Review: “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”

July 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm 1 comment

OK, I’ll admit it.  The Twilight movies are actually getting better.  It’s no secret that the first two Twilight flicks weren’t exactly shining examples of American cinema; they weren’t even good examples of how to adapt a book into a movie.  In this third outing, however, director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) adds his action-oriented style to the franchise, and with good results.

There’s really no point in covering the plot in detail, since if you’re reading this you probably already know what the plot is.  What I will say is that screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who is penning all the Twilight movies, has been able to make the story flow much more naturally, and most of the eye-rolling dialogue is usually the fault of subpar acting than an issue with the script.  Keep in mind that I have yet to read any of the novels, and my opinion comes from solely from the movie’s point of view.

I didn’t hate the first movie, in fact I was very indifferent toward it.  It wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen, but it certainly wasn’t the best, either.  New Moon, I felt, was a better movie, but ultimately boring and went on way too long.  Somehow, I found myself enjoying this movie, probably only because I’ve already invested myself into the characters and their situation.  It’s like this is my reward for wading through all the crap that came out the previous couple of years.

My biggest issue with the movies, apart from the acting, has been a lack of an overall driving force.  Yes, I know this is supposed to be a love story for tween girls and their moms, but that’s not enough.  Even Romeo and Juliet had an obstacle (the characters’ respective families).  The threat here comes in the form of a ‘newborn’ vampire army created by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is apparently some kind of badass vampire.  Actually, ‘army’ is kind of stretching it, since it’s more like a ‘gang’.  Anyway, Victoria’s still pissed off that her lover was killed in the first movie, and she’s now seeking revenge, while secretly being watched by the illusive Volturi.

The filmmakers also did a good job of building some of the tension between the two rival factions of the franchise: the vampiric Cullen family and the constantly shirtless Native American werewolf pack.  Their realization that this problem is too big for any of them to face alone was like the Allies putting aside their difference to stop the Nazis.  Now, I’m not saying that Twilight is comparable to WWII, but that it was nice to finally see these two opposing sides stop glaring at each other and finally get some work done.

Old problems with the first movies are still present here.  More than a few times I shook my head at heavy-handed lovey-dovey moments like when Jacob (Taylor Lautner) expresses his love for Bella, or when Jacob physically sneers at Edward (Robert Pattinson), or when Jacob has to act mad because he realizes that Bella just doesn’t want to be with him.  Basically, many of the problems of Eclipse rest with Lautner and his lack of range.  I won’t go so far as to say he’s a bad actor, but he’s obviously young and doesn’t have the working experience of his castmates.  Maybe offered a role that doesn’t aim for the tween crowd (no, Valentine’s Day doesn’t count), and he might actually do something else with it.

Um, yeah . . .

Long story short, I enjoyed Eclipse.  It’s kind of like how, in my opinion, the Star Wars prequels got better as they went along.  While I wouldn’t say I’d rather watch Eclipse over Attack of the Clones, I can say to anyone mildly interested in this movie that it’s not a complete waste of time.  If you’ve already resigned yourself to finishing the movie franchise, this will give you some hope that it’ll go out on a high note.

5.5/10

And will somebody please tell Kristen Stewart to FULLY CLOSE HER MOUTH when she’s not speaking?  Or when taking a picture?  Honestly…

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Abby Stevens  |  July 4, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I can say to anyone mildly interested in this movie that it’s not a complete waste of time. If you’ve already resigned yourself to finishing the movie franchise, this will give you some hope that it’ll go out on a high note.

    That pretty much sums it up. I thought the acting is better, but overall ECLIPSE was far more awkward than NEW MOON or TWILIGHT. Some of the moments just made me cringe. I’m not sure about BREAKING DAWN going out on a high note. Monsterously thick book or no, I don’t see how there’s enough there to justify 2 movies, especially since each movie will likely be 2.5 hours, and the climax of BD is decidedly disappointing, though I know where Bella ends up in her life makes the fangirls happy.

    Reply

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