Bella has been transformed into a vampire at last but the birth of Renesmee, a child conceived with Edward when she was still human, raises new complications. The baby very quickly grows into a young girl, and when the Volturi learn of her existence they will stop at nothing to ensure her destruction. Bella and Edward must call in every favour available to the Cullen family if they will ever stand a chance of surviving the ancient and power-hungry Volturi.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) – Director: Bill Condon

Is Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 115 mins

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Horror

Due to important plot points, we would recommend that you watch the following movies before ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’:

REVIEW

Whether the decision to break up the final book in the Twilight Saga into two films was due to the fact the novel by Stephenie Meyer was 700+ pages, or due to the phenomenal success enjoyed by the Harry Potter franchise by splitting ‘The Deathly Hallows’ into two parts, we will probably never know. Certainly this split has made the pacing rather odd: ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ crawled at a snail’s pace and almost all of ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ consists of gearing up for a climactic confrontation with the Volturi, the elite vampire elders introduced earlier in the series.

What ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ does well, and should be enjoyed by younger viewers, is install a sense of impending doom. The countdown to the Volturi’s attack constitutes a threat that Bella, now newly turned into a vampire, and Edward, steadfast in his desire to protect his wife, daughter and family, must all work together to overcome. The presence of Edward and Bella’s daughter, Renesmee, as a forbidden child that must be protected helps to give a stronger sense of purpose to the narrative beyond the tortured dithering love triangle of previous instalments (something neatly solved by the very plot convenient ‘imprinting’ onto Renesmee of alternative love interest Jacob; guaranteeing her safety from the Quileutes wolf clan and ensuring Jacob’s selfless protection).

IS TWILIGHT: SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Almost of all of the potentially inappropriate content in ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ relates to the violence but there is around 5 – 10 minutes of strong sexual suggestion. A driving point of the plot in earlier instalments is that Edward was reluctant to be intimate with Bella as with his vampire strength he could unintentionally hurt her, even kill her. Now that Bella is newly transformed into a vampire this is no longer a concern and they indulge in some passionate intimacy. Edward rips Bella’s dress off and there is a sexual montage sequence that includes nudity, including bare shoulders, backs and sides. They lie naked by a fire (with Bella partially covered) and the dialogue deals with the fact that as they are vampires they do not need to rest, eat or sleep – the clear implication being that they are about to continue with more physical intimacy.

Bella’s new status as a vampire means that she quickly develops ‘the thirst’: an irresistible hunger for blood. She is taken out to hunt animals by Edward in order to quench this thirst. Although she is tempted by a passing rock climber, she eventually comes across a mountain lion and pounces on it, sinking her teeth into the big cat’s neck. There is no blood and this is quick, but the lion thrashes briefly and cries out in pain.

The reason that the Volturi are coming is because they think that Renesmee is ‘an Immortal’ – a child that has been turned into a vampire thus arresting their physical development. We are shown in a flashback which describes that these child ‘Immortals’ cannot control their thirst and their actions risk revealing the presence of vampires to the human world. In this flashback a child of around 6 – 8 years old is shown with blood all over their mouth. The voiceover states that such children ‘had to be destroyed’ along with whoever creates them. The sobbing ‘mother’ of this immortal vampire child is held down and her arms and head are ripped off her body. The head is then held up and thrown into a fire (the only way to ‘kill’ a vampire in the Twilight universe).  The child is then thrown into the fire as other vampires cry out in anguish.

As with all severing of vampire limbs in the Twilight Saga there is no blood, but the sound effect is like ice breaking and we see jagged fractured edges where the body part once was. As vampires are described as ‘the cold ones’ their destruction is like shattering ice. Violent, but with little gore. This happens on many occasions during the final battle that makes up 20 minutes or so of the end of the movie.

When the Cullens are calling in their favours, they recruit a large vampire called Liam. He is Irish in the books (although this isn’t particularly apparent in the film) and is shown to hate the English. He grabs a drunk English man by the throat and feeds off him – because he was singing loudly. This is done in the background but is treated like a comedy moment (although the English guy was not being offensive in any way). Casual murder like this may upset sensitive viewers but it is over quickly.

The rest of the violence is contained in the long final battle. As previous described, the method of killing a vampire consists of decapitation and this happens many times in the fight. The head is often seen to be directly severed from the body with accompanying ice snapping sounds and the camera often lingers on the face of the fallen character. The wolves attack by clamping their jaws around the heads of their vampire foes and shaking their heads viciously. Another wolf, who has been a minor but loveable character, is grabbed by a vampire and has their windpipe crushed. The body slumps to the ground and the camera focuses on its dead eyes and lolling tongue. There is a particularly graphic shot of a vampire having his jaw held open and the top half of his head ripped off. It takes several seconds to achieve this and the camera focuses on the slow splitting of the victim’s cheek accompanied by wet tearing sounds. This is by far the most violent shot of the film and we would advise caution here. As there is sustained violence for the entirety of this conflict we would advise a parent previewing this scene in advance before deciding to allow children to watch.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Injecting a much-needed sense of fun and action into the melodrama, ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ is entertaining in all the new elements it introduces. Whether it be Bella’s newfound strength (thankfully finally ending the over-done worry that Edward would hurt Bella accidentally), the various new vampire allies recruited as the Cullen family call in centuries worth of favours, or the large-scale fight where every character gets a moment of death or glory spectacle: ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ neatly and confidently wraps up the Saga, despite the drag factor of Kristen Stewart’s ever leaden performance and the almost unforgivable clichéd solution to the ending conflict. Fans of the series will certainly not be disappointed.

The potentially unsuitable content almost all relates to fantasy based violence, and as with previous instalments, this element should be of little concern to the age range that is likely to want to watch the Twilight movies, but due to the graphic nature of the content we would not recommend ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ to children under 10.

  • Violence:  4/5 (the final battle is protracted and in particular the part where half a head is ripped off is very graphic)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (several characters fall in the final battle and other characters cry out in emotional pain)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (one of the Volturi can emit a paralyzing black smoke which at one point is shown to pin a vampire to a wall. Also the anticipation of violence often leads to tense situations)
  • Sexual Content: 3/5       
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (various references to violence or sexual activities) 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of pulling together against a common foe, fulfilling your potential, and protecting your family.

Words by Mike Record

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