Three movies. Three directors. Three monstrous collaborations between Summit Entertainment and author extraordinaire, Stephenie Meyer. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the latest chapter in the tortured love story of a young woman and her vampire soul mate.
The third film picks up shortly after the previous film, New Moon, ended. Bella (Kristen Stewart) has been reunited with Edward (Robert Pattinson) and they are basking in their young love and planning for a life in which they will never again be separated. Bella is still struggling with the fact that in order to live a life with Edward she had to hurt her best friend, Jacob (Taylor Lautner).
The opening shots of the film are not of Bella or her voice, which had been the case for the previous two films, but of new character Riley (Xavier Samuel). The beginning sequence provides the viewer with the necessary back story on Riley, who is one of the main villains in this latest Twilight tale. It details his transformation from human to immortal, which will continue to play out as the film unfolds.
Bella and Edward are enjoying their freedoms and taking advantage of their time together. Edward reminds Bella that his parents gave her plane tickets for her last birthday to visit her mother and that they are about to expire. The couple travel to Florida where Bella has a chance to bond with her mother. It isn’t lost on her that this could be one of the final moments she ever spends with her as a living, breathing human.
When the two return home to Forks, Bella has a run-in with Jacob. He meets her at her school to warn her that Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) has been around and that she should be on her guard. Bella is stunned by this news, because she knows that Edward was fully aware that danger was near and kept it from her. Putting aside her feelings toward Edward, Bella begins in on Jacob and his lack of communication in their friendship. Determined to right her wrongs, she leaves with him in hopes of repairing their damaged relationship.
Edward and his family begin a training regime led by Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), in hopes of preparing everyone for Victoria. On top of her awaited arrival, the Cullens are preparing for something even worse. They learn that someone other than Victoria has been in Bella’s home and worry that either the Volturi or another vampire clan is on their way to start a battle.
While training and anticipating a potential war, Bella and Edward use some of their alone time to solidify their bond to one another. Edward asks Bella to marry him and she agrees, but in return he must be the one who changes her to vampire after graduating from high school. She also decides that she wants to experience one more thing before losing her human life and that is to be intimate with Edward. He is against even the mere idea of it, because he knows it would be too dangerous. After a lengthy conversation, he agrees to try, but only after saying “I do.”
The Cullens and the wolf pack come together to battle Victoria and the other vampires. Edward and Jacob work as one to protect Bella by bringing her to the top of a mountain, away from the upcoming action. The men have a heated, but personal, conversation of their own as they try to see what it must be like for the other when they both love the same woman. Bella finds herself in a position she would have been happy to ignore as Jacob learns her secret and threatens to act foolishly in the vampire war.
The triangle comes to a head as Bella gives in for a brief moment to her feelings for Jacob, only to realize that she’s already made her decision. The battle begins with Victoria on a path of destruction; she only has eyes for Bella and her undoing. While the Cullens and pack tackle the vampire army, Edward is in the line of fire and will do everything he can to protect the love of his life.
I liked the story, the action and the romance of this film. I thought the film was more belivable than the last two and it definitely was action packed. I know that the books are incredibly lengthy, but I felt like screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, crammed way to much of the book into the first quarter of the picture. All of the high school stuff seemed pushed in and wasn’t developed very well.
Director David Slade definitely put his stamp on this film and I think he did a superb job. He turned a film that had the potential to just follow suit into a quasi-realistic, action-packed, fast paced vampire love story. My only complaint is the decision for the close-up camera shots. When I can see up a character’s nose, on more than one occasion, I think it might be time to zoom out a bit. I can understand the need for close-ups on certain scenes or shots, but way too many of the Bella/Edward moments were uncomfortable because of the camera proximity.
I had hoped for a bit more in the bedroom scene, where the full proposal takes place. More explanation as to why Bella wanted to experience intimacy with Edward before becoming immortal would have been entertaining. The tent scene wasn’t bad, but again, I wanted more emotion. That is probably my biggest complaint of this film is the way the emotion played out. When Bella is on the verge of admitting her feelings to Jacob, I wanted tears or something to show what she was feeling. Stewart has acting chops, so it would have been nice to pull them out then.
Unfortunately, I felt that Jacob was extremely unlikable in this film. I know he was the third wheel through most of the film and story, but there wasn’t much rooting value for him even as a character. I thought Pattinson’s acting improved tremendously in this film and am excited to see what he does in the final two films. There wasn’t much wolf pack in this film either and I definitely felt that void. The character of Charlie (Billy Burke) is always a bright spot in these films and his birds and the bees talk with Bella was classic.
I really liked the original Twilight and didn’t care much for New Moon. I can say that I was happy with the directon of this film and think that Slade is probably a big reason for that. Getting back to some of the romantic aspects of this story was integral in this film in order to build toward the climax of the final two films. Hopefully with the book being broken down into two films, it will allow an opportunity to hit on more moments from the book and leave fans with a smile on their face.