The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Directed by: David Slade Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: June 30, 2010
PLOT: While vying for the same girl (Stewart), a werewolf (Lautner) and a vampire (Pattinson) attempt to create an understanding between their species so that they may squash an uprising of rogue vampires led by a speedy redhead named Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard).
WHO'S IT FOR? New Moon separated the fans from the outsiders, and this third Twilight movie is starting to weed out the outsiders who do and do not consider the lives of vampires and werewolves to have possible romantic potential. As this movie continues the Saga’s apparent mission of mellowing out its youthful viewers, all should be prepared for some surprising (albeit brief) fantasy violence.
EXPECTATIONS: At this point, I have seen the Twilight movies once, and was not a big fan of either of them. With Eclipse, I was optimistic that 30 Days of Night director David Slade would be able to inject some pizazz into a series that was left in a brood with the terrible New Moon.
Kristen Stewart as Bella: In the story, she is at the center of the conflict. But here, Stewart is upstaged in importance by her eye-candy co-stars. In between shaking her body and not being able to choose which man would provide a better life for her, she is made an example of by the movie when it comes to sex. This round, Bella’s most striking feature is that she embodies the cause of abstinence, and how even the most “certain” of relationships can certainly wait for the time. It’s a step-up from playing with her hair, at least. Score: 4
Robert Pattinson as Edward: The vampire whose body once glistened like a disco-ball despite his cold, cold heart learns to lighten up a bit in this one, as he cracks a few jokes and can be seen sneaking in a smile or two on various occasions. Pattinson is still playing Mr. Brood, but seems less “dead” on-screen in this bout than in either of the two previous movies. As a character, more discussion of Edward’s past helps put into perspective the seriousness of his situation. It also confirms my suspicion that Edward learned modern romance by listening to too much Joy Division. Score: 5
Taylor Lautner as Jacob: Now with Bella settling down with Edward, Jacob becomes the over-emotional hunk who flies off the melodramatic handle in a number of instances. His rage is often shown through Lautner’s gritted teeth, while he speaks in a tone that isn’t an attempt at being calm – it’s a failure at not being boring. In every other instance, he lets his body create the presence that we ultimately remember him for. Thankfully, he has learned to cock his head to the side less, or has been informed that such a technique doesn’t stop him from being any worse of an actor. Score: 2
TALKING: The gouda from New Moon has seen a decrease in servings in Eclipse, but there are still a few dingers that will leave audience members groaning, unless they’re the type of viewer that considers the Team Edward/Jacob debate to be a serious issue. The script is not without a few amusing lines, the top example being when warm-blooded Jacob says to ice-cold Edward, “I’m hotter than you.” Score: 4
SIGHTS: The gloomy distinctive color scheme that has clouded the location of Forks, Washington is continued here, but lightened with a more bluish tint. As for the built-up action scene, the end result is too brief. But the wrestling-like combat is filmed with a fluid camera and loaded with intense vampire-murdering, which makes the moment visually fulfilling before it slinks away. Score: 6
SOUNDS: The option of using an “indie” soundtrack doesn’t work as well this time, with peppy alternative tracks becoming minor distractions to the scenes that should just stick to Howard Shore’s score. Especially during moments when violence is on the horizon, the classic score swells up and makes a handful of scenes feel more epic than they really might be. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: The massive wolf-vampire battle, simply because it had no problem presenting beheadings in between the rest of the movie's romantic moments.
ENDING: The conclusion is not as unnecessarily sudden as the one for New Moon, though this ending does leave us dealing with even more intense big-kid stuff.
QUESTIONS: What does David Slade think of the previous movie? When is Edward going to turn into a bat and fly away?
REWATCHABILITY: No, thanks. But those who will be watching this movie more times than I can even imagine, you know who you are.
In the beginning, there was a title card. It was not The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but instead, Eclipse. Where’s “The Twilight Saga”? It makes you wonder. What if this movie was by itself, and wasn’t sharing of the weight of a saga with two previously released feature films? Would a movie such as Eclipse have even a chance with a new audience if we were just introduced to these characters, if we weren’t told this whole series is a phenomenon, or even if vampires were not a part of some backwards fad?
No. It would certainly not. Should this be the case, with the movie taken out of its pop-phenomenon context, it would be exposed for what it really is: a slow moving series of life-deciding dilemmas that can usually be answered by an 8-year-old’s papermade “Cootie Catcher.” (Google it.) Eclipse further provides evidence that the entire series deserves to go the way of other insignificant secondary horror-romance movies that made the mistake of coming out before the year 2008. But even those deliver the elementary concept of thrills better of than Eclipse.
With the unavoidable context, Eclipse pushes the entire Twilight saga towards the domain of plain crappy romance-horror. The “romance” of the movie is delegated to which way of life the fawning audience member considers to be more exciting: becoming a wolf, or living forever as a vampire. Sure, there are connections to personal beliefs with these choices, such as whether a person believes in love lasting forever, or if they want the artsy kid over the high school jock. Nevertheless, the arguments have been made for both sides. Edward had Twilight to introduce himself and make his original case, and Jacob made his case for Bella in New Moon. Now, the debate of “Team Edward or Team Jacob?” is given a feature-length exploration with the whole slow-moving two hours of Eclipse. Even with marriage proposals, the overall romance is as dull as the stuff we witnessed in the heavily disagreeable New Moon, which makes it difficult for me to say whether this movie is really much of a step up from that miserable experience. You’ll hear a lot of people say that Eclipse is the best of the three. Okay, maybe. But, for example, is a “C-” really any better than a “D+“?
Here’s an analogy that the Twihards who are bound to declare war on me via the comment section will understand. The Twilight Saga used to be a newborn, especially with the first movie. But things have changed. The Saga is no longer out of control, and it seems to have lost much interest into sinking its teeth into newcomers. It’s certainly not fresh anymore. Now it’s this whole monster of its own, frozen in time. It is trapped in a boring, broody, redundant, and now questionably special existence.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10