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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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

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Monster Mash

  • Jun 30, 2010
  • by
In "Eclipse", part three of the Twilight Saga (Twilight (Two-Disc Special Edition) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Two-Disc Special Edition)), director David Slade zeroes in on the "should she or shouldn't she?" question that has proved to be the pulsing lifeblood behind the popular teen quartet of novels by author Stephanie Meyer. However, as millions of fans already know--she does--and sadly, that takes a big bite out of the whole Team Edward versus Team Jacob rivalry, rendering the whole premise rather toothless.

In the last two films, none of that mattered, so why should it matter in this the third and in my opinion the most likable of the trilogy so far? Fans desire only to see their beloved characters brought to life on the screen. "Eclipse" does just that. Any criticisms regarding the senselessness of the storyline or the futile confusion of a girl that has already made her decision two books ago should be taken up with Meyer, not the director or screenwriter of any of the films.

The creation of an entertaining and faithful adaptation that enables teenage girls to swoon, scream and choose sides at the sight of the film's two hunky albeit warring leads, become better acquainted with the good vampire clan of "vegetarian" bloodsuckers, understand some of the characters' personal histories, delve into the native Indian lore of the Quileute tribe while presenting the typical boy-girl-boy triangle with a supernatural twist, requires some storytelling skills especially in a two-hour time frame that includes the additional nemesis of a marauding newbie vampire army as the ultimate plot driver. Slade handles all this well, managing his youthful cast with a tastefully chaste sympathy that adds a little heat, but not enough to get accompanying parents enraged by what could have been another of the usual messages of no-holes-barred excess that Hollywood delivers without a thought to delicate and burgeoning psyches.

True to Meyer's pro-abstinence sensibilities, Slade plays off the `fire and ice' motif (presented as a metaphor by Bella's introductory recital of Robert Frost's poem of the same name for the opposing natures of her two leading young men) juxtaposing Bella (wholesomely perfect Kristen Stewart) between the forever absolutes of male over-protectiveness--the icy courteous albeit bloodsucking Edward (the weed-whacker haired Rob Pattinson) and the fiery angry self-possessed Jacob (the deliciously shirtless Taylor Lautner). The audience can feel Bella's development from an uncomfortably undefined young woman to someone with the potential capability to face her own wakening desires without self-delusion or compromise. In this sense, "Eclipse" depicts teenage decisions with an age appropriate amount of confusion and wonder that seems generally gauged for this tale of Bella and the Beasts.

In addition to just the right amount of sensitivity with regard to the normally arising questions about just how far an actual teenage relationship should go, "Eclipse" tackles the larger question of choosing one's own destiny--does Bella want a human life with Jacob or supernatural eternity with Edward? Does her natural awkwardness transcend into a sense that the mainstream obviously just isn't in the cards for her? Bella is given the opportunity to explore this breaking aspect of self awareness in different scenes with different players: father, mother, fellow graduates, the wolf clan that wants her to stay human and the vampire fusion that understands her desire to fuse. Whether or not any of this actually works or not isn't the fault of Slade or screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. Again, any problems with the sometimes dimensionless dialogue between the players--especially the lines meant to convey jealousy and competition between wolf and undead--can be blamed on the circuitous adolescent whining conveyed in the original text by Stephanie Meyer.

The paradox for Slade or any other director chosen to do the next book in the series then becomes, "Should he?" or "Shouldn't he?" with regard to plumping up the thin material with some background flashback that will make the characters and their current level of desire for life, for love, for family and friends more understandable. He "should" but does he want to be attacked by legions of fundamentalist fans for interjecting impurity to their beloved books?

Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson work the material to the best of their abilities this time; their respective characters flow together with slightly more familiarity. However the melancholy tone still prevails--with all that danger aloft, how could it not? The basic chemical bonding between the two still seems to need a formula adjustment. Imagine Bella kissing and wanting to get close to a guy whose temperature stays in a steady arctic zone fit for a damp seal or frosty polar bear. That might work in the tropics, but in the wet Northwest? In the same respect, I don't understand why a 21st century girl with Bella's experience or sensibilities would want someone tracking her as if she were Big Foot each and every time she decided to go for a ride in her truck. Meyer presents Edward as a prim and proper Edwardian, but no background story on his pre-vampire life shows us his soul. We are told that Bella and Edward love each other with a Romeo and Juliet whimsy--do we feel it? Where's the dramatic lover's theme music to pull at the senses whenever their two faces fill the screen? Non-existent--its the old "I'm being told" not "shown" no-no.

In that sense, don't see "Eclipse" unless you are well versed by either the novels (The Twilight Saga Collection) or the first two film installments. Slade doesn't bother to recap either of the two initial pinings for the vampire or the werewolf/girl-woman relationships. Instead he and the rest of the Twilight Saga franchise assume that the audience, a motley crew of pre-teenage/teenage girls and their twi-mothers have sat through the pre-midnight showings of Twilight and New Moon for the umpteenth time and now revved and ready for this latest adventure have taken sides as illustrated by the wearing of Team Edward or Team Jacob t-shirts. As a stand-alone, "Eclipse" would have a hard time explaining the motives for the action portion of the film--just why is the red-headed vamp(ire) Victoria seeking out Bella to feed her revenge? A little review would have served those not in the know well.

On the other hand Team Slade excels in fleshing out the vampire awakenings of the lovely but malignant Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and the Alice-smitten Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) in a far better way then Meyer does in her book--Meyer never covers that extra ground for Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), Alice (Ashley Greene), Emmett (Kellan Lutz) or for that matter, even Edward himself. Instead we are treated to glossy two-dimensional portraits of supernatural creatures we can only hope to understand via their similarity to vacuous supermodels--not based on their inner, very human, cravings.

The teen scheme cover-ups, so much a part of the novels (Bella constantly lies to both of her parents), thankfully is absent here. A child of divorce, Bella contends with negative feelings regarding marriage but is reassured that commitment does bite and can grow legs by the family of vampires and their forever mates and the wolves and their ability to imprint. So many lessons to be learned--and all within two hours or four huge books, depending on which medium best suits!

Technically, the computer-generated wolf colossuses look and seem real enough to want to snuggle against. Who wouldn't want one of those impressive mega-pets watching the old homestead? Parents need not be disturbed by any notion of excess gore; the action sequences of fast-moving cart-wheeling vampire martial arts works without any shredding of flesh with the usual blood fest associated with a battle involving just one hemoglobin slurper.

Bottom line? "Eclipse," the latest installment of the Twilight Saga delivers what its fans have come to expect--a faithful adaptation of the teen angst-driven triangle tale of Edward, Bella and Jacob. Even though, the audience knows from the start that the contest really has no substance, the Team Jacob camp remains strong, vigilantly wolf-snarling at Bella's decision to explore the subzero rather than warm her hands via wolf pelt. One hopes that dawn will never break, sadly we already know ahead of time that it does. Director Slade treats us to vampire birth flashbacks and teenage ponderings of the big questions regarding love, lust and eternity without being offensive or caving into the typical teen marketed extravaganzas promoting growing up too fast amidst the excess. Some dialogue weakness does not help the characters become more than 2.5 dimensional. However, the action sequences and CG images of both the glittering globin gulpers and their hirsute nemesises facilitate the fantasy in this fairytale adventure. This monster mash of newbie vampires, protective wolves, angling Volturi and the triangle of the Sleeping Beauty prototype meeting and greeting head on her greatest male fears is recommended for the fan and rated accordingly.
Diana Faillace Von Behren

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More The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (mo... reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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
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 …
About the reviewer
Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … 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.

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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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