Sunday, July 4, 2010

Review: "Eclipse" is Best "Twilight" Film... So Far

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 50 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
Running time: 124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality
DIRECTOR: David Slade
WRITER: Melissa Rosenberg (based upon the novel by Stephenie Meyer)
PRODUCERS: Wyck Godfrey and Karen Rosenfelt
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Javier Aguirresarobe
EDITORS: Art Jones and Nancy Richardson
COMPOSER: Howard Shore

FANTASY/DRAMA/ROMANCE with elements of action, horror, and thriller

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Julia Jones, Chaske Spencer, Gil Birmingham, Boo Boo Stewart, and Dakota Fanning

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight film franchise, arrives with a bang. Like the previous films (Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon), Eclipse is based upon a wildly popular and bestselling novel by Stephenie Meyer and continues the love story of high school student, Bella Swan, and her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen. Now, their romance is complicated by a love triangle that comes in the form Native American werewolf, Jacob Black.

As Eclipse begins, Seattle, WA is in an uproar over a string of mysterious killings, which the citizens believe is the work of one or more serial killers. However, the murders are part of diabolical plan hatched by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), a malicious vampire set on destroying Bella Swan. With the help of her pet, Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel), Victoria is building an army of vampire newborns – that are unruly, hungry, and messy in their feeding habits.

In Forks, WA, Edward (Robert Pattinson) continues to broach the topic of marriage with Bella (Kristen Stewart), while she continues to demand that he turn her into a vampire. Bella also tries to repair her friendship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), but Jacob wants more than friendship, which causes friction between Edward and Jacob who are already natural enemies as a vampire and a werewolf, respectively. As Victoria and her army heads to Forks, the vampire clan, the Cullens, and the werewolves of the La Push are forced to consider a truce in order to confront a common enemy. Meanwhile, Bella faces with the most important decisions of her young life.

The first proclamations regarding Eclipse that I came across said that this was the best Twilight film… thus far. Like the earlier films, this new one does what the series does best – brooding, oh-so-serious, teen melodrama. Bella and Edward’s love has reached an idealized fevered pitch with her willing to go all the way and he ever more determined to protect her. It seems as if Victoria is indeed dangerous to Bella, but not so much as Bella is to herself.

This time Eclipse also offers the audience action that is just as hot as the romance. The battle between Victoria’s wild pack and the Cullen-La Push coalition offer a more elegant version of the Underworld franchise’s vampire/werewolf battles, but are no less invigorating. The battle is so well shot and edited that the audience will lose itself in the reverie of fighting.

Much credit should go to Eclipse director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night), because it isn’t a coincidence that in this film, more than in the first two, the emotions are more potent and much more authentic. There is a scene in the film in which Bella’s father, Forks Police Chief Charlie Swan (Billy Burke), insists on discussing “being safe” and teen pregnancy with his daughter. The conversation is so awkward, but at the same time, it is good-natured with a sense of familiarity that would be expected between parent and child.

That entire sequence with Bella, Edward, and Jacob on a mountain and in a tent is a thing of power and passion, which is what David Slade brings to this movie. If The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the best of the bunch, it is because of Slade, along with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. They took teen angst, horror, supernatural romance, love triangles, and vampires vs. werewolves and squeezed the best out of them and distilled it all into a damn good movie.

8 of 10

Sunday, July 04, 2010


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