Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dakota Fanning, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Billy Burke
Written by Melissa Rosenberg
Based on the book 'Eclipse' by Stephenie Meyer
Directed by David Slade
Summit Entertainment, 124 mins., Rated PG-13
Plot: Bella wants to get vamped, Edward goes all 'NOOO!', and the evil redhead Victoria still wants Bella's guts in her hand, which causes problem for Eddie and his band of Cold Ones.
The biggest surprise of 2010 to this point is that the flicks I thought would be good basically end up being rather sucky, and the ones I thought would be Suckapalooza turn out to be pretty good. Such as the case with TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE. There's actually a pretty decent movie here, and most definitely the best of the three produced thus far. I don't think it has much to do with director Slade, or Stewart's continued deadpan expression, but Melissa Rosenberg's script which is quite good and the fun banter between Lautner and Pattison - which basically made the movie for me.
TWILIGHT and NEW MOON yelled and screamed to be made fun of, but somehow ECLIPSE comes off as a different sort of creature. This time, it's almost like they were trying. Like the cast and crew all got together (although forgetting to include Stewart into the conversation) and worked out a plan: "alright guys, let's try to actually do our jobs this time. We'll call it an vampiric experiment." Or something like that. [Damn, I'm lousy at creating fake conversations]
Anyway, onto the review. Much to my surprise, a majority of ECLIPSE begs the question that I've been wondering myself: why on earth would Bella choose a life of coldness and deadness with Edward instead of living with no difference to her current life situation whatsoever except inheriting a hunky guy with Jacob? The sad thing is, the movie still doesn't provide a remotely adequate enough answer, just that Bella will love "nothing like how much I love him [Edward]." Regardless, I'm more than pleased with the multiple scenes and flashbacks to Jasper and Nikki Reed's characters transformation from human to vamp, and how they didn't want this at all. In fact, they would do anything to be human and die. So, ECLIPSE, you get major kudos for that. I appreciate that 60% of the film is dedicated to the other side of the equation (instead of "I LUV EdWaRd, heS SOOOO hAwT, IM goNNa be A vAmPiRe 2!!!@@"), but you do lose points with Bella's reasoning for her decision.
Let's talk about Jacob for a bit. In TWILIGHT and NEW MOON, I honestly would have liked nothing more than for some horrible, terrible fate to befallen the emo-in-disguise sick-pack of a pogostick, but here he's actually a cool character. He's straight up with Bella: "Look, I love you. I know you do, and I know you love Eddie. But what type of life is that? I can offer you everything he is - protection, a man with super-strength, and a good body, minus the paleness factor - where's the bad side?" I appreciate that, and Taylor Lautner actually plays it nice and cool. Well, plays as in conveying a bit more emotion into his words and speeches than the last two flicks combined.
Actually, the conversations between Jacob and Bella, and Jacob and Edward are possibly my favorite parts of the entire film. For example, the conversation between Eddie and Jacob in the tent at night, where Jacob sort of torments Edward by cuddling with Bella (to make her warm), and they engage in a conversation. Hell if I recall the conversation, but there's multiple points where they actually have pretty good dialogue, where they say what they mean without leaving things dramatically and purposefully ambiguous just to create more problems. They were nearly being adult-ish.
The anti-adult, though, is still Bella Swan. Still played by the ever dull Kristen Stewart, who has shown zero improvement as a actress from TWILIGHT to ECLIPSE, Bella is a selfish, unintelligent, worthless being and still the worst role model I have ever seen for young adults. I'm not talking about the pinning and whining about Edward leaving in NEW MOON, I'm talking about a new brand of stupid: the whole choosing Edward over Jacob. Logically, it just doesn't make sense. Ugh. Shit, now I just might end up being labeled as a Team Jacob dude. Eh, oh well. Worth it. Bella is dumb, Kristen Stewart deserves a Razzie - especially when Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner, and the barely-onscreen Bryce Dallas Howard (newly cast as bad revenge-bound vamp kick Victoria) out perform her in every way.
As far as the technical stuff: Howard Shore of LORD OF THE RINGS fame (how on Earth did he find himself attached to this rubbish? Tell me!) delivers the best score of the three, with some beautiful themes and big epic war stuff, plus a good dose of ominous music to convey the freaky Volturi and nutty Victoria. Director David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT) definitely brings the cinematic feel, but I arguably believe NEW MOON's Chris Weitz performed a superior job. But still, Slade did just fine. The absolute best comment I can give Slade is that he continuous the visual themes established in the previous two, and continues to expound on 'em. Thankfully, though, the blue color tint is still bye-bye. The editors behind the project also deserve kudos, 'cuz ECLIPSE zoomed by rather quickly. But then again, there wasn't much story to begin with, so it should be expected...nevertheless, kudos. Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay is the tightest and more respectable of the bunch, but the Shitty Dialogue Syndrome still remains. George Lucas is probably happy as hell there's a worst dialogue writer in the world (aka Stephenie Meyer - taking into account Rosenberg is nearly translating the lines verbatim).
There's loads more to say, but there's also loads of other reviews, so I'm sure they could say it just as well. Overall, ECLIPSE is the best of the bunch. The script features some good one on one conversations, but still suffers some laugh-out-loud pitfalls of bad dialogue. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are surprisingly tolerable in their roles this time, and Kristen Stewart continues to chum out performances that make Lindsay Lohan look like Emmy gold. Not sure if BREAKING DAWN will warrant the two movie split (a la DEATHLY HALLOWS, which is justifiable), but I'll probably see 'em anyway. Went this far, why not see it to the end?
On a unrelated note, my mom finally succumbed and watching TWILIGHT. Yes, indeeder, me, mum, and the girlfriend had a blast riffing on the flick all last night. Now I sorta wanna do the same with NEW MOON. Guess we're gonna have to rent it. Alright, announcement concluded.
- Eddie stands in direct sunlight on more than one occasion throughout the duration of the picture, and he never goes all sparkle. Sadness. I anxiously look forward to that these days.
- I loved Edwards line, "doesn't he wear a shirt?" That was a nice meta-moment.
- What type of sound effect was used for the limb-ripping in the fight scenes? That completely got me out of the WAR!!! moment.
- I liked the sequence with that little gang of Volturi choosing to kill that newborn vampire girl post-battle. Brutal, and drives up the stakes.
- Poor Kristen Prout of KYLE XY fame, who had no more than two 1-second shots in the Jasper flashback. Oh well, at least I think she had a line. So, that's good, right?
- No matter how 'good' ECLIPSE is, I still firmly believe the Charlie character and actor makes these movies. His few scenes never fails to make me smile, especially this film's "The Talk" scene between him and Bella. Priceless.