Twilight: Eclipse – Review

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.

A scene from ‘Twilight: Eclipse’. Courtesy eOne Films.

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)

Rated PG
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Directed by: David Slade

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – Review

It doesn’t really matter what I say about The Twilight Saga: New Moon because the “Twihards”, “Twilighters”, “Twibies” (Twilight zombies) or whatever other name you can come up with for Twilight fans have already bought their tickets and will be making it the #1 film this weekend whether it sucks or not. For what it’s worth I did kind of like it.

After an incident at Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) birthday party, Edward (Robert Pattinson) tells her he and his family are leaving for good, and do. Bella has an emotional meltdown where she mopes around for months and has horrible nightmares. She eventually realizes that if she does reckless things, like riding motorcycles, she sees visions of Edward. This leads to her getting two old dirt bikes out of a junkyard and asking her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to fix them up.

Time passes, she and Jacob grow closer and the pain over losing Edward starts to subside. Jacob falls hard for her and just when Bella begins to fall for him, he disappears. His father says he has mono yet he won’t answer his phone and won’t return Bella’s messages. When she finally goes to his house a few weeks later he has cut his long hair off and now has a tattoo on his arm. She’s angry and upset at him and then finds out the truth — Jacob is a werewolf.

Two Vamps in love.

In the Twilight world, werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies who only live together in peace because of a treaty of rules they have. The treaty wasn’t written with teenage hormones or love in mind and Jacob moving in on Bella is what eventually brings Edward and the rest of the Cullens back to Forks, Washington.

That’s the main chunk of the story. There are a ton of other subplots, involving the wicked vamp Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), the super league of vampires called the Volturi and a lot more back story and action from the werewolves.

Since I am not the target demographic for this series, I was shocked that I liked the first film at all. Sparkly vampires? Really? But there was something about it I dug. That said, New Moon was far superior. It was a tad slow to start, and the visions of Edward that Bella sees are silly, but the wolves made up for it. When they fight it’s awesome. Even when they are just standing and snarling it’s pretty cool.

Stewart and Pattinson are their typical dowdy selves but Lautner, who has beefed up in a major way, seems to be more confident with his acting. Michael Sheen’s Aro, one of the leaders of the Volturi, is a wonderful addition to this ever-growing cast. And although he’s not on screen that long he does give one of the most memorable performances. On the flip side, Dakota Fanning, as Volturi member Jane, was completely wasted.

It’s safe to say fans and the teen audience it’s made for will be pleased with the outcome of New Moon. Hopefully the third film in the series, Eclipse, will appeal to a larger movie-going audience when it opens next year.

*** out of 5 stars