Disclaimer: I am a Twihard, but as I pointed out in my review of New Moon in reference to Twilight, I do not like everything just because it is Twilight. As moviegoers, we should all demand the best experience. The Twilight fans can get abused at times for their passion, but passion should not be mistaken for the expectation to love everything about all the movies. Here is my review of Eclipse—
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse continues the story of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). This is the third movie in the saga, and it is based on the third Twilight book, Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer. The Twilight Saga: New Moon ended with Edward proposing Bella after a confrontation with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) in wolf form. This movie focuses on the continuation of Edward and Bella’s relationship as they struggle with a possible impending marriage and Bella’s desire to become a vampire. Meanwhile, Jacob is still pining for Bella, hoping that she will choose him and a human life. The movie also has vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) continuing to try and track Bella down and kill her in revenge for killing her mate, James. Victoria decides to create a newborn vampire army to defeat the Cullen clan and kill Bella. She first creates Riley (Xavier Samuel) and he does most of the rest. Victoria stays in the shadows, evading Alice Cullen’s (Ashley Greene) gift to see the future. It all comes down to a fight between the newborns and an alliance between the Cullen clan and wolves, all in the name of protecting Bella.
I have to admit that I was not as excited to see Eclipse. I think the level of promotion of the movie was far less than for New Moon. The trailers were not very good, and we never got a true full, final trailer. Great trailers get you really excited for the movie. These trailers did not. It also does not help that there were rumors throughout post-production of disagreements between director David Slade and the production company, Summit. There were also reshoots very close to when the movie was due to be released in theatres. Do not get me wrong. I am still a Twihard, but I think Summit failed this movie. I am sure it will not put a dent in the box office numbers. I am hoping Summit can make the same kind of effort with promoting Breaking Dawn (Parts 1 and 2) as they did with New Moon.
The movie opens different than the first two movies with a small introduction to Riley in Seattle after a rainy Summit logo. It then phases to the title sequence with Bella having her expected voiceover. The movie is heavy on the dialog this time around. There are not as many corny lines which is a plus. There are still lines taken directly from the book. Overall, the three main actors, Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner, are better in this movie. (SPOILER) I still have qualms about Stewart being able to pull off a vampire in Breaking Dawn. They are not supposed to twitch, and that seems to be ingrained in her performance as Bella. The excessive eye blinking is still at a minimal level. Stewart still disappoints in the emotion category, as there are a couple of scenes worthy of a tear or two and she gives us nothing.
The action sequences are good. The fight training and the actual newborn fight are not as impressive as I had them in my mind, but still good. If anything, I thought they could be longer. There are quite a few “newborns wreaking havoc” scenes in Seattle. I really liked a chase sequence towards the beginning of the movie. You see a glimpse of it in the trailers. After some thought, I have to say that the chase is my favorite part of the movie.
I really enjoyed seeing the background on Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed). In the book, they are more detailed, but I am glad that David Slade included them in the movie. I do wish they had showed more of Rosalie’s incident. I realize that this is a PG-13 movie, but they could have showed her with Carlisle and Edward before she was turned. With Jasper, we find out that he is a Texan in the Confederate Army prior to being turned by a vampire named Maria. Some viewers may have never caught Jasper’s accent before this movie, but he really never had a significant amount of lines until Eclipse. There is also a background sequence on the wolves and the Quileute tribe that is pretty detailed and close to the book.
There are some new characters in Eclipse all played by relative newcomers. Xavier Samuel plays newborn vampire Riley well. Jodelle Ferland plays the young newborn vampire Bree Tanner. Booboo Stewart and Julia Jones play Seth and Leah Clearwater, the newest tribe members to join the wolf pack. Bryce Dallas Howard replaced Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. I still consider that the worst decision made by Summit. The whole time I was watching Victoria’s scenes, I was thinking Rachelle would have been so much better.
The wigs are still bad, especially Kristen Stewart, Jackson Rathbone, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s. I do not get how with the amount of money these movies have made, they cannot find better wigs. The bad makeup is not as noticeable to me compared to New Moon and Twilight. The CGI is better. The wolves actually look better than in New Moon. There is one scene with Jacob as a wolf and Bella that was pretty cool.
I noticed the soundtrack music was a little obtrusive to some of the scenes. It was like they had to use them all and crammed them in there. The way the songs were used was more reminiscent of Twilight. The score by Howard Shore was pretty good, but I did not notice any extraordinary pieces.
It may seem from this review that I have completely disliked Eclipse, but I did not. It was okay, but not to the bar set by New Moon. I find it hard to love a movie when you have something to compare it to that you really loved. It is a well-rounded movie, not focusing too much on the action or the romantic conversations between Bella and Edward. It was not this Twihard’s favorite movie of the series so far. I would not discourage anyone from seeing the movie, as I have read reviews of it that were glowing and call it the best of the saga so far. I will still see it again . . . and maybe again. The Twihard in me really wanted to love it, but all I can say is that I liked it.
I give The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 3.5 “GET SOME BETTER WIGS!” out of 5.
P.S. The first part of Breaking Dawn will not be out until November 2011. That means about a year and a half with no Twilight movie. How am I going to fill my obsession needs now?