March 12th, 2011

Jibrielle from Angel Sanctuary

Movie review: Twilight Saga: Eclipse

No spoilers

Full disclosure: I liked the first two movies in this series, Twilight and New Moon. They did a good job streamlining the books into straightforward narratives and lowering the amount of sappy dialogue that overloaded the books.

Unfortunately, Eclipse tried to get the whole book into the movie and wound up with a mess. The point-of-view shifted from heroine Bella promising her dad she was still a virgin; to vampire Rosalie as she talked about her traumatic past; to the vampire "police" the Volturi coming into town; to a rogue vampire army rising in Seattle; to the local werewolf pack and their romantic entanglements...

In a book or TV show you can get away with all those asides. In a movie all that quick-changing gets confusing and boring because no characters or stories have time to grow.

Scriptwriter Rosenberg also tried to give Bella some motivation beyond being in love, and to tone down the way Jacob and Edward tried to control her, doing things like forcing her into kisses and disabling her truck to keep her from going anywhere. I don't think these changes worked; Bella's not interesting enough to have motivation for anything and the boys' new, more complex reasons for being controlling just made the plot more convoluted, but I wonder what other viewers thought.

Another unpleasant surprise: the acting, good to surprisingly good in the first two movies, was wooden here.

On the positive side, Eclipse is visually awesome. Normal-girl Bella has two scenes back-to-back with her love interests, living werewolf Jacob that's shot in warm tones with the sun rising behind them and living-dead Edward with a background of snow and rocks. It's so cool I want posters. The action scenes were perfect, exciting whether two-man or a great brawl. And the werewolves looked great.

As before, vampire Emmett Cullen (Kellan Lutz) and Bella's father Charlie (Billy Burke) stole scenes they were in with humor and likable presences in a sea of angst. More of them could have rescued a lot.

Overall, if you watch movies for their visuals, this is worth it. If you must see all involved in this series, rent it first.

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