Review - Eclipse: The Movie
Warning: This review is full of spoilers so don't read it if you haven't seen the films.
I first saw Eclipse on Friday evening, but I waited until the second viewing to review the film. I have such a strong vision in my head of what I want each Twilight film to be that I'm inevitably disappointed when I first see it. Once I reconcile the film in my head with the film that actually is, I can truly appreciate it. I saw Eclipse again on Monday evening at IMAX. This time I absolutely loved it.
What I Liked:
Bella: Bella is so strong in this movie. She knows what she wants, and she's going to get it. She's not the weak little girl who needs to be rescued. I love how she stood up to both Edward and Jacob when they acted like jerks. The book Bella appears to be much weaker than the film Bella. But I've always thought her to be a strong, determined girl despite the fainting and quibbling habits. The film Bella displayed her underlying personality more clearly.
Jasper: I think I've switched allegiances. I am now Team Jasper! Oh my...Jasper was so incredible in Eclipse. And handsome. Jackson Rathbone did a great job. I loved his accent, his stance, his mannerisms, his fight instructions, his back-story...just about everything. I mostly liked his hair, although I thought it looked a bit fake from the back.
The Fighting: Wow. The fight scenes were great. From the first chase of Victoria by the wolves and Cullens to the training to the ultimate battle, everything was incredible. I need to watch it again in slow motion to catch it all. Everyone was so fast - running, flipping, and twisting. It was really something.
The Sparkles: So much better. The sparkling got a lot of lot of laughs in the first Twilight movie. It really didn't bother me though, because I wasn't looking to be critical and I figured they did the best they could with a low budget. After seeing the sparkling in Eclipse, the sparkles in Twilight looks like sparkly, hairy growths. I loved the sparkling in Eclipse - it really did look like shining jewels. (That being said I really do think they did the best they could with the budget in Twilight).
Charlie and Renee: Charlie is always one of the best parts of the Twilight movies. He's just so funny. I loved the sex talk. I thought both Kristen and Billy Burke portrayed the awkwardness perfectly. I also loved the little moments between Charlie and Bella when you understood just how much he loves his daughter. The scenes with Renee were very well done. They highlighted all that Bella would be giving up. We saw the end of her childhood and the potential for a future life (e.g. adding to the T-shirt quilt when she has kids) that Bella won't have with Renee. Bella's expression when hugging Renee was one of Kristen Stewart's best acting moments.
Jessica's Graduation Speech: It's only fitting to give Anna Kendrick a good speech; she's a star unto herself. I was sad that the humans only had a few seconds of screen time, but Anna did a great job with her time. The graduation speech was clearly meant to make Bella think It was all about choices. Jessica emphasized that nothing is permanent at this age - that they are at the stage to make mistakes, experiment, have fun, grow, learn, etc. And here is Bella, about to make a very permanent choice at a very young age.
-Jasper's back-story couldn't have been better. We saw his transformation, his fighting as a newborn leader, his relationship with Maria, and how emotionally draining it was to have to kill day after day. I did miss the story about Peter and Charlotte but I understand why it wasn't there. This is one scene that may even be better than the book.
-Rosalie's back-story was also well-done. I loved seeing her in period clothes and with Royce. The little scene with the wedding dress before killing Royce was better than I imagined it in my head. I wish there'd been more. I would have liked to see Carlisle find her. And a better explanation of Vera and her little boy. The best part was Rosalie's narration. Nikki Reed did a great job with her facial expressions and her wry comments: "I was a bit theatrical then." Through Rosalie's heartfelt and emotional lecture telling Bella why she's making the wrong choice, I really felt like I understood Rosalie better. Just like in the book.
-The Quileute legends were much better in this film than in the original Twilight film. I attribute that to the bigger budget. The costumes for the Quileutes and the "Cold Ones" felt authentic and they actually had wolves instead of wolf masks. The screaming that foreshadowed the phasing was kind of silly though.
Kristen's Acting: The tic is gone! Even Kristen acknowledged this in an interview. The blinking is gone too. I don't know if this is because Kristen is more comfortable playing Bella now or because she wants Bella to seem more confident. Regardless, she was much more enjoyable to watch.
Rob and Taylor's Acting: Both the boys were fabulous in Eclipse. Rob was so much more expressive in this movie than the others. We don't just see brooding Edward. We see him really smile, we see his sarcasm, and we see his romantic side. I also loved seeing him fierce and angry, whether it was rage at Jacob or in the fight with Victoria. Taylor was great as well. He brings intensity to Jacob. You can really feel how in love he is with Bella. I don't think he has the same acting range as Rob, but he's also a lot younger. He has a lot of potential.
What I Didn't Like: A short list, but I rarely leave a movie (or a book) without a few complaints.
Seth: Seth (Booboo Stewart) had a 30 second human appearance in the film. It was completely pointless. And poorly acted. I sure hope Booboo improves in Breaking Dawn when he has a bigger role, but I didn't believe him for a second in Eclipse. It was just so forced. It felt like he was reading lines of a teleprompter and trying to act enthusiastic.
The Score: I liked much of the score. I especially liked how they incorporated the melody from the Metric song. But in the lead-up to the battle scene, the score sounds really epic (the part where the Newborns are going through the water, and the camera pans across the trees and mountains ending at the campsite). It was overdone. Were they actually afraid we didn't realize something big was happening? I prefer something more subtle. The cinematography is also to blame at that part of the film. There were a few other parts where I noticed the overdone epic sound, but this is where it was most blatant.
Edward's Decision To Sit Out: In the book, Bella suggests that Edward sit out of the fight and Edward is horrified at the idea of not being there with his family. In the movie, Edward is the one who suggests it. I thought Bella's insistence that Edward sit out was very important to the book - it was her most selfish moment. One of the key points of Eclipse is showing how selfish and flawed each of the three main characters are through their various actions. Having Edward happily decide to sit out is a huge variation from canon.
Bella's Third Wife Moment: In the book, Bella cuts herself with the rock during the fight. Her sacrifice really doesn't "help" at all; it just makes Edward nervous. In the movie, Bella's cut seemingly saves Edward as it distracts Riley and Victoria. It's just too big a deviation from canon for my taste. As much as I would have liked Bella to save the day, she didn't. The movie shouldn't make her role into something it wasn't.
What did you think of Eclipse?