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Eclipse Movie Review – Third Time’s A Charm

I’ve been sick the last few days, hence this was not posted mere minutes from getting back from the theatre on Wednesday night! I saw The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on June 30th and it did not disappoint. To me, the biggest triumph for Eclipse was the successful adaptation from book to movie. Eclipse transitioned smoothly off of the pages written by Stephenie Meyer into an engrossing movie with just the right balance of action and romance.

I asked a couple of my friends (non Twilighters) what they thought of Eclipse and all of them were quick to show support for the third Twilight film. Some who had read the book even liked the movie more. There have been lots of interesting reactions to Eclipse as a movie, perhaps because of all the hype and lead-up, but also maybe because this is the point in The Twilight Saga where there is a concrete story to be dealing with. It’s also the point where characters have been developed thoroughly; there’s not much set up going on anymore, just the telling of the story between Edward, Bella, and Jacob. People seem to love Eclipse because as a movie it has it all: concrete plot, good complex characters, a narrative that moves along steadily, and the climactic moments on the mountain where everything is fully realized.

The best thing about Eclipse, for me, was the performance by Kristen Stewart. It seems that with every Twilight movie she progresses into an even stronger portrayal of Bella. Each time is different, and that’s how it should be because Bella grows as a character throughout the Saga. It just felt like Kristen carried this movie – in a good way. Everyone screamed over Rob Pattinson in the first Twilight movie, and girls fawned over Taylor Lautner in New Moon, but Eclipse felt like Kristen’s movie. She really stood apart in this one. I realize that her character is kind of secondary to the love triangle debacle and the whole newborns versus Cullens story, but Kristen really did shine. I felt like every word that came out of her mouth was honest, and that she had worked really hard to make this representation of Bella’s situation as real as it could be. I’m sure Kristen fans everywhere would agree that she really stepped up for this one.

Other great things of note in Eclipse would be the dynamic cinematography. I loved the close-up shots of Edward, Bella, Jacob, Rosalie, Victoria, and Xavier. The experience of watching a movie seems to become much more personal when you are brought so close to the characters – literally. Every emotion is highlighted, and every line that a character speaks seems to have some greater significance. This kind of close-up shot worked well for the scene where Rosalie told her tale to Bella, and explained her reasons for wishing to have stayed human – a defining moment in the book.

Character wise, I loved Xavier Samuel‘s performance. He really brought something extra special to Eclipse and it was a richer movie with his addition. The relationship between him and Victoria set up the opening for the movie, and continued to feel real throughout the rest of the film. He enhanced some of the nuances from Eclipse the book that might not have translated into the movie otherwise. An example of this would be how Riley is so infatuated with Victoria that he cannot see that she is simply using him for her own endgame against Bella and the Cullens.

The action and fight scenes were another success. The fighting looked real, and it was clear that everyone had trained hard for these scenes. The moments where the Cullens are running through the trees with the wolves in pursuit of Victoria were some of the coolest to watch due to the dizzying speed and pumping music. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the scenes between Edward and Bella felt real and honest because they proceeded with a natural pace, and the conversation wasn’t stilted. It felt like going about your day and momentarily seeing a couple together – like we were getting a glimpse into their lives, no acting and rehearsing involved. Who knows what that really means, I’m just saying it’s a testament to the natural chemistry that Rob and Kristen have going on.

I guess a review is never really a review unless you point out some things that could have been improved upon. For me, there are a few things that could have been better, but they don’t come close to overshadowing the many successes of Eclipse. Seemingly minor things like Bella’s disastrous wig actually become quite noticeable throughout the film. I’m so happy Kristen will be filming with her own natural hair for Breaking Dawn this fall! Continuity wise, I find it hard to get used to seeing another actor playing a role we have become accustomed to. Bryce Dallas Howard gave a solid performance as Victoria, but it just feels weird seeing a different actor playing such a vital character to the storyline. The last thing I would fix up would be the soundtrack placement throughout Eclipse. There were so many amazing and evocative songs on that soundtrack and I feel like they were wasted on some insignificant moments. Key scenes between Edward and Bella, and Bella and Jacob could have had much more weight with the addition of some of those amazing songs.

Like I said, these are small, seemingly trivial things to nitpick at when considering the movie as a whole.  I feel like a movie is really a success when nothing feels contrived. In Eclipse, every moment of dialogue felt genuine, the action looked real, and the characters interacted fluidly. These are three pretty important things to achieve when you’re working with such a fictional storyline – and the Eclipse team managed to pull it off with ease and grace.

