Archive for July, 2010

04 Jul 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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They say love is a bitch, but trying to love the “Twilight” franchise may just be the trickiest love of all. While the overproduced and melodramatic piece of garbage “New Moon” strained my relationship with Hollywood’s latest overblown obsession, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” has reignited my intrigue in a cinematic journey that started so powerfully with “Twilight.” Returning to the heart of the series by exploring the uncontrollable nature of love, not lust, “Eclipse” succeeds in its sincerity.

To read Jay’s review of “Twilight,” click here.
To read Jay’s review of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” click here.

Image courtesy of Summit Entertainment.

It’s only been a few weeks since Edward (Robert Pattinson, “Remember Me”) asked Bella (Kristen Stewart, “The Runaways”) to marry him. Though certain of her feelings for her prince in sparkling armor, Bella stubbornly refuses to accept his proposal until he is willing to convert her to his kind. At the same time, Jacob (Taylor Lautner, “Valentine’s Day”) is pushing harder than ever for Bella to live a some-what more normal life with him. With tensions higher than ever between the vampire and werewolf clans, the two are brought together by impending threats against Bella’s life.

While the revenge driven Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, “Terminator Salvation”) still lurks in the Washington forests, a powerful, new-blood army of vampires is forming in Seattle, with the same murderous intentions as Victoria. Only by forming an alliance will the two clans, Bella, Edward, and Jacob ever be able to find peace.

Never before has there been such a dramatic difference in viewing experiences from the first three entries in a movie series. In “Twilight,” director Catherine Hardwicke established Bella and Edward’s awkward, yet passionate feelings with a somber look and feel. Director Chris Weitz’s approach to “New Moon” was quite the opposite. Injecting raging hormones and over-acting into an already ridiculous plot with even worse dialogue, the film turned into a blockbuster that served no meaningful purpose.

Working with a much stronger story full of self discovery, mature emotions, and well placed action, new director David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) brings this fantasy back into reality. Instead of being held down by feeble emotions, both the story and movie burst with veracity in the development of the relationships. Many characters, not just including the main three, are given time to develop. Even if the dialogue is as cheesy as ever, at least the delivery feels heartfelt instead of wooden.

Stewart leaves behind her orgasmic screaming and revives the innocent and driven girl that was introduced in “Twilight.” Bella’s relationship with Edward feels authentic once again, while her feelings for Jacob become more than a crush. Best of all, Pattinson and Lautner aren’t just on screen as pieces of meat, but actual guys with feelings. One of the film’s best scenes is when Jacob has to keep Bella warm during a snow storm because Edward physically cannot, yet the two engage in a conversation about their relationship with Bella and what it means to them.

Mushy feelings aside, Slade also brings a confidence in his directing of this franchise not seen before. From the somewhat brutal action sequences showing the loss of vampire appendages to the quick and direct pacing of the plot, every minute is well used.

Knowing that certain aspects of the male leads are the main draw for the “Twilight” series fans, there are also brief moments of pop-culture recognition.  Such instances include the scene in which Edward asks Bella, “Does this guy own a shirt?” when walking towards a topless Jacob, and later, Jacob telling Edward during the snow storm mentioned earlier, “Remember… I am hotter than you.” Any movie that can poke fun of itself earns instant bonus points in my book.

Seamlessly blending its fantasy elements with the stubbornness of human emotions, “Eclipse” is in fact the best “Twilight” yet. Now bring on that pillow biting sex sequence that everyone’s been talking about in “Breaking Dawn!”

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Release Date: Jun. 30
Director: David Slade
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality.
Grade: B+