The Twilight Saga: Doing to Vampires what Harry Potter did to Witchcraft.
Jul 6, 2010
"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 they share in the joyful anticipation of yet another chapter of Bella and Edward's ongoing saga. She doesn't know the pain that her words inflict upon me, the shame and humility that comes with subjecting a grown man to this question. I should not be in a position that might force me to choose between Team Jacob or Team Edward. No man in his thirties should have to make such a choice.
But the girl means well, so I am not impolite. I smile and tell her that I am here simply to see the film so that I can review it for my film-review site and podcast dedicated to bad movies, and that I probably won't like it. Therefore, I really can't choose a side in the film's romantic triangle, as I am ultimately indifferent. Not quite grasping my reasoning, the young goth cheerily hands me my ticket stub and waves me through. Her farewell comment slaps me in the back of the head like a dull, rusty hatchet.
"Enjoy the show!"
At this point, you will probably guess that I approached my viewing of Eclipse with a fairly heavy bias. In my defense, it is hard to view a film sequel without any preconceived notions, unless the sequel in question is a vast departure from the previous films. There is very little about Eclipse that is a departure from the first two films in the series, other than a new director and a few fresh faces. I know. I've watched the previous films, so I am entitled to my so-called bias. I have earned it, one painful minute at a time.
First comment: The film opens with a Robert Frost poem. If there is anything more annoying than a romantic teen drama that opens with the lovestruck female lead reading a poem, it would be a romantic teen drama that opens with the lovestruck female lead reading a Robert Frost poem. If that isn't bad enough, the poem she reads is Fire and Ice. I don't care how much Bela's choice between the undead Edward and fiery-tempered Jacob is, nor do I care that the intended audience is middle-school students. This is still a exceedingly lame choice.
The third film of the Twilight series finds the main characters in pretty much the exact position that they were in during the last one; Bela and Edward are still madly in love, Jacob is still a contender for Bela's love, and the redheaded vampire from the first film is still trying to kill Bela, Edward and his family of sweater-clad good-guy vampires. That about wraps everything up.
There is indeed a plot flowing through this familiar territory, but it is a rather thin stream of storyline, and the water isn't all that fresh. It seems that a local boy who ran away a year ago (in case you forget this, the film will kindly remind you every fifteen minutes or so until it becomes even more irrelevant) is now wandering the streets of Seattle raising an army of freshly turned vampires creatively dubbed Newborns for some nefarious purpose that just might involve Bela's angst-ridden heartthrobs and a few previously established not-so-nice sweater-less vampires.
Second Comment: Do we need to show the Space Needle in every Seattle shot? I can understand the establishing shots, but even well after the location of the young army-raising Forks-raised vampire has been repeated numerous times throughout the film, we are still subjected to the Space Needle looming ominously in the background. Apparently, when you live in Seattle, there is no escaping the omnipresent Space Needle.
Don't get all worked up at the thought of a vampire army. The word "army" is thrown around quite a bit, but the actual horde that ends up taking on the Cullen clan only number around twenty or so. The film actually takes the time to explain that a "Newborn" army is actually much more powerful than a human or older vampire army, so the audience shouldn't feel disappointed when the much-hyped battle against the Newborn army only finds the good-guy vampires and their werewolf back-up team outnumbered by a staggering two-to-one. Don't let the concept of an "uneasy truce" between the werewolves and vampires fool you either; for such a centuries-old animosity between two races of deadly creatures, they eventually band together with less trash-talking and glaring than is typical between rival lacrosse teams during a preliminary warm-up match.
Third Comment: Foreshadowing is a "literary technique used by many different authors to provide clues for the reader to be able to predict what might occur later on in the story." (Wikipedia. Sue me.) Showing narrated flashbacks and lengthy moments of awkward exposition that blatantly inform the audience what is going to happen an hour from now is not foreshadowing. It is annoying.
This is the first film in the series to be directed by David Slade, who also directed 30 Days of Night. He also declared that he would never direct a Twilight sequel when confronted with the concept during an interview. Later, shortly after accepting a huge wad of cash to direct a sequel in the Twilight series, he claimed that he was only joking when he had said that. Another funny joke was played on anyone who thought that Slade would bring some of the action in the ultra-violent 30 Days of Night to Eclipse. The two scenes that might by jokingly referred to as action sequences are both shorter than Edward and Jacobs exceedingly boring and pointless heart-to-heart on the mountain peak the night before the big finale. The first was a brief high-speed chase through the woods that resembled the speeder-bike chase in Return of the Jedi more than anything else. Remember the aforementioned two-to-one battle with the football team-sized "Newborn Army?" There's the other. You might want to count the "training sequence" as an action scene. I don't.
Final Comment: When a girl pressures her boyfriend to have sex, and he responds by warning that it could be dangerous, implicating not that she could get pregnant, but that he might lose control and kill her in the middle of it, it is really hard to have any respect for the girl that says "That's okay, let's try anyway." If this sounds to you like the lead-in to either an extremely hot sex scene or an extremely bloody murder scene, you will be sorely disappointed twice over. Instead, you will find yourself subjected to a minute or two of very intense hugging and clothing-smoothing that continues until the shirts of both involved become partially unbuttoned, at which point they promptly decide that they have gone too far. And thus is played the greatest joke of all upon the poor men and boys dragged to see this film with their respective partners, and whose moment of hopefulness is quickly and brutally squashed beneath the heel of Stephanie Meyer's cinematic stilettos.
Complaining about all of this is a moot point, however, as no one that wants to see Eclipse cares about any of this. All they care about is which potentially abusive boyfriend Bella (a name choice that is a slap in the face of any Bela Lugosi fan) chooses; the undead vampire that repeatedly tells her how much he would like to drink her blood as she dies, or the wild half-animal who has openly warned her of his potential for injuring her if he ever loses control around her. The fact that her indecision and dedication regarding this choice hardly changes from the last film shouldn't sour the fan base, either. It is so deliciously angst-ridden and illogically romantic that you could just die.
I don't want to be mean. I don't want to hate this movie. I don't want to tell the cheerful teenage Goth in the ticket booth on my way out of the theater that the movie she will probably see numerous times with her friends for free was the steaming pile of refuse that I thought it would be, and so much more beyond. But I'd be lying if I said anything otherwise. This is not a film. This is the third act in a four-part abstinence campaign disguised as a supernatural love-story that seems perfectly fine with teaching young girls to avoid sex, but readily risk their immortal soul or hideous disfigurement at the first dreamboat they bump into before graduation.
Eclipse sucked. So there, I said. It might be an unpopular opinion, but it is an opinion I have nonetheless earned. Just ask the young teenage Goth girl in the ticket booth that I made cry.
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 … more
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. … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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. … more
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, … more
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 … more
"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 … more
A writer, poet, and film reviewer working out of central New Jersey, editor and coauthor of Monster Rally,author of Performed by Lugosi, andco-host of the podcastsMovieSucktasticand Strangers in a Strange … more
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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.