November 16, 2012

I was born to be a vampire: How 'Breaking Dawn Part II' compares from book to film

There is not much point writing a comparative review of Breaking Dawn, the final novel in Stephenie Meyer’s hugely successful Twilight series, and its 2012 film adaptation.

Just one day following the Australian cinematic release of the film, fans of the series will already have seen it at least once and will know in intimate detail every line, every movement, every scene. They will have discussed every plot point, and analysed each instance in which the screenplay may have deviated from the original novel.

And yet, there are some points that I feel the need to raise.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was suspenseful, and heartfelt, and for the first time in the entire series it gave Kristen Stewart an opportunity to shine in the role of Bella Swan.

Bella Swan the vampire is happy, strong and confident. She is no longer the morose and moaning Bella, struggling with unrequited love and low self-esteem. She has her family, she has found her niche in life, and she is complete.

This sense of wholeness, of certainty, flows through the rest of the film. It feels as though each other installment – from the initial Twilight film, to Breaking Dawn Part 1 – were just the teasers. THIS is what the fans have been waiting for, and they will not be disappointed.

There is a twist at the end, and it is fantastic! I found myself audibly, and probably annoyingly, squealing out combinations of “Oh my god!” and “No way!”

The finale of this finale is quite a treat. It is full of action, and drama – and you will be on the edge of your seat. And, better still, although it is a slight deviation from the novel, the fans will love it. When it played out across the screen, yes, at first I was surprised – but thinking back now, it is all so obvious. The new addition to the film was perfectly placed. It was meant to be.

The romance between Bella and Edward reaches its crescendo in this film – and not just in the physical sense. For the first time, I truly bought them as a couple. They seemed truly content and comfortable with each other, and it was nice to have this kind of closure as the credits began to roll.

The standout performance for me was from Michael Sheen. His portrayal of Aro is both splendid and chilling – complete with an eerie eye and a slither of the lips that is reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

I do have one criticism of this film. While the CGI has significantly improved with each film, the rendering of young Renesmee’s face is poorly done. The superimposed face of nine-year-old Mackenzie Foy on a baby’s body is particularly creepy and distracting. The actress herself though – once her face is attached to the correct body – is a delight: definitely a star to watch out for in future.

The verdict:

Book or Big Screen: Big Screen

The film is:  5. An exceptional improvement on the original

What's coming next? A review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower


  1. Aro is my favorite thing about this franchise. Michael Sheen is undeniably FANTASTIC in this series -- he knows it's hammy, so he hams it up to such a degree that Aro is FUN. I knew going in about the twist, so I had a lot of fun watching everyone kill one another off. ;)

  2. It's funny that you say that, Charity... I'm looking forward to seeing it again, so that I can really enjoy all of the action and not worry about the implications for the characters!