*Warning! This article contains spoilers
A saga that began in entrancing gloom (the Pacific Northwest) and romantic impossibility (human falls for vampire), then lost itself in soppy self-indulgence, at last draws to a close. Stephenie Meyer fans may now put down their paper hankies; the rest of us may dispense with our paper bags.
This finale does at least bring into focus certain aspects of the whole, not least the way intensity has metamorphosed into a humourless solemnity and sexual coyness.
Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart), now entwined as married vampires, can apparently “do it” for hours, possibly years, at a time, leaving werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to play the thankless role of nanny to their daughter, the unfortunately named Renesmee.
What’s also become unignorable is its pandering to a fantasy lifestyle: its seems the 21st-century bloodsucker no longer inhabits crypts and coffins, but modernist homes or cute cottages.
And the extended vampire “family” prefers to pose in tableaux of cosy twos and threes, their tastefully dark duds styled as though for a fashion shoot: “Undead Threads”, anyone?
With their daughter’s half-human, half-immortal status causing a stir in the international vamp community, Bella, Edward and co must prepare for hostilities with those forces of darkness the Volturi, led by Big Chief Whey-Face Michael Sheen, cutting the ham with a sabre.
The seeming imbalance of power is redressed by the investment of previously unsuspected magic powers in the good guys. So no need to worry when Edward puts himself in danger, because Bella is equipped with an invisible “shield” to protect him. How convenient!
Having made us wait for the big face-off on a snowy plain, the film pulls the most outrageous con – so outrageous that you can’t even properly enjoy the moment Dakota Fanning gets her head torn off.
My step was light as I emerged from this Dawn, but only because it marked the end of a cringingly portentous and preternaturally boring series.