Vampires and Werewolves and Humans, oh my!
Let’s be honest: the crowd of rabid-fansgirls attending any movie spawned from Stephanie Meyer’s popular Twilight series is bound to be just as entertaining as the movie. In the case of Eclipse, even more so. So while I give my audience five stars and two thumbs up, I think I’ll give the movie only about three and half.
The movie begins with Bella Swan, your average awkward teenage girl, and Edward Cullen, gorgeous 19th century vampire-man, sitting in a field and talking about the big decision that Bella faces: becoming a vampire. Although she wants nothing more than for Edward to bite her so that they can be immortal together, noble Edward refuses to deprive her of human experiences. However, the Volturi (the authoritarian vampire government) said that she either changes or dies, so the lovers set a date for after graduation. Throughout the entire movie, the underlying theme of Bella’s discomfort with this decision manifests itself.
To complicate matters, Bella’s best friend, Jacob, is a werewolf – he loves her practically to death, and cannot stand the sight (or smell) of Edward. The most amusing scenes occur between the two men as they vie for Bella’s affections, while at the same time protecting her from the mysterious group of vicious vampires that have cropped up in Forks, Washington. The Cullens try to trace the source of these attacks and end up joining forces with Jake’s werewolf pack.
Let me start by saying that I am a casual fan of Twilight (yes, we exist: we like the books but we don’t go around wearing plastic fangs and writing I ♥ Edward on bathroom stalls). I’ve read all the books, and I found each one to be fast-paced and a pretty good read. Although I don’t remember a ton, I think the movie stayed pretty true to the book in both dialogue and sequence of events. The movie was a good length – not so long that my butt was falling asleep, but plenty of time to sink your teeth into it (no pun intended… okay, so maybe a little).
One of the best parts of this movie was that it focused on the lives of the members of the Cullen family. The viewers see flashbacks of Rosalee’s and Jasper’s pasts, which in my opinion, were very amusing and nice little detours from the plot. The Cullen family and all their personal histories were always my favorite element in the book, and it was great to see how nicely they transitioned onto the big screen.
Team Jacob fans, this film did not disappoint. Taylor Lautnir got tons of screen-time, but you’ll be happy to hear his shirt did not. I think most of the Twihards have gone over to Team Jacob now anyway, so I think you’ll enjoy the developments in the relationship between him and Bella.
The fight scenes in this movie were really awesome. The vampire’s heightened abilities and the werewolves’ shape-shifting made for some fantastic battling. The visual effects were really top-notch.
The acting was pretty good. Kristen Stewart, the actress who plays Bella, has never been my favorite. It’s very rare that she cracks a smile or exhibits any emotion other than mild discontent. While she’s very pretty and does a good job of expressing the strife that her vamptastic life causes her, she never seems happy. She’s supposed to be with the man of her dreams. I wish she’d show what joy he brings her at least some of the time. My favorite actor is Charlie (Bella’s dad), with Carlisle (Edward’s father figure) coming in a close second. Charlie is a little awkward but extremely loving, and it comes across so well in his characterization. All the Cullens were very engaging. Edward and Jacob were both fairly good – Edward was a bit more suave in this movie than he was in New Moon, and Jacob pulled off the angst pretty well.
There were a few things I really didn’t like, though. The beginning was pretty slow, and seeing as the last movie left off as a cliffhanger (“Bella… will you marry me?”), I was hoping we’d just jump right into things. It was disappointing to see that the question that kept us guessing was not answered right away – in fact, it doesn’t get answered for sure until near the end. A stronger start would have made a stronger movie.
Interestingly, this film really had no subplots. In the first movie of this series, I remember being charmed with Bella’s high school friends and all their quirks. With the exception of one scene in the beginning and a brief graduation, the high school friends don’t really appear at all in this. It seems like the screenwriters milked the formula, scene with Edward and Bella, scene with Jacob and Bella, scene with Edward and Bella, scene with Jacob and Bella, repeat as necessary. The few interruptions with Bella’s parents, or the Volturi, were welcome ones.
Bella’s decision to become a vampire was breached at the very beginning – but my goodness, the screenwriters could not have driven the point home any harder if they tried. Not-so-subtle allusions to “changes” and “choices” and things happening “as much as humanly possible” were present in every single scene. It was way too much. Yes, Bella’s plight is very vexing, but no, you don’t need to remind the viewers of that some twenty times.
Actually, the thing I liked the least about the film was that it was too sexy. Literally, there was a make-out scene every fifteen minutes. The movie is largely a romance, so it’s perfectly normal to have kissing and goo-goo eyes and sweet nothings, but this went over the top in my opinion. The dialogue was so saturated with sexual tension that, to me, it was almost laughable. Characters would breathe in each other’s faces raggedly and say their lines inches from each other’s necks. Vampires are seductive – we get it – could we get through at least a sentence or two without dramatic pauses and amorous whispers?
So Twilight fans, I’m sure you’ll find this movie on par with the book. It was certainly entertaining, and a good 80 percent of the audience attends with the express purpose of seeing Taylor Lautnir’s abs anyway, so who cares about the tiny plot holes? I wish the acting was a little better, and it would’ve been nice to take a break from the avalanche of romance, but the film kept a good, fast pace once it got past the beginning and had some really cute one-liners. Maybe not fun for the whole family, but a good movie that I might recommend to a friend.