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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The third movie in the "Twilight" series released in 2010.

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There's Actually Some Bite There

  • Jul 4, 2010
Rating:
+2
Twilight is a phenomenon.  There's no doubt about that.  It's acquired it's fair share of love and hatred alike.  But nothing seems to be as huge as when a movie comes out.  You can always find the theaters packed by audiences with anticipation on the day of the premiere and obsessive fans who are wondering which team you're on.  Team Edward.  Or Team Jacob.  Eclipse is the third film in the series, based off the book of the same name.  While the first two aren't exactly that impressive, the third one has moments that actually make it tolerable.  That's not to say Eclipse is an incredible film, but it is to say that of you sat through the first two movies, Eclipse may be the best produced of the Twilight movies.  In hindsight that may not be saying a lot.  On the other hand, it does say a lot that I felt the need to be so generous to Eclipse.  There really are some moments that keep it from being terrible. 

The film begins by showing a man who gets attacked and turned into a vampire.  He's left out in the streets to bleed and transform.  This is your first hint that what you're getting is a slightly darker, grittier film than the previous two.  From here, Eclipse takes a lot of time to carefully build up a story.  On one end of the story is Bella and her relationship with both Jacob and Edward.  The two of them are pining for her affection.  Except it's a little hard to get along when Jacob is a werewolf and Edward is a vampire.  The first half spends a lot of time building this relationship between the three characters.  Particularly the one-sided rivalry between Edward and Jacob.  The movie makes no bones about who Bella wants.  There are many moments where the movie does a jumping game.  One moment Bella is with Edward and the next she's with Jacob.  All to slowly reveal to us that she happens to love both of them. 

Edward and Jacob can't get along, though.  They're mortal enemies.  At least until they have a common enemy.  A series of murders and disappearances have taken place in Seattle and they seem to be getting worse.  Edward informs Bella that it's not uncommon for vampires to do this.  Unsolved murders are the work of vampires often.  On the other hand when they start to realize what they're up against an unlikely alliance between the Cullen's and the wolves forms in order to protect Bella from mortal danger.

I can't say there's a whole lot to Eclipse that's exciting.  The acting doesn't actually get much better.  Robert Pattinson as Edward and Kristen Stewart as Bella just never seems to take off.  For as long as these movies have been done, it seems like the two only know two expressions.  The first is to look ridiculously upset about something and the other is starring longingly into each others eyes.  There are a lot of lines delivered quite dryly at some points... and far too hysterically emotional at others.  The first two movies were like this as well.  Taylor Lautner as Jacob isn't much better.  If the others always look upset or longing... Lautner seems to always look upset or happy.  The writing of the script doesn't help much either.  There's a lot of cheesy soap operaish kind of writing.  The romance and the love triangle is not going to make Eclipse that interesting at all.  In fact these moments are among some of the least interesting.  They permeate much of the movie.  And while Jacob makes for a slightly more interesting character than Edward the movie doesn't exactly do a whole lot in terms of making the rivalry interesting.  You just don't get the feeling that Bella is having an internal struggle at all.  At least not the way the movie seems to want you to think that she does.  For those who keep saying, "Well, read the book..." it's not as if Stephenie Meyer did a very good job with this either.  It's hard to care about Bella, even when she's in trouble.  She relies on her knights to handle just about everything, and spends so much time pining for Edward you're just hoping beyond hope that you can see what other characters may be up to.

The good news is that in this department Eclipse delivers.  There's a surprisingly large amount of story here.  Some of the supporting characters actually aren't too bad at all.  The movie spends A LOT of time giving you flashbacks.  Not all of them done very well.  For example, we get a flashback that gets too much of Bella spliced in just staring at whoever happens to be talking.  It interrupts some moments that would otherwise be some of the more interesting moments of the film.  Backstories such as Rosalie and Jasper actually ARE amusing to watch and see unfold.  They're not long, but they're sure as hell more interesting than watching Bella, Edward and Jacob have a big feud throughout much of the film. 

