The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
US BD Release Date: March 2, 2013
Original Release Year: 2012
Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity)
Running Time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 optimized for late night listening), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish
On March 21, 2010, I posted a review of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” on Blu-ray that my wife felt was (somewhat) biased, and is still a topic of discussion whenever I’m assigned to review the next Roger Corman film or “Mystery Science Theater 3000” set on DVD or Blu-ray. When the opportunity arose for me to review parts one and two of “Breaking Dawn,” the conclusion of the “Twilight” series, I asked my wife, Janya, to write the movie portion of these reviews.
Movie: 4 out of 5 (Janya’s rating)
Movie: 3.5 out of 5 (Todd’s rating)
Picking up exactly where Part 1 ended, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 opens as Bella (Kristen Stewart) awakens to a vivid, hyper-sensory world. Her newborn displays of agility, speed, and strength border on the absurd before returning to the more controlled, pensive character we have known as Bella. There are some funny scenes where Jacob (Taylor Lautner) strips in front of Bella’s dad to reveal his ability to transform into a wolf, and again when Bella puts Jacob out like a dog for his admitting to imprinting on and nick-naming her baby girl Nessie. Renesmee as a toddler has not only the theatrical makeup of the men of the Cullen clan, but CG changes to the toddler eyes and expressions make her look more like a stylized painting than a baby. The CG becomes less of a distraction as she grows, and Renesme (Mackenzie Foy) the child emerges as the vulnerable lynchpin of this story. Alice (Ashley Greene) remains a fascinating supporting character, at once the perfect sister, best friend, fashion designer, seer, and negotiator. An interesting array of complex characters is polarized into two sides of the conflict, with a wildcard hand of unexpected talents on the Cullen side. Edward (Robert Pattinson) plays the role of husband, leader, and father with characteristic understatement, but so much more is happening in this film that he is nearly eclipsed. The Volturi confrontation finally comes to a climax of an epic battle with a fascinating twist. For a fight where the only way to kill a vampire is to behead them, the scenes and sounds are sanitized, but retain a lot of great action. Aro (Michael Sheen) is revealed to build his empire of Volturi as an obsessive Machiavellian collector of vampires with unusual powers, at any cost. This disturbing obsession and the new relationships forged in the Cullen alliance leave the door open for more stories. We are left with a new balance of power and the sense that as long as life goes on there is hope, especially when there is family.
Video: 4.5 out of 5
The 1080p transfer, compressed using the AVC codec, retains the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, and replicates the theatrical presentation. Guillermo Navarro’s beautiful cinematography is rendered virtually untouched, with deep blacks, consistent colors that are well-saturated without blooming, and exceptional detail.
Audio: 4.5 out of 5
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track (folded down to 5.1 by my receiver) is of reference quality, with exciting use of surrounds and LFE while never drowning out the dialogue. Carter Burwell’s nearly wall-to-wall score benefits greatly from the increased dynamic range and higher fidelity.
Special Features: 3.5 out of 5
Audio Commentary by Director Bill Condon: Another insightful track from the Academy Award nominated director (for Dreamgirls), Condon discusses shooting two movies back to back, the various locations used, working with the actors, and praising the several visual effects companies hired for the film, notably Phil Tippett Studios and Hydraulx.
Jump To... (HD): Twihards can watch a collection of their favorite scenes of Edward (53:02) or Jacob (22:13) edited together. Unfortunately, the footage has been cropped to 1.78:1.
Forever Filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (HD, 93:17): A behind-the-scenes documentary presented in seven parts. Rebirth centers on Kristen Stewart. Renesmee looks at the CGI effects used to create the baby and casting the actresses to portray her. The Cottage shows the construction of the facade and interior sets of Bella and Edward’s getaway home. The Gathering introduces us to the new characters in the film. The Field shows how the open snow field was created on an empty stage utilizing green screens. The Battle gives viewers a glimpse on how the final climactic confrontation was filmed. And Forever wraps up the Breaking Dawn shoot, detailing what it was like on set during the last day of shooting.
Two Movies At Once (HD, 6:27): Shooting two movies back-to-back and the various international locations used.
The Forgotten (HD, 5:20): Green Day’s music video from the film.
Digital Copy/UltraViolet: Lionsgate is one of the few studios still providing both an iTunes compatible and UltraViolet portable copy of their titles (the only other, I believe, is Universal).
Overall: 4 out of 5
We can nitpick over this series of books and films all day, but in the end, the series did earn over $2 billion at the box office, worldwide. Part 2 brings a satisfying conclusion to the series, with impressive audio and video, as well as a set of extras sure to please most Twihards.
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