7.02.2010

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE.

We all know my feelings on Twilight (if not, check out my review of the books, as well as my thoughts on the first two movies). In quick summation, I've seen all the Twilight movies in theater (though not since) and think they are vastly superior to the books... mostly because they cut out most of the stupid and add in everything awesome the books cut out or glossed over. So now that I've seen the next installment, does this trend continue? By leaps and bounds.

Eclipse starts a year prior where a boy named Riley (Xavier Samuel) gets attacked and turned into a vampire. Pick up a year later, and we have Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her shiny vampire boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson). Edward continues to ask Bella to marry him, and she continues to (illogically) turn him down, though begs to be turned into a vampire instead. Her father Charlie (Billy Burke) would prefer her to be with her old friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who just so happens to be a shapeshifter/werewolf (though not really a werewolf). And Jacob loves Bella and won't take no for an answer. Meanwhile, chaos is going on in nearby Seattle where Riley is building an army of powerful newborn vampires. Oh, and Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is back, hanging around the Forks forestry... (I wonder if these can be connected?). So now the Cullen family (Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, and Nikki Reed) must figure out a way to stop what's going on in Seattle while simultaneously protecting Bella before the Volturi show up to investigate (assuming they aren't responsible for it themselves) and find out that Edward hasn't broken his promise by not having turned Bella into a vampire yet.

Eclipse is considered the best of the books, and it is certainly the best of the movies thus far. Unlike the previous two, it wasn't even mostly so bad it was good. On the whole, it was actually a decent movie. Yes, it has its Twilight-y cheese and stupidness. The "I won't marry you, but I want you to turn me in a vampire so I can be with you forever" thing is still insanely idiotic and nonsensical. The dialogue is mostly horrendous (with a few scene exceptions) and delivered painfully. Because, as we all know, the Twilight movies are famous for their cardboard performances that can make Hayden Christensen look like Marlon Brando.

What made it decent was the fact that, similar to the previous movies, it added in a whole section that isn't in the book. Riley becomes a pretty huge part of the film, getting pretty much every other, or maybe every third scene. You see what's going on with him in Seattle, etc., which is only mentioned briefly every now and then in the book. Also, you get to see the creation of Bree (played by Jodelle Ferland), though she's pretty much only shown in two scenes--maybe one and a half--prior to the climax battle (and I would have liked to see more of her, which could have given the ending a bit bigger impact). And that's another thing. You actually get to see the battle! Again, like the other two movies, this one adds in an actual climax fight where the books did not. In this case, the book had the battle happen "off screen" while the fight in front of Bella was happening so fast she couldn't see it. The movie, on the other hand, shows it all. The only downside to all the action? It's almost completely bloodless... and for a very strange reason. I don't remember this description in the books, so correct me if I'm wrong... but the vampires here break off like ice when they're hit. It's very odd... almost comically so. I mean, it kinda explains the "sparkling in the sunlight" bit, assuming they're made of ice and/or diamonds. But it's just... strange.

Again, the acting is painfully dull, with only a few exceptions. Xavier Samuel as Riley, Taylor Lautner as Jacob, and Jodelle Ferland as Bree (despite her only having about half a line). Normally I have Ashley Greene's Alice and Anna Kendrick's Jessica in this list, but they're in the movie so little, it's pretty pointless to even bring them up. But Taylor Lautner continues to be really the only one of the main bunch to show any kind of range, which I know isn't true considering I've seen Kristen Stewart act very well in other things.

One thing that continues to bother me is how well, writing-wise, these books are adapted to the screen (while other adaptations, such as the quite recent Last Airbender, are adapted so poorly). I mean, honestly, these movies are not only faithful to their source material, but they actually improve upon them. The only thing I can actually think of that this movie left out from the book is when Charlie congratulates Jacob on forcing himself on his daughter and then subsequently breaking her hand... which I'm monumentally ecstatic they left out of the movie (it made me want to throw the book across the room for its stupidness). If any Twi-fans hate the movies, it's only because they don't realize how terrible the books are while reading them. Most of the dialogue and mannerisms come straight from the page. And I mentioned earlier how there were a couple scene exceptions that don't have the bad dialogue... I was very happy to learn that the tent scene was left in the movie, as it was probably one of the few things Stephenie Meyer wrote well in the entire series. And it's probably one of the best non-action scenes of the movie.

