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'Breaking Dawn, Part 2': A Finale for the Fans

Fifth and last in the blockbuster film series debuts, based on novels by Stephenie Meyer. Rated PG-13.

AMC Hoffmann near the Eisenhower Metro station is showing "Breaking Dawn Part 2" practically around the clock Friday, starting with a showing at 9:15 a.m. with 30-plus showings until midnight on multiple screens. It debuted there — and everywhere else — Thursday night to large crowds. 

The big finale of the Twilight Saga needs no help from anyone beyond their fans, thank you very much. You need but look to the scores of Twihards who lined up at movie theaters around the world over a week before the premiere.  These fans can rest easy. 

Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) gives them exactly what they expect. For the rest of the planet, it feels cliched and fangless until a rousing last act climbs so over the top it makes it almost worth the price of admission.  

The plot centers on concern that the old guard of vampires in charge, the Volturi, may want to eliminate what they see as a threat in Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward's (Robert Pattinson) newborn little girl. So, it's time to activate the Cullen's wide assortment of friends and distant vamp relatives and clans to help save the day! 

Unfortunately, there are some disappointing elements to the way the movie unfolds, most notably in the script. The newly introduced secondary characters are barely fleshed out and awash in cliche. The Irish contingent might as well have mentioned kissing the Blarney Stone, and the old country vamps "I vant to sock urrre blodde" accents induce titters and giggles instead of dread in the audience. 

The only real standout in the "Vampires: The International Collection" is the ever-dependable Lee Pace as Garrett, who takes his silly lines and chews them into submission.  

Meanwhile, the family worries and frets watching their new girl Renesmee (actress Mackenzie Foy, and Christie Burke in the flash-forward scenes), as Jacob (Taylor Lautner) hovers protectively nearby. Other troubles are afoot. (Poor Ed and Bella can't catch a break). The kid, which must be CGI, is creepy in the extreme, making the assorted googly red-eyed aunties and uncles cooing over her seem a bit bizarre. A more beatific looking child might have been some help for us to connect with their love and desire to keep her safe.  

Here in this film we do get slightly more extended scenes of happiness, a payoff to those who have suffered through so much unpleasantness earlier in the saga. However, danger lurks, as usual. After a slow-going hour of the same knowing looks of concern and hushed monosyllabic conversations we were subjected to in the last film, I'm ready for a "Cullen"-ectomy.  

Thank goodness, the Volturi come just in time to wreck the day and save the movie. Michael Sheen plays Aro with a mix of childlike glee and haughty deadpan, and has moments so delectably over the top, he makes fans of many a Twihard moviegoing companion. 

It is a battle scene toward the end of the movie, where blood sprays freely over the snow and heads pop up like flicked coins, that warms and entertains those less patient or committed to the sometimes saccharine, sometimes mope-tastic saga storyline. There is big fun to be had, as our valiant vamps and wolves and their enemies rip each other apart. It's like a camp St. Crispin's Day!

Ultimately, this is a movie created for the fans, and they are likely going to love it. They've been waiting a long time for the end of the story, and the film makers give them every opportunity to revel in the Bella/Edward partnership.  Extended scenes of marital bliss and coupledom abound. They also get to enjoy a much stronger, less whiny heroine, who stands up for her new family, come what may.  

Let me suggest to you, non-fans that there are many great screen romances and tragic creatures of the night in the history of film available to watch as close as your computer or your local store, both online and on DVD. Let the Twihards brave the multiplex with each other on this one. They'll enjoy it. They'll make the movie a record-breaking blockbuster. 

Then they can watch their favorite vampires fade, sparkling, into movie history.  

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