blood with ease, is very, very strong, and even has a special power of her own. When the "war" eventually comes to that, the delicate Bella proves as good at necking as chopping heads (the few moments the film does come alive).

In between all this, Bella and Edward do get their moments together. Don't expect an alteration in the conversation though -- changing nappies doesn't figure anywhere, nor thankfully what Renesmee feeds on (one tends to wonder). Don't expect a change in the background scenery either, despite all the books that line their shelves -- the doting Jacob (Lautner) is as always part of their home furniture, as happy to be leaned upon and overlooked.

When he calls Renesmee "Nessie", Bella turns screaming on him: "You gave her a nickname after the Loch Ness monster?" Not that Jacob has ever shown any respect for self or Scotland so far, but really, that should have sent him running.

One hilarious scene involves the Cullens training Bella to be "human-like" as her father comes visiting. It includes sitting slouched, "moving shoulders" to give the impression of breathing and sitting lips closed and legs crossed to control the "urge" to attack.

No wonder they do such a good job of being non-humans.

shalini.langer@expressindia.com

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