Legal stuff before I begin
My last will and testament are in the cupboard under the stairs, by the box of old toy trains.
Any TL;DR comments will be reported.
I have not read the books that these series of films are based on.
This review was an impromptu one, hence the reason it has not appeared on my list for upcoming reviews.
This will contain minor spoilers. Warned, you have been.
There comes a time in everybody's life where we do something that others deem "Crazy." Whether that is the moment you finally snap and hit your boss for no reason, the moment you decide that your dog really would look so much better without its fur and look so much better covered with Nazi symbols or indeed the moment where you begin to think about the possibility of the world really ending in 2012 and you actually believe it will do, you can decide. However, a new harmless thing has popped up as a new reason you can be deemed "Insane" and have you shunned by society, as if you have some sort of mutated version of Swine Flu that can jump from human to human as often as the English Medias opinion on our football team changes. And the new thing is watching any Twilight movie. So, having watched the latest one, Twilight: Eclipse, along with Twilight and Twilight: New Moon, I am now crazy. Bearing this in mind, the following may not be suitable for those of a non-crazy disposition. Or indeed anyone. For the sake of being impartial, I am going to ignore everything surrounding this film.
Yeah, not the official poster. But who will really care around here?
Eclipse begins where New Moon left off, with love-birds Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, played by Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattison respectively, still very much in love. However, all is not well in their world. Due to a deal made at the end of New Moon and with the Volturi, the governing body of the vampires, Edward has to turn Bella into a vampire. While Bella is chomping at the bit for this to happen, Edward is very reluctant to, citing various reasons as to why he doesn't want to subject her to his life and using the old excuse of wanting to get married first before they do so. Trying to convince Bella not become a vampire is Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, who also happens to be a werewolf in the films and also appears to have a thing against shirts. However, the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob is not the only potential trouble-making situation to be brewing in the sleepy town of Forks. Which is good, as a vampire, werewolf and human love triangle would be a very bad plot for a 2-hour film. Also, the vomit from the sweetness would be terrible to clear up. Seriously, the sweetness coming from the screen is vomit inducing, I shall explain more on that later.
The police force of Forks, headed up by Bella's father Charlie, have been investigating disappearances and, in particular, the disappearance of a Riley Biers. At the time, no one knows where he's gone and the chances of his safe return are looking slim. Happily, we soon discover he is still alive. Huzzah! Sadly, though, Victoria has transformed him into a bloodthirsty vampire for evil purposes. Now, if you remember from the earlier films, Victoria is slightly miffed that Edward killed her lover in the first film. Therefore, she is out for revenge in this film, creating an army of vampires alongside Riley for the sole purpose to seek out Bella and rip her into tiny pieces so Edward can suffer her pain. Now, this as a plot would be a decent plot if it weren't for some glaring holes. One hole, or rather, lack of thought, is as the new born army approach Forks, Bella is taken up into the mountains by Jacob, on the suggestion of Edward, so she can mask her scent, which Riley has picked up by being creepy earlier in the film and taking her shirt, and stay hidden. OK, that's fine. Then Edward goes up to her hiding place. From past experiences, Victoria knows that Edward would never leave Bella so, whilst the army is fighting, Victoria and Riley follow Edwards scent and find them hiding in the mountains, leading to a face off.
Edward and Bella's staring contests got intense real fast.
Now, we can see why they did that, to start a confrontation and to add some drama but it just makes the writing look haphazard and daft. Why would someone who is protecting someone by staying away form them go to where that person is hiding, leaving a scent trail for someone to follow directly to them? It makes no sense. The plot overall is average at best .While simple to follow, it throws out no real twists or surprises. There was never a moment whilst watching I thought "Oh...my...God! I totally didn't see that coming.
Oh, Jacob is shirtless again!" It is a basic plot with any twists that are happening shown to you on a silver platter. This will not convince anyone outside of the fans to watch it and it will not matter to the die-hard fans, as they are, you know, die-hard fans. So, with the story being average at best, the acting has to make up for it. And I'm pleased to report, the acting is a definite improvement when compared to Twilight and the bland fest that was New Moon. However, it is not without its foibles.
