Breaking Dawn, Part Two

The best parts of “Breaking Dawn, Part Two” are the opening credits and the closing “curtain call.” I have mixed feelings about what comes between the start and the finish.

The majestic scenery of the Pacific Northwest is photographed beautifully for the lead-in to “Breaking Dawn, Part Two.” Bella is now a full-fledged, red-eyed, immortal vampire, capable of amazing feats. Edward and Bella are staying at the gorgeous Cullen home in the woods.

Jacob, who “imprinted” on the newborn Renesmee in “B.D., Part One,” hangs alongside at the Cullen pad. Jacob has to be a sexually frustrated man/wolf as he watches his former flame with his former rival.

The Cullens provide the newlyweds with their own little cabin in the woods, where they enjoy a tastefully romantic roll in the hay before confronting the movie’s big issue: what’s to become of little Nessie (as Jacob now calls her): Will she be mortal or immortal? Should the child go away with Jacob? Will those rival vampires, led by Michael Sheen, want to kill off the Cullens, including the kid?

Sure enough, a showdown is looming. The Cullens recruit vampire friends from around the world—Russia, Egypt, Ireland, South America, etc.—to join in the battle. Jacob promises the wolves will fight on the side of the Cullens. After an extended buildup, the faceoff occurs. What happens next will be revealed if and when you see the movie. No spoilers here.

This is a movie that accomplishes its mission, which is to get Bella and Edward to “happily ever after.” But, after the wedding, conception and birth in “Part One,” this movie is a bit of an anti-climax. “Twilight” hardcores, who’ve enjoyed the first four movies, will have to see this one. Casual fans of the series may want to take a pass.

Was it a good idea to make the final book into a two-part movie? It worked for the Harry Potter franchise; it will likely be a money maker for “Twilight.”

Director Bill Condon adds a nice touch at the end of this, the final (we think) “Twilight” movie. There’s a sort of “curtain call” with a shot of each of the many actors with their names and character names. More directors, especially those leading films with large casts, should do this.

Snow White and The Huntsman

There’s a decent movie in here somewhere. “Snow White and the Huntsman” has a classic story, memorable characters, great special effects, spectacular settings and thrilling scenes. Yep, it has all the stuff we go to movies for.

But it gets off to a very slow start. I honestly found myself writing “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” type lines in my head during the first half of the movie. Some were funny. Trust me.

Also, while watching SWATH, there were numerous scenes and elements that made me think of other movies, from “Da Vinci Code” to “Shawshank Redemption” to “Star Wars” to “Narnia” to “Lord of the Rings” to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” That’s not a good thing.

Let me add that it’s hard to watch Kristen Stewart (as Snow White) without thinking of her portrayal of Bella in the “Twilight” movies. She has talent and shows stronger acting chops in “Snow White and…” than in those vampire flicks.

One more complaint: the mirror in this movie looks more like a big gong.

Chris Hemsworth plays the Huntsman. While we know him as Thor, he (unlike Bella, um, Kristen Stewart) was more convincing in his performance. He’s a bit of a ruffian redneck, but brings the romantic charm at the key moment. Charlize Theron as the Queen is simmering with wickedness and allows it to boil over in the film’s climax. If you’re a Charlize fan, don’t miss SWATH.

As with “Mirror, Mirror,” the light-hearted Snow White movie that came out two months ago, I LOVED the dwarfs! Very smart to cast top British character actors, all normal sized men, and cinematically shrink them.

SWATH’s director is a rookie, Rupert Sanders, a veteran commercial director. His feature film debut, while far from perfect, is an impressive effort. “Snow White and the Huntsman” has much to offer that will be more greatly appreciated on the big screen than on TV (even if you do have an 80-inch HDTV). If you can tolerate a few shortcomings, there is (as I mentioned at the top) a decent movie in here somewhere.

Breaking Dawn, Part 1—(The Newlyweds Get Busy!)

In the Twilight books and movies, the Cullens are “good” vampires. They dress nice, have a great house and respect humans. Edward Cullen nobly chooses to refrain from sexual activity with Bella until they get married.

In “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1,” they get married. (Beautiful wedding, by the way.) So now here comes the skinny dipping and the rough sex. Nothing too graphic is shown, but there may be enough to cause concern among moms of young girls.

Up to now, their romance has been relatively chaste. In “TTSBDP1,” Bella wakes up on the morning after with bruises. You’ve allowed your 12 or 13-year-old daughter to see what came before. Will you allow her to see this? Or will you take her with you? Women of all ages are among those who love this whole saga.

Apparently Edward’s family never taught him about contraception. Which is actually a good thing. Had he used a condom, we wouldn’t have the main part of this story, which is Bella’s pregnancy.

Without spoiling too much, let’s just say that the birth of this child is not a neat and easy delivery. No, it’s bloody, messy and violent. After they clean her up, she’s a good-looking baby. Sadly, she is saddled with the horrible first name Renesmee. (Good luck surviving grade school with that name, kid!)

If you are deeply involved in the books and movies, you will appreciate the film depiction of Jacob’s “imprinting” on Renesmee. You will also appreciate the final shot before the credits roll.

If you’ve seen the other three Twilight movies, you are pretty much obliged to see this one, right? Should you go on opening weekend, be aware that many showings are already sold out.