Now before anyone reads this who doesn't know me well, it may be a good idea to skim my entry that explain my feelings about the Twilight series, as to not make any ...er, snap judgments about my taste in films
AS A FILM
For some reason, beginning the Eclipse review has been a challenge for me. With other reviews of movies I've anticipated, I've had SO MUCH to say, that it was hard to start because I had to organize and sift through all my thoughts. But with this one, I don't know WHAT to say. This isn't really a bad thing because I really liked Eclipse, a lot. I guess I haven't landed on my exact opinion just yet.
When I go see a Twilight Saga film, I usually step into it with my 'Twilight goggles' on. It's hard for me to separate my experience as a fan of the series from my experience as a movie lover... so my reviews are always very biased. I love Jacob and Edward, I love the Cullens, I love most all of the side characters... so seeing them all in a movie interacting together brings me joy that has NOTHING to do with whether or not the film, itself, is good. That's why it's taken me 3 viewings to really absorb it as an adaptation of a book I've read, and as just a movie in general.
My verdict is that it is a very good film. Not just by Twilight standards (because by Twilight standards it is like a masterpiece of cinema), but by regular film standards, I would say that even someone who isn't really interested in it could go in and enjoy it as a movie, as long as they don't come in with preconceived prejudices against the film to begin with. It's entertaining, it's well edited, well acted, well directed, had a great soundtrack and beautiful score, and keeps a pretty steady flow. There were only a few moments I thought... "Hmf, that was slightly cheesy," while in the other Twilight films it seemed to happen every 5 minutes. Even with Stephenie Meyer's writing as the reference for the script, the movie was nicely written. Wow... that was hard for me to say. Haha.
Which brings me to the part where I talk about how the film correlates to the book and what the fan in me really thought about it, officially ending the part of the review that is based completely on the quality of the film. The rest of this review is full of spoilers and specifics from the book, so look away if you aren't ok with that!
I went into this movie thinking it was going to be absolutely terrible. The trailers were all SO boring, and every line that was delivered sounded like the actors themselves were bored. I didn't know how the movie would go, but I didn't think it would go well. After I saw it, however, I obviously was pleasantly surprised! Then, I got SO many questions from so many people about what I thought about the movie and was it the best one... was it my favorite one... etc. I didn't really know what to say. It's obviously the BEST film of the 3. Twilight is almost laughable in the shadow of this one, and New Moon's flaws are much more apparent compared to Eclipse, also. However, that doesn't mean that Eclipse is my favorite of the 3. As many of you will know, Jacob is my favorite character and so for me, Eclipse was really painful for me to watch, and the Jake I love, the real Jake, exists mostly in New Moon. New Moon was my favorite of the books and so, therefore, the film version of New Moon may continue to be my favorite of the movies. I've yet to really decide as it's still early... but I know New Moon means more to me, even though Eclipse is great.
Having said that, it may be a true testament to just how great the film of Eclipse was! The book was my least favorite, besides Breaking Dawn, because Bella's inner monologue is UNBEARABLE. She's AWFUL in that book, and just gets more whiny and more selfish with each turn of the page. However, in the movie, Kristin Stewart is MUCH more likable than Bella from the books. She softer, she's cooler, she is more composed and reasonable, AND even though she does do some pretty ridiculously selfish things in the movie (she has no choice as that is what Bella is), in the end Kristin is able to leave us feeling ok about her as a character, something almost impossible to do when reading the books. This movie, in my opinion, was MUCH better than the book in many ways, and Bella was one of the main reasons.
I LOVED the new looks for the Cullens. In the other two films it was obvious that they had trouble figuring out just how each Cullen should look... and some of them looked laughable most of the time. However, in this one, it was like this director said 'Screw whatever the heck kind of stupid thing they did you before, we're starting from scratch and making you all awesome!' Everyone looked better, but the BIGGEST improvements were Jasper and Rosalie. They FINALLY found a wig and a make-up regime for Nikki Reed that made her look like the character was supposed to, plus, it looked natural on her. (As natural as she can look as a vampire.) And Jackson Rathbone, BLESS his little heart, has always had the WORST freaking hair in the history of all movies, ever. But in THIS one... he gets a better wig... for part of the time. I mean that's a big step up. Part of the time it's this weird... fluffy thing that looks like he's curled his hair... and no guy would do that... BUT in SOME scenes, the BEST Jasper scenes, he has awesome wavy hair that looks like he just got rained on and it dried that way... all delicious and messy. And it WORKED! FINALLY!
