“Eclipse” Movie Review

“Eclipse” is the least offensive in the Twilight Saga series, but that’s like choosing your favorite flavor of liver. All in all there was marginal improvement, just not exactly the hockey-stick charts of growth that reflect its money sucking nature. I still can’t truly say that I have seen any character growth whatsoever, even though there was finally an afterthought of such a novel idea, but Bella is still the wavering pit of self-centeredness that we’ve witnessed since the first unfortunate installment of this ill-fated franchise.

Why you’ll like this:
You dearly love the books and/or the other Twilight films and there’s no hope for you save amnesia.

Fine, from the top. “Eclipse” starts a few weeks after “New Moon” leaves off, Edward and Bella are eternally-ish in love, and willing to sacrifice anything-ish in order to be with each other. Sadly, there’s murders lingering in the air and it seems to once again to be tied to Bella, but now there may be a truce between vamp and wolf in order to stem the rising tide of death.

There’s few things I can honestly say I actively enjoy about “Eclipse”, but at the top of the list absolutely has to be that they shot the daylights out of it. The Director of Photography earned his paycheck, and hopefully his way onto a better project. I cannot think of a single shot in the film that wasn’t superbly nailed, and even a few that I wouldn’t mind trying to emulate myself. I know Seattle is a great terrain to shoot on, but they took full advantage here, capturing the gothic mood and intensity, even when the acting and dialogue failed to deliver. In that same vein, the music took a slight dip from the first two films, but still contributed a noteworthy effort.

The acting is a virtual mess. Taylor Lautner does a mostly adequate job, and I’m also Dakota Fanning and Anna Kendrick fans, and Peter Facinelli also proves that despite being a vampire he does in fact have a pulse. Them and Ashley Greene are the exceptions. All the other principals are living somewhere that doesn’t require much more than modeling for the camera, not that the source material gives them a lot to pull from anyway, that didn’t stop the aforementioned from being believable, but I also suppose less was riding on their shoulders.

Dear Hollywood, has this franchise not earned enough money to get some mildly decent CGI yet? Awful. Poor effort all around. The wolves still look highly computer-y, and nearly everything that required CG suffered for it. Thankfully, the opening scene showed some improvement in the lightning speed that vampires move at, rather than showing them in fast forward it was much more of a blur and an audio effect, far superior. See? You don’t need to show something for me to believe it, it’s called painting a picture in the mind’s eye.

Why you won’t like this:
A lack of story-arcs, character development, good dialogue, chemistry, logic and everything else that makes the Academy Awards meaningful.

If only visual effects are where the pain stopped. The action sequence was a decent delight, the big battle between vampires and werewolves, but the issue there was the fact that there was still nothing truly at risk. The risk would only come if we ever felt anything for Bella, or the victims of these “mysterious murders”, but the emotional depth is as subtle and original as a fireworks show with nukes. At the end of it there’s nothing to enjoy, because it’s been two hours of poorly painted teenage puppy love and the golden rule of film is continually betrayed: show me, don’t tell me; and good GOD all they do is talk about their feelings. “Friday Night Lights” will continue to be a superior realization of how teenaged drama can be universally appreciated by the young and old alike, with nuance and realism. “Eclipse” knows neither nuance nor realism, despite its desperate flailing attempts that scream “love me” at the top of its lungs. Drama.

2 out of 5 stars.

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Dakota Fanning
Director: David Slade
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hr. 4 min.
Release Date: June 30, 2010