Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' does bring that promised 'great state of balance' [Spoiler Alert!]

As always, this The Twilight Saga: Eclipse review comes with a cautionary introduction: it is written by a Twilight fan, for Twilight fans.

STORY: Stephenie Meyer
DIRECTOR: David Slade
SCREENWRITER: Melissa Rosenberg

CAST: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Xavier Samuel, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dakota Fanning, Daniel Cudmore, Charlie Bewley, Cameron Bright, Gil Birmingham, Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz, Tyson Houseman, Kiowa Gordon, Booboo Stewart, Tinsel Korey, Julia Jones, Alex Rice, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Justin Chon, and Christian Serratos.

First of all, there’s been quite a bit of buzz about this film. It’s for good reason. Remember back in December when David Slade promised that the film was presenting a "great state of balance" between the love story aspects of Eclipse and the action sequences? Well, I was as skeptical as anybody, but he was right.

For the first time, with Eclipse, we get to truly step out of Bella’s shoes and into Forks (and Seattle, too). Kristen Stewart isn’t in every frame, but she’s in enough. Bella is there, and Edward is there, and Jacob is there, but there are also new, fresh faces that exonerate the tensions (or, when necessary add to them) of the “Twifecta” and lead us into new lives (and undeaths). This, in turn, makes the love story aspect that much more sweet and significant.

Obviously, there are three main book-based back-stories brought in with Eclipse: Jasper’s (Jackson Rathbone), Rosalie’s (Nikki Reed), and the Quileute wolves’ (told by Gil Birmingham as Billy Black). These are all beautifully done, but they are also quite quick (just as they were in the book). Really, they stand out for the fact that they give their respective characters a chance to shine and to share some perspective with our protagonist (which, in turn, helps move the story along). These are stories we’ve known for quite a while, thanks to the books. They play out very similarly to their literary counterparts such that there are few surprises – though that’s not to say they aren’t terribly fun (and theatrical) to watch.

Still, the real newness Eclipse ushers in comes in the form of Riley (portrayed by Xavier Samuel). The focus on Riley was something that we slowly came to understand as promotional materials for the film were revealed, but it is still fascinating to watch his story – not just from Bella’s or Bree’s perspectives – unfold. It is also fun to see how closely Riley’s ill-fated devotion to Victoria mirrors what could’ve been for Jasper with his Maria if there were no Alice Cullen. The freshness of this portion of the story is exhilirating.

Over all, the entire movie is still about relationships, though – how they lift you up, how they threaten your countenance, how they drive you to do things you might not have, and, finally, how they can heal.

What promised to be an action-packed film certainly was just that. The fight scenes are everything they were hyped up to be and then some. And even though there are a zillion TV spots and clips for this film, the best moments of the action sequences are left just for the theaters.

And the action does not trump the love story here. Not at all, actually. In fact, one of the most surprising things for me when watching Eclipse was how developed and strong the acting and dialogue delivery in the emotional scenes were. I loved Chris Weitz’s dedication to fans with New Moon, but the story didn’t give him the fodder for intensity the way that Eclipse did for David Slade. So, hands down, Eclipse has the best acting of the three so far.

I’ll stop there. It was excellent, and I know you will love it so much.

Some of you sent in questions for this review a few weeks back, and I’ll answer a few of them below. If you don’t want to read any spoilers don’t continue past this point!

• Flow of the movie, slow parts or is it fast paced? Lighting, too dark or a mixture?

There are some slow – perhaps paced is a better word for it – in the movie, but a lot of it is fast. Every important moment between Edward, Bella, and Jacob lasts just long enough, though, if that eases your mind.

• Are all the steamy scenes B/T Bella & Edward in the film? Ex. Leghitch, Bella trying to seduce Edward, etc.

Yes! With a few nice additional romantic touches as well. Hint: look for the color orangeish-red.

• I wanna hear about the difference in tone thx to DS

I think the tone was more serious but also more professional. It is a more advanced film than the prior two.

• Your opinion of the tent scene and J/B kisses. :-)

The tent scene was well done. As I mentioned, I thought the acting was a cut above in this one. I’m Team Edward, no doubt, but the Jacob and Bella mountaintop kiss was very sincere.

• Did it live up to the book and what scenes had to be cut out of the movie??

Oh yes, and not very many that I could recall.

• NM has some humor ... is there some in Eclipse?”

There’s quite a bit of humor in this one, but it’s subtle – very subtle, at times. Nothing obvious like “put the dog out” from New Moon.

Article by Twilight Examiner {Amanda Bell}

[Ina Noorazan]

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