There are also some comedic moments to Eclipse.  But the film is much darker than the first two.  If you didn't love the first two films there's not much here to make you love the third.  At the very least, however, the film making itself has actually improved.  There are still a few editing mishaps, but the awful camera tricks employed in the second film are gone.  Eclipse doesn't concern itself with trying to be super artsy.  It seems to genuinely concern itself with entertaining the audience.  Even moments such as watching the newborns are much more straightforward.

That's not to say there's no padding.  There's a lot of padding in Eclipse.  Most of it is brought on by the fact that there's just far too much to swallow.  It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't forced to sit through moments of Bella and Edward simply staring at each other, or listening to Jacob whine at every turn.  As I said, however, the moments without them are strangely interesting.  If they'd cut down on the main three even by just a tad to give us more of characters such as Jasper, Rosalie or even more time with the bad guys, Eclipse might've actually been a good film overall.  The movie is just too long, stretching out some of its moments or sticking others in that aren't too important to the central plot of what's going on.  In particular many of the romantic scenes between Bella and Edward play on for a little too long.  By now no one should be shocked that the two are in love, but the movie just has to keep pounding it in during any moment where there just isn't a whole lot going on.  Some of the moments come off as time fillers.

Yet there are some moments in Eclipse that are absolutely--dare I say--fun.  Mostly some of the action sequences.  The battle at the end of the movie is actually quite fun and entertaining.  There's no blood, but you're seeing arms get ripped off and it's getting very violent.  It's not the violence that makes these moments special.  It's actually that we finally realize that Twilight can be more than an overly sappy love story when it wants to be.  It just takes forever to get there.  This is part of made watching the movie difficult.  The romantic moments between Bella and Edward... or the clashing of Bella and Jacob isn't really all that fun to sit through... but the moments outside of it are actually quite entertaining.  The battle at the end was just one of those moments.  There's another exhilarating moment earlier that involves the Cullens and the Wolfpack chasing their prey as she jumps between them.  It's not "great" stuff, but it helps what is otherwise a slow movie get off the ground to some degree.

It's our three main stars that just can't make the three characters they portray come to life.  Bella and Edward are destined to be boring characters.  When Rosalie has one of the most interesting moments in the film, while being one of the least featured characters... something is wrong.  Jacob may be loathsome in his own way, but even he's more entertaining to watch on screen than Bella and Edward who only seem to know how to stare longingly at each other.  Stuff like the battles, that chase and the backstory of Rosalie and Jasper actually help the movie more than harm it.  If only there could've been more moments like them throughout the movie.

If anything, Eclipse is better than the first two films.  You're getting a lot of the same flaws (to some degree) but at the very least you're also getting better movies.  Part of may be because of the first two, actually.  We've gotten used to Kristen Stewart's lack of emotion and Robert Pattinson only being able to make two faces that it would feel very awkward if they suddenly started acting instead of saying their lines like robots.

There's not a whole lot here if you didn't like the first two films.  It's nice that Eclipse at least tries to be a bit more serious about what it's doing than the first two films.  It's just a shame it didn't learn from all the first two film's mistakes.  In particular, there still hasn't been a lot done to really make Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart come to life.  Even Taylor Lautner manages to come off as though he has emotions and can do more than simply stare blankly.  If Eclipse had only made Bella and Edward more interesting... it actually would've been a good movie.  There's a moment where even the script's dialog becomes forgivable because there are actually story arcs presented that aren't half bad.  Unfortunately this just doesn't happen.  Normally I could live with that... but these are the main characters.  I should want to feel for them.  I should want to worry about them.  The Twilight films just haven't reached that pinnacle of character development yet.  For the first film this is okay, but by the third it's actually embarrassing.  In short, if you haven't begun to care about Bella and Edward yet... this movie isn't going to make you.  What you saw in the last two films is what you get.

In the end, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at least shows that the movies can have bite when they want to.  But I don't think it's too much to say that in terms of developing its two central characters... The Twilight films have let that ship sail three times now.  We get it... Bella and Edward are in love.  Unfortunately the films, as was the problem with the books, never dives any deeper than that.  If you've got patience and can endure some cheesy dialog, The Twilight Saga Eclipse is actually tolerable, to some extent.  You can't expect much of anything from Bella and Edward but you can, at least, expect something from the supporting cast.