Here’s to a great addition to The Twilight Saga films, and to what I hope will be an amazing adaptation of Breaking Dawn to come!

Amy’s Top 5 Fave Scenes From Eclipse:

1. Edward and Bella bedroom scene: raw emotion, honest portrayal, and undeniable chemistry between Rob and Kristen. Why did it have to end!

2. Jacob and Bella mountain scene: powerful and affecting, a critical moment in the storyline, and it felt real.

3. Bella visits Renee scene: so emotional, sets up story, again – it felt so genuine I actually got kind of choked up.

4. Xavier’s opening scene: such a great way to start the movie, dark and edgy, and set the tone for the movie.

5. Wolf pack and good vamps vs. Victoria and newborns scenes: action really came to the forefront, exhilarating to watch, and visually dynamic.

July 3, 2010 Posted by | Eclipse | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner – An Eclipse Novella Review

Last night I read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, the new Eclipse Novella written by Stephenie Meyer. It was a really quick read – I got through it within one evening – because once again that addictive quality in her writing is right there from the first page. At first I was skeptical to even buy and read the book, but once I settled in to read the first few pages, it was really hard to put down.

If you love the writing style from The Twilight Saga, then the Eclipse Novella won’t disappoint. The story feels (surprisingly) separate from Eclipse as a novel (or any of the Twilight books for that matter), and I think that’s because Meyer has done a really good job of stepping into a new character’s shoes. We’re so used to reading the The Twilight Saga through Bella‘s first person point of view, and this time, Bella’s world is shown to us from Bree‘s perspective. While Bella is so certain all the time of what she wants, we see that for Bree everything is a struggle to figure out in her new existence as vampire.

Until the last quarter of Bree Tanner, the story is largely unrelated to what’s going on in the actual Eclipse storyline, particularly the love traingle between Jacob, Bella, and Edward. We get inside Bree’s head instead and experience all of these conflicting feelings and impulses that come with being a newborn vampire. It’s a very sensory experience because her apprehensions and drives are described so vividly that you imagine just what she is going through – the same way that we do with Bella throughout the Twilight books.

The characters in Bree Tanner are developed decently enough, and the story progresses at a good speed. We meet Bree’s companion and best friend in the newborn clan – Diego – and he’s a really likable guy throughout the story. He kind of reminds me of Jacob and that kind of relationship that exists between him and Bella. There’s also this newborn vampire, Fred, who is capable of repelling everyone around him – kind fo a cool power to read about. He forges a kind fo silent bond with Bree, who isn’t interested in a fight or a battle – although she’s made to join.

The main Bree Tanner storyline follows Bree and Diego as they tried to uncover the reasons for the building of a newborn vampire army of which she is now a part of. All we know, according to Bree, is that an un-named “she” (Victoria) is the creator, and Riley is her right-hand man. The story deals with Bree’s developing friendships and insecurities about who to trust and who to be wary of. The emotions are portrayed very honestly, and Bree does become a more dynamic character by the end of the Eclipse Novella.

I think the most interesting part of this Eclipse Novella is arriving at the ending battle scene that we read about in the original Eclipse, and seeing it from the opposite side. It’s so interesting to read about Bella, The Cullens, and the wolves through Bree’s perception. I love that the point of view is flipped upside down. Even though we know the sad outcome and Bree’s fate, it feels like a brand new story being told. She doesn’t even know who the Volturi are until they arrive in the field, and we see the betrayal of Riley dawn on her in a shocking and emotional twist we all knew was coming. Bree simply thinks the fight is to defend the newborn clan’s hunting ground, Seattle, while she has really just been used as pawn in Victoria‘s plan of revenge against the Cullens and Bella from the start.

I think Twilight fans will really like this story and appreciate how it lends itself to the story of Eclipse specifically. I love that The Twilight Saga is given to us through Bella, but sometimes it’s nice to step back and consider things from another person’s point of view. It was cool to get to know Bree as a character during her short second life.

Reasons to read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner:

  • Same addictive Stephenie Meyer writing style
  • Character relationships and development that we love from Twilight
  • It relates closely to Eclipse and contains some of our beloved Twilight characters
  • It’s an emotional ride that you can delve right into
  • Bree is a cool character who is really a lot more complex that Eclipse suggests

June 13, 2010 Posted by | Eclipse | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment