The Twilight series roars on with its latest edition, Eclipse. The vampire drama is directed by David Slade, who knows a thing or two about vampires thanks to his previous project 30 Days of Night. Does this edginess and experience translate into a Twilight film that actually works? Find out after the break.
Eclipse picks up soon after the events of New Moon, with Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) still wanting Bella (Kristen Stewart) dead for her part in Victoria’s mate James’ death. Bella wants to be a vampire badly, but Edward (Robert Pattinson) is doing anything he can to change her mind. Bella’s unwillingness to commit to marriage actually helps Edward’s cause, but could this apprehensiveness be due to Bella’s feelings for her best friend and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner)?
I’ll spare you any more details on the plot, since you’ll only enjoy or even understand this film if you’ve seen the two previous works in the series. In my review of New Moon, I talked about how the first two films are slow and moody, most likely an attempt to seem dark and somber. Fortunately, Eclipse throws a lot of that away to make a film where things actually happen.
There is a lot of the same in Eclipse, which is to be expected with the same screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, as Twilight and New Moon. We still have lots of brooding and too many scenes that force character development. However, much is improved this time around, and I think Slade may be a big part of it. The pace is much quicker, and a lot has been packed in.
The basic plot is simple enough, but there is a lot of side stuff to enjoy. The dialogue has been taken up a big notch, with some good humor that helps create a less “emo” atmosphere. Scenes like the one where Edward and Jacob talk on the eve of the fight really brought some much needed humanity to the otherwise stoic franchise. The flashbacks, while too short for my taste, are well executed, and the side story of how much or little the Volturi are involved added some nice meat. The overall drama has been ramped up with the ticking clock that is the big end fight scene, which was really fun to watch.
Is this the best Twilight film so far? Definitely. Is this a great film? No. That ticking clock seems to take forever for what ends up being a relatively short, though impressive, climax. Also, Bella’s personal dilemmas seem unimportant given her physical predicament, but a lot of time is spent on the former. The series still tailors towards the Twihards, but as long as you know the backstories, you can still enjoy it. Maybe I’m a sucker for a third film improving on the first two, but that’s a big deal.
Overall Grade: B