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July 12, 2010
I'm with you and everyone else; Bella is downright emotionless and I can't get into her character at all. And a question; which character did Dakota Fanning play? I loved her in "I Am Sam" as the cute adorable little child she played, but I did not recognize her in either of the first 2 films!! Great review - my daughter, who is 11, loves Twilight so we will rent this when it comes out.
 
July 05, 2010
Wow, the best of the trilogy and only a +2? Why do you keep watching them then? ;P Well, I do appreciate the heads up on this. Great review! :)
July 05, 2010
I was pretty close to giving this one a +3.  But the more I kept thinking about Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's performances, the more I couldn't get over how... dull they were.  If it weren't for that the movie would've actually been good.  It's why I thought the second wasn't too bad in the long run, because Taylor actually had energy and emotion and it was much nicer than seeing Robert Pattinson.  This one goes back to that whole, "Every scene it looks like Robert Pattinson wants to eat her!"
 
July 05, 2010
Excellent review, I am only interested in this for the same reason as the last, Dakota Fanning. She impressed me in "The Secret Life of Bees" so who did she do in this, she was only at the end of the last but I hear she is in this one more.
July 05, 2010
Dakota Fanning is actually good at what she does here.  I mean she doesn't have to do much except come off as fairly scary... and she really does!  It's a very tiny role, but if creepy was what they were going for... they definitely got it.
 
July 04, 2010
Ok, I guess I'll have to give this a rent someday. "New Moon" was just painful to watch, but sounds like the battle can be entertaining. But then, maybe I'll see Underworld or Blade instead again. Excellent review as always!
July 04, 2010
Yeah, I couldn't believe how bad "New Moon" was. I figured that it would have to be an improvement on the first film since that was awful too, but then it just got whinier, more melodramatic, and the acting was even sillier. Truly a terrible film.
July 05, 2010
I was more okay with New Moon than the first one, actually.  When I say I'm very bothered by that Bella/Edward dynamic, I'm not kidding.  I thought New Moon was better simply because they DIDN'T feature Edward that much.
July 05, 2010
I'm with William. I'll probably just rent this one. Nice review, though. :)
 
July 04, 2010
Wow, so that's almost not bad, right? LOL! I've heard that this film is superior to the others, but that doesn't hold a lot of water does it? Any feelings about the fact that Rachelle LeFevre was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard?
July 04, 2010
It's superior to the other two films but... well, that's not hard.  It's like saying you're the skinniest kid at fat camp... you might be the skinniest but maybe you should consider that you're still there, at least.  Eclipse is like that.  It's the best of the lot (so far) but it's still bad.  That Bella and Edward thing is the most annoying of it, though.  I'm actually quite taken by some of the supporting cast.  As for Bryce Dallas Howard... I was okay with her.  She was better in the role, I think.
July 04, 2010
Really? Ah, maybe that's just because I thought Rachelle LeFevre was hot. I have a thing for feisty redheads. Mmmmm... Oops, sorry, I had a flashback to Molly Ringwald in my teens.
 
