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November 16, 2012

'Twilight Saga' ends in fine 'painful but bearable' form

Whatever happens before it, the finale is a doozy, almost certain to be satisfying to fans and impressive even to the casual “Twilight” viewer.

But so much of what comes before that payoff in “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” the conclusion to “The Twilight Saga,” is mundane, dull, all talk and no action.

It’s a made-for-Lifetime movie about teen vampires, with talk-talk-talking leads muttering romance novel lines, a vast clutter of late-to-the-saga new characters, that same blue-grey production design, more digital wolves and incessant, insipid music.

In other words, pretty much what we’ve come to expect from this finally-ending never-ending saga.

Director Bill Condon (“Kinsey,” “Gods and Monsters”) never quite overcomes the sense that he feels this is all beneath him with this second half of the book he got to film to finish “Twilight” off. He’s still too-quick to look for the joke, none-too-subtle when looking for excuses to have Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner strip. But the barely-concealed contempt of “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” doesn’t show.

Bella’s baby, Renesmee, is growing up fast, but mostly outside of her grasp. A “newborn” vampire herself, Bella (Kristen Stewart) doesn’t know her own strength, so others nurse her child. Bella revels in her heightened awareness of nature, her sharper senses. She can toss hubby Edward (Robert Pattinson) around and have her way with him any time she wants.

“I was born to be a vampire,” she narrates. Then, she kicks the brawny Emmett’s butt (Kellan Lutz) at arm wrestling to show she’s wholly Cullen-ized.

Bella’s clueless dad (Billy Burke) has to be clued in. Sort of. The third corner of the love triangle, werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), must be placated and insulted. He calls the fast-growing tyke “Nessie.” (“You nicknamed my baby after the Loch Ness Monster?”)

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