After watching the disappointing Breaking Dawn Part 1 ten months ago, Twilight fans, also known as “Twihards,” are eager to find out how director Bill Condon will redeem himself with the grand finale. Or not. To prolong the suspense, Part 2 opened in Hong Kong on 22 December, one whole month after it premiered elsewhere in the world. But the wait is finally over.
I confess I’m a bit of a Twihard. But I used to get such dirty looks from friends whenever I uttered the word “Twilight” that I now hesitate to even admit I have seen the films. Truth is, superhero is one of my favourite movie genres – it is Hollywood’s reinterpretation of our beloved martial arts films. Just like X-Men and The Avengers, the Twilight Saga has all the trappings of a superhero movie. Each vampire is gifted with a special ability: Edward reads minds, Alice sees the future, and Bella is immune to vampire powers. In many ways, people in the real world are like that too. Every time I meet someone with great talent, be it a linguist, a triathlete or a concert pianist, I am reminded of the similarities between fiction and reality.
So that’s how I justify my guilty pleasure. Now back to the movie.
Part 2 follows a straightforward storyline. Edward Cullen and wife Bella’s new born baby Renesmee upsets the Volturis (vampire royalties of sorts), who have outlawed the creation of vampire children because, like human children, they tend to be uncontrollable. Fearing for Renesmee's safety, the Cullens go on a quest to recruit “witnesses” to tell the Volturis about the child’s true identity: a half mortal. The plot necessitates a line-up of new characters, each with an interesting ability. The Volturis, creepy and delightfully moribund in their velvet cloaks, get their fair share of screen time in Part 2. I am also happy to see more of Jane (played by the talented Dakota Fanning), a Volturi guard capable of inflicting excruciating pain on people just by looking at them. How we all wish we had her power!
Part 2 builds up to an epic battle between the Volturis and the Good Guys Alliance made up of the Cullens, the witnesses and the werewolves. Interestingly, none of the action sequences in the final showdown is in the original novel. Director Bill Condon makes it all up himself – the breathtaking battle scene and a rather elegant twist -- to create a more dramatic ending without straying too far from the book. On that account, Condon has more than redeemed himself after putting us through Part 1.
Part 2 ends with a series of photo credits for every actor who appears in the Twilight Saga. The curtain call is a sentimental and apt ending to a successful series. Worldwide, the five movies have grossed over US$3.3 billion, making it one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. All the books Stephanie Meyer has sold – and the movies she has co-produced – have made her a very rich woman. Her next Hollywood project The Host, starring Irish teen actress Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), is scheduled to be released in March 2013. It remains to be seen whether aliens will have the same box office draw as vampires.