Director: Bill Condon; Screenwriter: Melissa Rosenberg; Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz; Running time: 115 mins; Certificate: 12A
The Twilight Saga signs off on something of a whimper with Breaking Dawn - Part 2, despite the best intentions of those involved to bring some extra punch and spectacle to Stephenie Meyer's source novel.
After four movies of yearning for the immortal life, Bella (Kristen Stewart) awakens as a red-eyed, fully-fledged vampire in the opening scenes and must acclimatise to her new physical and emotional state. Like Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the Cullen family, she's blessed with intense strength, lightning-fast speed and - finally! - is able to withstand sensational slow-motion vampire sex.
There's also the matter of her vampire daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), imprinted on by werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who becomes a target for the sinister Volturi. The clan's leader Aro (Michael Sheen) believes her to be an "immortal child", a young mind prone to tantrums and thus a potential threat to the vampire community. Thanks to Renesmee's parents, though, she's half-human, half-vampire and ageing to maturity at an accelerated rate. The Cullens begin to assemble vampire clans from across the globe - from Egypt and Romania to Ireland and the Amazon - to face the threat of Aro.
The problems surrounding Jacob's imprinting on Renesmee remain (something inherent in Meyer's novel), and outside of this awkwardness the character is reduced to a comedy foil, stripping comically in front of Charlie (Billy Burke) and finding himself on the receiving end of Bella beatdowns. With the increasing budgets, couldn't something have been done about the wonky wolf CGI?
The much-discussed tweak to Breaking Dawn - Part 2's climax, hatched by author Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, is one of the movie's biggest misfires. It gives director Bill Condon the opportunity to fashion a large-scale set piece, but it results in a dramatic stumble that brings to mind the awful twist in Oliver Stone's Savages. It's a switch that'll likely prove divisive among fans of the Twilight books, too, which have provided fairly strict blueprints for the subsequent feature film adaptations.
Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is marginally better than its predecessor, and houses a deliciously high-camp performance from Michael Sheen, but it's a movie that's preaching to the converted and one that doesn't have enough in its tank to recruit new fans to the series.