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More The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (mo... reviews
review by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As a huge vampire buff my fascination started with the books, which I read through in a matter of less than 2 weeks. The first movie, Twilight was such a disappointment to me, that I have been skeptical about watching any more. However, I continue to watch more as a thing a friend and I do together, but because actually they keep getting better. With this being a bigger budget film than the two previous Twilight movies, I was definitely hoping for better and it delivered.      …
Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This is the largest budget movie where the camera almost never moves. I mean how much does it cost to pan or actually zoom instead of cut? Also the fight scenes lasted about a minute combined so apparently all the money went into CGI wolves and glitter (last time I checked glitter was still pretty cheap unless they have invented a kind that you can in fact wash off). Finally, acting? Hello, I'm convinced the cast can read but cute stand-ins can do that for scale. I mean it looked for a minute that …
review by . April 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      I had been told Eclipse was the best Twilight movie. If by the best, those who hold that opinion, mean more half-naked Jacob, more intense staring deeply into one-another's eyes, more vampire action and kick-butt battle scenes, then they are correct.      I found Eclipse to be the darkest and creepiest of the Twilight series. Edward's obsessiveness over Bella is a trait that many a concerned mother has warned her daughter about. And I guess this …
review by . March 15, 2011
Dear Twilight Franchise --   I know that over the past handful of years you have been compared to the Harry Potter phenomina, which there is nothing wrong with since it was and still is wildly sucessful, but you should not have let that go to your head.  Just because HP is splitting the final story into two parts does not mean that you have to as well.  Yes Twilight blew up over night just prior to the first film.  Yes the books are a great YA (young adult) series that got …
Quick Tip by . April 20, 2011
Caption
While it's not nearly as bad as New Moon, Eclipse is hardly what I would call a great improvement in this series. The love story is as dull and the characters as vapid and self-obsessed as ever, though some much-needed humor is injected in to the series melodramatic love triangle. Part of the issue is with the poorly written script which all but glazes over any real characterization or plot and focuses more on longing glances and sighs of romantic frustration. Yuck. Another part of the …
review by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There's something funny about the Twilight Saga- both the books and the movies. The books are good, especially the last one (Breaking Dawn), and the first two movies are fair. So why did I still find myself standing in line like an obsessed teenager to see Eclipse, the third movie installment, on opening day? I'm still not sure, but I'm glad I did.   Eclipse is by far the best movie of the three Twilight installments. Of course, we see the whole Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle. …
review by . July 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Twilight Saga Eclipse
These movies just get better and better every time. I went with a friend to go see Eclipse, I was extremely excited to see what was going to happen. It was great to see that they brought in new vampires (newborns) to join forces with Victoria, and go against the Collin's. Little did Victoria know that the Edward's family join forces with Jacob's family. I loved every bit of this movie from beginning to end. However I tend to hate when they make sequels and the change the characters, …
review by . July 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What Pompted You to write a Review?   Well to start off Eclipse was a movie I was so anxious to see and many other die hard twilight fans. I anticipated the release of the movie (but didnt wait in line for the premiere thank you very much) and to my dismay was dissapointed.     How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   The Acting I might be to harsh on since many fans will tell me im wrong but these characters are not the best …
review by . July 06, 2010
posted in MovieSucktastic
The Twilight Saga: Doing to Vampires what Harry Potter did to Witchcraft.
"Team Edward or Team Jacob?"      The smiling goth in the ticket booth at the drive-in means no harm. Her words are not spoken out of spite or malice, and there is no malicious intent behind her question. She is simply trying to share in the excitement of the theatrical release of the third film in the Twilight series, based on the novels by Stephanie Meyer. As far as she knows, the only reason someone would be paying to see Eclipse opening weekend is that …
review by . June 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" abruptly ended with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) telling his girlfriend, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) that he will turn her into a vampire on the condition that they get married first. And so "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third film in a series serving as an extended metaphor for abstinence, begins with the two lovingly lying in a field of flowers, and you can sense the anticipation they both feel, especially Bella, who radiates with virginal longing. As bothersome …
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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is an upcoming romantic-fantasy film scheduled for release on June 30, 2010. It is based on Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse and will be the third installment of The Twilight Saga film series, following 2008's Twilight and 2009's New Moon. Summit Entertainment greenlit the film in February 2009. Directed by David Slade, the film will star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, reprising their roles as Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and Jacob Black, respectively. Melissa Rosenberg, who penned the scripts for both Twilight and New Moon, will be returning as screenwriter.

Filming began on August 17, 2009 at Vancouver Film Studios, and finished in late October, with post-production began early the following month. Because of scheduling conflicts, Bryce Dallas Howard will playVictoria, replacing Rachelle Lefevre who previously played her. It will be the first Twilight film to be released in IMAX.

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Details

Director: David Slade
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 4, 2010
Runtime: 124 Minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
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