Twilight: Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight saga, opens much darker than the previous entries with someone or something chasing a young man down a shadowy alleyway in Seattle. We learn the young man is Riley (Xavier Samuel) and he is about to become a bloodsucker with the mission of taking out the Cullen family.
Too bad that tone didn’t stay throughout the movie because then Twilight: Eclipse would be much more than “just another Twilight film.” Unfortunately, before long it’s back to the love triangle of teenage angst-ridden Bella (Kristen Stewart), vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), with the same scenarios playing out over and over again: Bella wants to be a vampire, Edward doesn’t want her to be one, neither does Jacob but he still blames Edward, and so on.
Directed by David Slade, who did a great job adapting the vampire graphic novel 30 Days of Night (not to mention the indie thriller Hard Candy), I had high hopes for his vision with the story. I understand he has a demographic of teenage girls to appeal to but if he only kept more of that vibe from the opening this could have have won over an entirely new audience. The biggest draw for me from the last film, Twilight: New Moon, were the werewolves, yet here they are hardly around until the end.
When it comes to the Twilight series they are mediocre movies at best filled with bad acting and writing. That said, there is something about them that draws me in, holds my interest, and keeps me watching. Halfway into Twilight: Eclipse I realized it’s because the series is the equivalent of a television show with each sequel playing out like a new season. Looking at it that way, this is the season that should have delivered more than it did but ended up being quite pointless (think season three of The O.C.). The characters didn’t grow, the story didn’t move, and it’s not going to be high on my list of flicks to watch a second time. I’m still hooked though and will tune in again next time because I need to know the fate of Bella, Edward, and Jacob.
Even if you hate the Twilight series it deserves to be recognized for the beautiful cinematography each film features. From the sweeping shots of British Columbia (which is the stand-in for Forks, Washington) to the soft close-ups of Bella and Edward, it’s stunning to look at and is truly a work of art with the camera. This is highlighted on Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p image and is truly the only way the film should be viewed at home. With a 5.1 DTS-HD mix the sound is also great, especially during the battle scenes where the werewolves are involved.
Special feature on the Blu-ray release include audio commentary with actors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, a secondary audio commentary with Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and producer Wyck Godfrey, a feature-length making-of documentary (that can also be watched in a picture-in-picture window as the movie plays), deleted scenes, a photo gallery, music videos from Muse and Metric, and more. A regular DVD of the film is also included.
Film *** Blu-ray *** (3 out of 5 stars)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Directed by: David Slade