Edward, Bella and Jacob now seem capable of showing emotion, something that was distinctly lacking in New Moon. If you remember, earlier on I mentioned about how sweet the movie is during the romantic scenes and how vomit inducing they are. This is due to the actors showing emotion during their scenes, instead of being a Keanu Reeves-a-like. Specifically, the love scenes between Bella and Edward are particularly convincing, making you feel that icky feeling you get when you watch two close friends kiss in front of you. I had to resist the urge to mutter "Get a room, guys." whenever they were on screen. It was just too sickly sweet for my tastes. Of course, being a guy might have had a lot to do with that but it really is like a bad romantic-comedy at times.
You can almost smell the sexual tension between Edward and Jacob at times.
While the acting from all the cast, including the side cast of the Cullen Family and the Werewolf Clan, is good for the most part, the down side being is when they slip into a boring droning tone of voice and the above mentioned sickly sweet scenes. I also have a problem with Edwards eyes. They cannot keep still or, indeed, the same damn size. Every time it cuts away and then back to him, his eyes have either changed shape, size or vanished under his eyelids. It is very noticeable, especially during the scenes where it is just him and Bella. It's nearly enough to make me dismiss the entire film. Nearly, but not enough. See, whilst Edwards eyes change shape a lot, the villains of Riley and Victoria are portrayed very well and indeed, sparkle whenever they appear on screen. They are by far the most consistent actors on screen, never waving from their psychotic and moody looks, making the roles much more convincing and a real high point within the film itself. They never over-act either, keeping the level more or less the same through out, except for a few scenes where they are not being psychotic. Which is very rarely, thankfully, as whilst they do the other emotions very well, they really shine when doing the psychotic, moody look.
So, to accompany said acting, you need a decent script. And seeing as this is an adaptation of a book, you cannot really stray too far from the source material. As such, this means the writing is full of lines that wouldn't sound out of place at a Worlds Worst Cheese Off contest, with Bella professing her love with some awfully cheesy lines, Edward doing the same with even cheesy lines and Jacob just being the RAAAAAAAAGE!!! Guy who gets angry a lot. And spout cheesy love lines as well. Whilst shirtless. Happily, however, there are a few comedic moments thrown in to the script to pull it away from the mass love fest. A couple of highlights include Bella telling her father very bluntly "Look, I'm a virgin, OK?" after a small chat about whether she has had sex with Edward. Another example is when Edward and Bella meet a shirtless Jacob, to which Edward quips "Doesn't he own a shirt?" which is a light hearted jab at the movie itself and the fact Jacob is always shirtless and finally when the three are in a tent and Bella snuggles up to Jacob as he's warm and Edward, being very undead and cold, can't warm her up, Jacob quips "Face it, I'm hotter then you." Whilst these sound like bad jokes, they actually do fit in with the script quite well, making use of the hatred and the entire 'Team' conflict to inject fun into what would otherwise be a love fest, which makes the movie a bit more fun to watch.
This is why you never play Twister with vampires. They always react badly to losing.
A small note on the CGI/Special FX now. Now, the FX on this film are very impressive. The scenes were the werewolves are on screen are very impressive, actually looking more like a real wolf and less like something out of a video game from the 90's, the fight scene towards the end is a good example of how to mix slow-motion, good CGI and live action to good effect. They make good use of the CGI during these scenes, with heads smashing into, arms being ripped of and the werewolves making contact with the vampires they are fighting, which is pretty good considering the actors playing the vampires where acting against nothing. Overall, the CGI is very impressive and stands out as one of the best things about the film, making it seem more alive.
So, what does all of the above mean to you?
Well, it's certainly not the best film in the world, it's, by far, not the worst movie in the world, as depicted by this reviewer who's opinion I strongly agree with on the review linked. Eclipse is certainly by far the best film so far in the Twilight Saga, improving ten-fold on the slightly entertaining but ultimately bland New Moon and also out-shining Twilight in terms of story, acting, CGI and fun factor. Whilst many of you will completely ignore this film, I can say, with my hand on my heart, that Twilight: Eclipse is worth a punt if you are curious about the Twilight franchise. It is an OK movie, with some good acting in places, a good performance from the main villains, with some bland moments that don't come around a lot.
Thanks for reading, comments are welcome; comments insulting me are not so welcome. In addition, if you just post a simple "Twilight sux" without commenting on the review as well, I will be angry.
Sassafrass has not picked a team yet but instead of picking either Team Edward or Team Jacob, he would make a new team selection and pick Team Carlisle. There's something about the head of the Cullen Clan that brings out the "Rawr!" in me.