Rating: 2.75 of 5
I think, though still flawed, Eclipse is the best of the Twilight films thus far.
Before I even begin I should say that it’s my favorite book. I like how romantic it is and I like Jacob and Edward talking in the tent and the whole little kerfuffle about gifts.
Did the film capture that delightful sense of romance? no. or if it did, I didn’t connect with it.
On the plus side, Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson’s acting skills are both improved (which still isn’t saying much).
I’ve long thought that a part of the problem was Catherine Hardwick’s directing in the first film (and casting of Kristen Stewart). One of the things I liked about Edward in the books was that he teased Bella. There is no sense of playfulness in the film version and I think, whatever limits Rob might have as an actor, Catherine squeezed all the fun out of the character until the only thing left was seriousness and angst.
But in this film he lets himself smile, which works.
Kristen has figured out how to do things other than bite her lip even though at times she feels like she’s in the middle of an acting exercise and not actually performing.
And everyone just seems more at ease and better actors when they’re working with Taylor Lautner. Even Rob when he’s talking to Jacob in the tent gives a much better performance than any time he’s acting with Kristen.
The make up and special effects are better. The sparkling seems less ridiculous and the vampires look less white washed with too much lipstick and more naturally out of hue. The wolves look better also.
The hair is worse. Poor Elizabeth Reaser looks more like Elvira than Esme. And Bella seems to go through three shades of brown/auburn wigs.
All of that is minor and forgivable if everything else works. some of everything else worked, but not all of it.
They opened the story up from just Bella’s point of view, showing Riley being turned and more of the Seattle vampire story and what the Volturi are up to which broadened and deepened the story nicely.
The pacing is a little choppy, though not nearly as bad as the first film. There just seems to be too many moments of overt exposition and awkward jumps between them. A little finesse in the script and editing would have gone a long way.
Bryce Dallas Howard may be a good actress and Rachelle Lefevre may be a pain in the ass. But Bryce is a poor copy of a Victoria. She isn’t fierce. You don’t believe for a second that she’s dangerous. Rachelle walks on screen and you know there’s gonna be trouble. And in a movie where Victoria is the entire threat, it doesn’t work without that menace.
I admittedly like the scene with Bella and Jacob at the end. Again, everyone is better with Taylor Lautner and I like that emotional space of him really, truly loving her, that it would be as easy as breathing. but that he lets her go.
I did really like the end though. Because with a little rewrite it wasn’t a story about Bella caught between these two boys who comprise the entirety of her life. It was about Bella figuring out who she was and the life that she wanted and it was more about her identity than choosing between boys. even if it was just words at the end I thought it was good.