Along with the great make-overs, the Cullens actually get a few spotlight moments. I was SO happy to see Rosalie's story included in the film, as I was absolutely sure that it would be cut for time or relevance. And Jasper got to tell his story, all the while sporting the GOOD wig, and looking just dashing. And it seemed, that they made it a priority to show that Bella isn't just bonded to Edward, but to all the Cullens and she interacts with every single one individually at one time. Except for maybe Esme, who had almost no screen time at all. Needless to say, this movie was Cullentastic, for all you Cullen lovers.
CHEMISTRY x 100! I just have to really make a big deal about the fact that, for the first time ever, I felt like Edward and Bella's chemistry was spot on! For whatever reason, the last two directors didn't really know how to or care to make Bella and Edward seem like a believable couple, but in this one, I bought it immediately! Robert and K-Stew did a great job selling it. They were affectionate, but not confusingly angsty. They kissed and touched and it was tender and special. It's what a happy couple looks like! AND Robert played Edward SO much better than before, as well. He actually SMILED, believe it or not, and he made jokes and was charming without looking like he wanted to die or cry the whole time. Not to mention... he didn't look zombie-like... or as though he was wearing some sort of wardrobe they found in an 80-year-old's closet. He looked fresh, young, and BEAUTIFUL. There wasn't a frame during the entire movie where I didn't think Robert was breath taking, and that's so great! Edward is supposed to be that way. The only time he seemed moody is when his eyes were black and he was very hungry, which MADE SENSE! So overall, YAY RPattz and K-Stew. They did GREAT.
As ALWAYS the side characters are PRECIOUS. Sometimes I wish they could make a mini-script for the supporting cast and have a little movie all about Mike, Jessica, Eric, Charlie, and Angela. They are just SO AWESOME.
I know a lot of people were weirded out that Rachel Lafeve had to be replaced, but I was psyched from the start. I love Bryce Dallas Howard, and I knew she'd bring it in the film, and in my opinion, she did. She was good at being manipulative, cowardly, and fierce all at once. I loved her interpretation of the character. Also, I enjoyed Xavier as Riley. I didn't really care about Riley in the book, but in the film, I really enjoyed his scenes. He was great at delivering his lines and he brought an intensity I didn't expect. From the very opening scene, where he's cornered and attacked, you feel for this kid and continue to care, even when he's seemingly evil. I think they did a great job casting him. Also, all of the action scenes were very good. Good graphics, good editing, good choreography.
UH! BREAK MY HEART
Many of you Twilight fans will have noticed by now that I haven't mentioned Jake hardly at all so far in this review, and you may be wondering why as it is true that I am a Team Jacob member. The reason why is because all the reasons I have a hard time with this movie have to do with Jacob. I absolutely LOVE his character and even though I know how things end for him, it was still really hard to watch. That's not to say that I didn't think the movie was GREAT in presenting the story, because it absolutely was, it's still just hard to see Jake's pain physically and emotionally throughout the entire movie. I was excited about the movie until I realized... crap... my shiny little Jacob is not going to be in this movie. We're only going to get bitter-Jake or heartbroken-Jake. And that's what we got.
I LOVED so much of what Taylor Lautner did with Jacob in this movie. So many one-liners, the smart-ass responses, and this really beautiful stare he's acquired. REALLY enjoyed it. But he's also really good at playing Jacob's pain, and I hate seeing Jacob's pain. I guess when reading Eclipse I always continued to imagine Jake as the sweet happy and undamaged boy from New Moon, but you can't change what you see right in front of you. And what I saw in Eclipse made me sad. Each time I've walked out of the theater at the end, I've felt depressed. And what's so hard is that EVERY OTHER PART of the movie is upbeat and happy. Even the soundtrack. And yet everything surrounding my favorite character is heartache.
