on July 7, 2010
Prior to going to the theatre, I sat down to watch the first two installments of the Twilight saga; as a habit, I try to re-watch movies whenever a sequel comes out, just to get an idea of how the series progressed and developed. And in all honesty, both contributed to my overall impression and appreciation of Eclipse.
Twilight is a movie I've never really had an opinion on one way or another; it wasn't the greatest movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't a complete train-wreck. Looking back at it now, I have to say that it is very painful to watch. I, personally, found this first installment to be very mediocre and primitive. Everything in it--the corny music, the blue filters, the choppiness, the transition, the plot selection--felt like a crappy teen flick. But the weakest point of this movie was the lead acting, so weak in fact, that it made the story more difficult to watch. The entire time, I could not focus on anything but the fact that Kristen Stewart kept letting her mouth hang open and scoffing/sighing with every line, while a somewhat aggressive Rob Pattinson kept awkwardly twitching and cringing as if he was in pain. There was no buildup to the romance whatsoever, and it left me wondering why Bella and Edward were even a couple. It wasn't until I got the books for Christmas that I read the story and figured out what was supposed to happen.
New Moon was a fair improvement, coming from a director whose work I generally like. The music selection was much better and more appropriate, the graphics a bit more exciting and the color-scheme more natural. Can't say that the transitions from every scene were done well; this movie still felt like it could be more uniform. And I absolutely loved the entire sequence in Voltera, Italy; that depiction alone is reason enough not to discount New Moon's cinematography. But though this movie was well-shot and produced, once again, the lead acting lacked. Rob made a change, which unfortunately went in the other direction, making him too robotic and emotionless. In my mind, I started to question whether he even had any talent or was just a poor actor. It wasn't until I saw Remember Me that I thought that he had any potential. And Kristen, who at least limited her scoffing to only two or three times, did not shed a single tear in any of the key scenes. Thankfully, her acting was balanced out by Taylor Lautner's, who actually gave a great portrayal of Jacob.
The minute I sat down to watch Eclipse, I had high hopes that David Slade would finally give the Twilight series what it needed - some quality - and walking out at the end of the film, I was anything but disappointed. The flow of the movie was very smooth, and I was actually surprised at how fast it was coming to an end. The special effects and fighting scenes were precisely shot, and the snow-capped mountainside was breathtaking. I am not a Twi-hard, teenager, housewife or part of whatever other stereotype is used to describe people who like this series, but I absolutely loved this movie from beginning to end. In fact, for the first time, I felt like I was watching a re-make of the series with new actors and overall better cinematography.
My biggest surprise was the acting. For the first time, Rob actually nailed Edward's personality and depicted him as he was meant to be--sensitive, caring, loving, witty, protective, etc. Every scene he did, whether angry or laid back, was spot-on and believable, all creepiness and awkwardness aside. FINALLY! And Kristen, though still not at her best, actually smiled and laughed and was fun as opposed to depressed and introverted. This improvement from both of them made all the intimate scenes feel more natural and the romance more believable. All the actors, in fact, especially Jackson Rathborne and Nikki Reed, really stepped up to the plate and played their characters well.
Although no movie will ever give a faithful adaptation of any book, Eclipse got pretty close. And though there were certain liberties taken with the plot, which I remembered well, they did not detract from the key ideas. Overall, the movie hit on all the aspects of Bella's feelings/decisions about love, family, marriage and human life through different interactions with all the characters. Even if I hadn't read the book, I felt like as a viewer, I had enough information to understand her struggle and ultimate choice.
I know that there is always a negative for every positive, so there are plenty of haters of this film. But despite the complaints about the substance/content of the story (which should be attributed to the novelist, not the director), I feel it's unfair to deny that this is more mature, professionally made film that actually breathed some life into what could have otherwise been a cheesy, teen flick.