Overall, the movie has pretty good pacing, with only a few lags here and there near the end. There was a decent balance with the cheesy romance scenes and the added Riley stuff, giving the movie a sense of building suspense and purpose. The acting isn't any better than the last two, except where you'd imagine it would be (Taylor Lautner et al.). The visual effects, particularly the wolves, are much better than in New Moon, and they look really good. Really, it doesn't matter what this review says. If you haven't seen the first two, you're not gonna see this one. If you saw the first two, you'll see this one no matter what. I don't think I've ever heard of any Twilight fan that was on the fence about seeing the next movie. Unless, of course, you're like me and don't care for the series, but have a disturbing fascination... like watching a train wreck. It's not a bad movie. It's not great by any means, but it's not bad. And it's probably the first one I saw where I didn't feel completely embarrassed after having watched it. I can't not give it the following rating, considering I gave the last two this rating and I consider this one better than the last two... but again, know that it's not a score based on the film's quality, but of its entertainment value (whether that means it was actually good or so bad it was good).

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. The most disappointing factor of this experience? They didn't show the Deathly Hallows trailer before the movie as promised...)

3 comments:

  1. Some things I agree and disagree with:

    -I actually thought Twilight was the best of the books, due to the intrigue, and I'd LOVE it if SMeyer would ever finish out Midnight Sun. Those first twelve "rough draft" chapters were fantastic (in the Twilight sense).

    -I didn't care for Riley's acting at all. I thought his expressions and mannerisms were perfectly menacing, but as soon as he opened his mouth I nearly laughed. Horrible delivery. I also thought Taylor took a small step back with his acting. It's not fantastic to begin with, but there were parts that were barely more than line reading (the parts when he was wearing a shirt and I was forced to listen to him talk;)

    -As for RPatz & KStew, I think they've certainly come a long way from the first film (not as much lip biting), but their characters are so damn annoying it's hard to separate the acting from the shitty non-development of Edward and Bella. Together they are nauseating, but I think that's just the love story getting in the way. When they're with others (Jake or Charlie, for example), I think they do a more than passable job.

    -HATED the "breaking" effect on the vamps. That's not how it went down when the tore James apart in the first film. Why now? It's was comical, but it wasn't suppose to be. Horrible addition to the franchise.

    -The pacing was very good. I didn't look at my watch once. I always have trouble remembering the sequence of certain events in Twilight, because the pacing is so terrible.

    -So sorry you missed the HP7 trailer. I got it back-to-back with Inception, making me a very happy girl.

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  2. Rachel:

    - I agree that Twilight is the best of the books. I was just saying that most others consider Eclipse to take that position.

    - I didn't say Riley and Jacob were *good*. I said they weren't painfully dull like the others :P . Taylor Lautner, while not great, actually shows more range than Stewart and Pattinson combined. And the guy who played Riley wasn't great either, but at least he wasn't monotone.

    - Agreed. Charlie continues to be one of the best parts of the movies.

    - I'm right there with you... the "breaking" thing was stupid and really bothered me. And I was pretty sure they ripped James apart in the first one, but couldn't remember for certain. Though Travis and I were discussing it earlier today... figuring David Slade wanted to be hardcore with the violence, but the producers wouldn't let him be bloody, so they added in the "breaking" thing. But we'll talk more about it on the podcast.

    - Agreed again. I didn't look at my watch once, either.

    - Lucky!

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  3. Mrs. Thuro's MomJuly 4, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    I didn't get the breaking thing either. It was kind of cool, but it didn't go with THIS particular story. I can't believe they are making the last book into 2 separate movies. Are they doing it just to copy Harry Potter? Are they doing it just to make more money? They can't be doing it because the material warrants it, because we all know better than THAT!

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