The only thing I was really unhappy about is there was no epilogue... every other Twilight film got one, but not this one, and I feel this one really needed it for all the Jake fans. There may be more Edward fans out there, but we Team Jacobs are a nice percentage of the general audience, too, and the last time we see our man, he's LITERALLY broken to pieces AND completely heartbroken. He's in terrible physical and emotional pain all at once, and he's destroyed. And then we never see him again? NOT COOL. I wanted to see him healed, even if he would have still been heartbroken, and I wanted them to show us his decision to run away. At least then the physical brokenness that reflects too perfectly his emotional brokenness wouldn't have been the last thing we remember of him. And if you know me at all, you know I am NOT looking forward to Breaking Dawn or ANYTHING that Meyer does to him in that book... so that was it for me... and I am really REALLY upset that that is all we get. I feel a little cheated.
But so many other things within the movie made me so happy and satisfied with it, that I didn't even realize there wasn't an epilogue until the 2nd viewing, and I didn't even realize that my favorite line had been left out till the 3rd viewing ("Does my being half-naked bother you?"). I loved every single little fight (either of wits, come-backs, or stare-downs) Edward and Jacob got into. It was one of my favorite things about the book, itself. In fact, my favorite chapter of the book 'Fire and Ice' was also one of my favorite scenes of the movie, which was adapted pretty perfectly. Edward and Jake's interaction and candid conversation in the tent on the mountain was just AWESOME! I especially enjoyed the writers throwing in a shout out to the on-going battle of who is hotter by having Jake say, very literally: "We both know I'm hotter than you." Shazzam! Get it!? I loved it.
The bed scene... with Bella and Edward was very delish. I was glad to see that Robert didn't hold back. He scooped up her little leg and went to town making out with her and they rolled around for a good... minute or so. And Bella didn't seem whiny or petulant like she is in the book. Nor did she seem ungrateful or begrudging when he handed her an engagement ring... No, Bella actually seemed lovable and relatable. It was like no Bella I had ever seen before, and I was so thankful! And even though I am Team Jacob, I do believe Bella and Edward are the right match. And I got really happy when he asked her to marry him and she accepted, because the look Robert had on his face was the sweetest thing. Edward was so happy, so full of joy, and it was adorable! Even if Bella is a wench and she doesn't deserve either of them, seeing Edward so happy in that moment made really me happy, too. I couldn't help it and I was glad to see it.
Another scene I couldn't wait to see was the scene where Bella and Jacob kiss. Knowing that was my one shining moment as a Jacob fan, it had to be perfect, and so there was a lot of pressure on this scene for me. It wasn't perfect, but it was still very good. The emotion and desperation was there all the way up to the kiss. Then, the kiss wasn't desperate and passionate enough. I wanted his hands to be on her back or something, hanging on to her for dear life. This is the thing he's always wanted, and he needs to feel desperate to keep it. I wanted hands in the hair, I wanted him to completely consume her. But what happened was still very good. Even though she was standing on a rock that made her too tall, he was still above her and swooped down upon her, a bit. The way he turns to her after she asks him to kiss her is just, to me, SO precious, and he had the surprise and excitement I had hoped for. The best part for me was that her hands were in his hair. CUTE. But it lacked the ferocity I felt it needed. But Tay made up for it because after the initial big kiss, he looked into her eyes and brought his hands around her face and kissed her sweetly, again. I was kind of left frozen in my seat, and it was a good moment.
Overall, the movie was LEAGUES better than I expected and absolutely left me feeling satisfied. This was, by far, the best of the series. Even though I am still wrestling through how I feel about the movie personally, there is no denying that. And I'm sure I'll see it a few more times before it leaves the theater. Hopefully in a few more viewings I'll be able to decide where it lands with me!
Now I want to hear from you guys. What did you think? What were your favorite parts? Etc!!