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Archive for July 4th, 2010

 

Eclipse

 

I went to see the original Twilight movie as a fan of vampire movies, out of curiosity regarding the phenomenon that is Twilight and as an admirer of director Catherine Hardwicke. Although far from great there was enough good things about it to make it worth seeing. I went into the second film hoping Chris Weitz could redeem himself after the mess he made of The Golden Compass (2007). Whilst not the mess he made of The Golden Compass, New Moon lacked bite (as always with me the bad pun is completely intentional). So how did David Slade do with the third instalment of the licence to print money franchise? In short not bad.

After the turmoil of the previous movie Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) are finally together, happy and in love. They are planning for the future; graduation from high school, going to collage, possibly getting married and the small matters of Bella’s virginity, humanity, a potential love triangle with a giant dog and Edward‘s eternal damnation. All this is put on hold when an old adversary, Victoria returns (now played by Bryce Dallas Howard replacing Rachelle Lefevre from the first two movies). Then a series of killings in Seattle turns out to be more sinister than just a serial killer.

In comparison to the previous movie the acting is good. I have never had a problem with Kristen Stewart and believe she is a talented actress but Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson were very wooden in New Moon, here they are much more believable and actually share some genuinely funny scenes. That brings me onto another improvement the film has some really funny moments that I think/hope are intentional, the director isn’t afraid to make fun of some of the more ridicules elements of the story. The negative thing about the actors/characters is that most of the supporting characters are largely marginalised. Anna Kendrick, probably the most talented performer in the movie is wasted in a tiny role. The only character whose part seems to have increased is Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) who is given a lot more to do, his character has also developed since the first movie.

From a visual point of view, the movie is very well shot with great use of the stunning locations and well lit interiors. The visual effects are okay, the Wolves are still not convincing but they are better than they were in New Moon. There is a nice touch with the vampires, they appear to have a crystalline makeup, a possible indication of both there strength and the glittery appearance. There is more action than the other films and it is handled pretty well but again there could have been more of it. There are also a couple of effective flashbacks telling the back stories of some of the main characters.

The biggest criticism is a very poor sense of time and space, interestingly a similar problem hampered the directors previous movie, the otherwise excellent 30 Days of Night (2007). This is exacerbated by the structure of the movie, as is often the case with movies adapted from books it feels like a collection of little episodic scenes that need a little more to link them together. I imagine when adapting the book the writers picked out what they considered to be the key scenes and cut out the less important ones. It isn’t a major issue but it is conspicuous imbedding the viewers ability to be immersed in the story. The voiceover had the same effect, as it is only used a couple of times it was conspicuous when it happened.

A note on the finances of the franchise, with the other two movies already grossing over a billion dollars between them. At around $68million, this third instalment has a larger budget than the first two, but that is no great risk, it made its money back on its first day on release and is expected to top $200million by the end of the 4th July weekend. The final book Breaking Dawn will be split into two movies, considering the rushed feel to Eclipse this can easily justified creatively but lets be honest, it’s a cynical way of making even more money.

This film isn’t going to win any new fans for the franchise, but lets be honest, like it needs them!. It is however a dramatic improvement on the second movie and probably the best of the three so far. Chances are if you have seen the first two, you will see this one, if you haven’t, you won’t and if like certain people (yes Hatter I am referring to you ) you have developed an irrational hatred for all things Twi you probably stopped reading three or four paragraphs ago.

Three Stars out of Five

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