The Twilight saga franchise has followed the premise of the 'Harry Potter' blockbusters and employed different directors for each of the books converted to the big screen. When British director David Slade's name was signed up for 'Eclipse', the third instalment of author Stephenie Meyers supernatural phenomenon, many Twi-hards were a bit bemused. Slade is probably best known for '30 Days of Night' an adaption of a dark vampire comic, music videos with rock and punk bands including Muse and critically acclaimed film 'Hard Candy'.
What Slade has done with 'Eclipse' is taken it to the next level, the story required a director with a knowledge of CGI, action/fight sequences, cinematography and an appreciation of the emotion of the love triangle that is so critical to the success of the story - Slade delivered.
The film centres around choices, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is now reunited with her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) after a separation that almost resulted in them both getting killed. Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) helped Bella through her loss but in the process revealed he was a werewolf and very much in love with her. Bella as a result, is torn between her love for her boyfriend and best friend and must face the agonising consequences of choosing to become a vampire.
Bella's life gets even more complicated when recent mass killings in nearby Seattle reveal her to the be main target. Still on the loose from the first film is devasted, sadistic vampire Victoria (Bryce-Dallas Howard) who is out for revenge as Edward killed her mate, James to save Bella's life in Twilight. With a newborn vampire army formed by Victoria and new sidekick Riley (Xavier Samuel) heading towards Forks, the wolves and Cullen clan unite to defeat the army and protect Bella.
The film delivers on many levels for Twi-hards and supernatural film lovers alike. There is a good balance of action and fight sequences from the vampires, newborns and werewolves with the inclusion of CGI used to good effect. The very believable love triangle of Bella, Edward and Jacob is delicately portrayed with the use of stunning close ups and emotive dialogue that is paramount to the chemistry between the three actors and Pattinson and Stewart in particular.
Eclipse has already taken a whopping $260 million dollars worldwide on it's opening five days and threatens to flatten any new releases to the box office over the coming week. Whether you are on or off the Twilight juggernaut, few Twilight fans would disagree it is the best film to be released from the saga.
What's right with it?
- The opening sequence was brilliant - almost a graphic novel brought to life. The darkness, shadows and white sheeting rain was like a backdrop to 'Sin City' visually stunning.
- The chemistry between the cast is superb and vastly improved from 'Twilight'. Pattinson and Stewart in particular are on fire, whether or not they are indeed an item their onscreen projection of desire, devotion, lust and love is spot on.
- The acting has greatly improved - Emmett is given more to say and Lutz delivers a believable performance of an alpha vampire male with a penchant for killing new born vampires. Jasper's flashback and fight training scenes gives Rathbone to showcase his acting capabilities and do more than grimace . Reed adds more depth and warmth to the Rosalie character and her chat with Bella is quite emotive.
- The CGI wolves are now far more realistic, and I would guess this is a combination of Slade's influence and a bigger budget from Summit.
- The action/fight sequences are impressive and well choreographed, there is a good combination of CGI and real action to convince of the superhuman powers of vampires and wolves.
- The flashback scenes with Rosalie and Jasper were brilliantly done, I just wish they had been longer.
What's wrong with it?
- Bella's wig - in some scenes it was just painfully obvious and awful. Kristen Stewart's dedication of playing rocker Joan Jett meant before filming she had a shaggy, black mullett... not cool.
- PG13/12 - I do understand that this series is aimed at the teenage market but this rating meant that particularly exciting scenes were IMO cut too short. The flashback scenes with Rosalie and Jasper could have been even better with just a bit more action in the killing/death scenes. Bella and Edward's compromise that they will try and have sex after they are married doesn't get mentioned, surely this is presenting a good message about sexual relationships?
- The script was a vast improvement on 'New Moon' and 'Twilight' but I have always have a gripe with some of the things that get included under the power of screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. Bella's speech at the end of the film I found a bit disappointing, not only does she not say anything of the sort in the book but she has always chosen Edward, she could not live without him - she had just never considered a different future before.
SGS Rating: ****/5
Love, SGS xoxo.