TBTS Reviews: The Twilight Saga, Part 3: Eclipse
Fellow Tweedster Paul the Geek and I have been reviewing the Twilight movies in the lead-up to the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2, the fifth and final film in the series. Check out our reviews for Twilight and New Moon, then read up on what we thought of Eclipse below.
Esquirette: Can I just say how truly surprised I was to find out David Slade would be directing this film? That guy did Hard Candy! 30 Days of Night! Several really cool music videos! I don’t know why he was interested in this kind of film, but I’m glad they got him on board. He could be trusted to make a good action film. And I loved the noir feeling of the introductory chase scene with the Cullens and the wolves.
PaultheGeek: This was definitely the most action-packed so far, inasmuch as Twilight can be action-packed. This new (3rd!) director certainly knows his fight scenes. The vampire vs. werewolf stuff was actually moderately exciting. But I found the way vampires died in this one to be a little silly, and certainly unprecedented. Apparently, when a vampire hits another vampire hard enough their heads can be knocked off as though they were a stone statue? Or something? Anyway, it was distracting.
Esquirette: I don’t think it was entirely unprecedented. The only vampire we’ve seen killed to date was James in the first film, and they tore his head off and set him on fire. They never said vampires could break like stone, but they never said they couldn’t, either. *shrug*
PaultheGeek: Still a lot of the same mopey, stunted teenage love bullshit as the first two. Fortunately, the principal actors seem to have finally (after 3 movies) settled into their characters. (Although Taylor Lautner is still terrible.) Kristen Stewart is better, but still pretty bad. Once again, Mustache Dad is great.
Esquirette: I’m Team Mustache Dad all the way. I did say in the last review that I think Robert Pattinson finally learns in the third movie to open his mouth when he speaks in his American accent, and it turns out I was right. He was so much better in this film. I think he got a lot of experience working on Remember Me (a surprisingly great film) in between the second and third Twilight movies. And his sideburns are amazing.
PaultheGeek: I am no longer Team Jacob. He’s just as whiny and mopey as the rest of them.
Esquirette: Edward says it best: “Does Jacob even own a shirt?”
PaultheGeek: I don’t remember if Carter Burwell did the score for #2. But his absence is certainly felt on this one. The guy is just a great composer. His music is always memorable. There was nothing remarkable about the score this time around. Even the soundtrack seems to have slipped a bit, in my opinion, although Muse’s “Neutron Star Collision” is pretty good.
Esquirette: I agree about the score, but disagree about the soundtrack. Overall, I think the Eclipse soundtrack is the strongest of the four that have been released, but the use of the songs in the movie was definitely not as good as Twilight or New Moon. For some reason I had in my head that the Eastern Conference Champions song “A Million Miles an Hour” played when the vampire army slowly rises from the water. I don’t know if I saw that in a trailer or as a clip before the movie was released, but in my head that’s how I see that scene, and it’s amazing. In the movie, the music that actually plays when they come out of the water is kind of… lame. I was looking forward to that scene, and then I was just let down when I saw it again.
PaultheGeek: It was good to see expanded characterization for some of the other Cullens. Rosalie’s story is a little trite, but I understand its significance for her character. Jasper (my favorite Cullen) was far more interesting, and I was glad to see an enhanced presence for him in Eclipse. Edward, Alice, and to a lesser extent Carlisle, have had their backstories. When do we get to know more about Emmett? Or even Esme?
Esquirette: In the books, you get Emmett’s story along with Rosalie’s, and Esme’s story comes in Breaking Dawn. But I think the movies leave both of them out. Don’t know why.
PaultheGeek: Speaking of Jasper’s backstory, it seems Stephenie Meyer’s writing has improved with this third book. She appears to have embraced the concept of parallel stories, drawing similarities between what happened to Jasper (and how he became a vampire) and the relationship between Victoria and her pet Riley. This same concept was applied to Bella’s recreation of the Quileute tribal story during the film’s climax. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was still eye-rolly as hell. But it’s nice to see growth.
Esquirette: I love Jasper’s story, and it’s even more expanded in the book. I definitely think that Eclipse the book and Eclipse the movie are the strongest of the whole series, though I really liked the second half of Breaking Dawn and I’m looking forward to the last film. Bella will finally become a badass instead of a whiny-ass damsel in distress who constantly needs protecting.
PaultheGeek: *sigh* Poor Rachelle LeFevre. I have never seen a more pointless mid-series replacement than this suddenly “new” Victoria. Nothing against Bryce Dallas Howard, she does a fine job. But it’s tainted by the fact that LeFevre had already done the first two and was perfectly fine as Victoria. I’d wager the decision to replace her with a (slightly) bigger name was made by much more cynical and douchey Hollywood elements. And the story behind the whole thing is pretty awful.
Esquirette: Summit claimed there was a scheduling conflict, but Rachelle LeFevre has denied that. It was pretty shitty of them to replace her at the last minute and announce her replacement without telling her first. Who does that? I don’t have a problem with Howard’s performance, but LeFevre was great as Victoria and would have done much better in Eclipse, I think. Part of her story arc is that she seduces newborn vampire Riley to get him to do her bidding, and I see LeFevre as more of a sultry minx than Howard.
At the end of Eclipse, we finally get Bella’s justification for wanting to become a vampire. She says she’s never felt normal as a human, and she’s always felt weak. “Literally stumbling through my life.” But with Edward and the Cullens, inside their world, she feels as if she belongs. She feels strong. And the only way to stay there is to become like them. I don’t know why it took Stephenie Meyer three books to explain that.