Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eclipse (2010) - 2.5/5

Now, I try not to shit on films just for the hell of it. Granted, "Twilight" was pretty awful and "New Moon" wasn't much better, but the series is moving in the right direction. Each entry is stronger than the last, and although "Eclipse" is still a fairly flawed film, its definitely the best thus far.

Bella and Edward are back together again and still debating the effects of turning her into a vampire. The lines between the werewolves on the reservation and the Cullen vampire clan are starting to get thin as both groups continue to hunt Victoria whose obsession with killing Bella is getting a wee bit out of control. So out of control that she, with the hidden backing of the Volturi, is creating a small army of new vampire offspring called 'newborns' to take on the Cullen family. Of course, with Bella being torn between two loves of Edward and that of the shirtless werewolf man Jacob, this is going to be an emotional roller coaster that leads to a new allegiance between the Cullens and the wolf pack to take on this new threat.

Let's start with what you readers want to hear: what makes this movie not work. Might as well start at the foundations then. The script is pretty damn awful. The pacing of the scenes either seems far too dialogue heavy (a dialogue that easily could use a handful more of rewrites to get it to flow better) or so intent on the action that the balance falls off. The film also starts off to a ball breaking slow pace before finally picking up for the last half when the action starts. It just feels as though it needed a few more drafts before completion.

Also, we still have fucking Kristen Stewart in this movie. Won't lie to you, but she irks the hell out of me and watching her gaping mouth and poor attempts at making me care about her state of mind just makes it worse. Partner her with Pattinson and we have a couple that makes me want to give up on Hollywood. Considering I liked Pattinson's performance in "Remember Me", I now know he can do better. Which makes this all the worse. Then of course, Taylor Lautner seems to have to force many of his scenes in this film. He's the best of the three, but still not quite there.

Now onto the improved. The supporting cast. Jackson Rathbone wowed me in the horror flick "Dread" and its nice to see that he doesn't act like he has a stick up his ass in this one. Same goes with Nikki Reed and her character. In fact, most of the side characters seem strengthened in this one. I would have liked a bit more with them, but then again its a love triangle that doesn't include most of them. Sigh.

Also it helps that David Slade directs this one. As a Horror fan boy, he was the main thing that made this movie work for me. Some tight camera shots and some better work at focusing the moments that work in the film make his presence by far a large factor in the growth of the picture. Of course, it does feel like he battles the script far too much and struggles to keep up the energy, his dark streaks and violent image tendencies do this film nicely (although getting around the gore by making vampires shatter like rock seemed a little out of the blue to me even though its mentioned in all the movies in the details).

Overall, this film is just far more cohesive and better executed than the previous two. Granted its lackluster script, poor pacing, and grating lead performances still make it somewhat of a chore to get through, "Eclipse" was far more entertaining and slightly deeper than I expected. Best of the series...even if that doesn't say much.

BONUS RANT: I felt the villains in this film weren't all that much of a threat though. Victoria seems rather distant (she does run a lot) and her new bo is supposed to be a bigger threat and we never get enough back story or even screen time to get any kind of evil vibe from him. Not that the story really needed them (its far more focused on the love triangle than with a subplot of the villains) but I wanted more from them too. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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