The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Movie Review - Mania.com



Movie Review

Mania Grade: C-

Maniac Grade: A+

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  • Movie: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 2 hrs. 4 min.
  • Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Bryce Dallas Howard and Dakota Fanning
  • Written By: Melissa Rosenberg
  • Directed By: David Slade
  • Distributor: Summit Entertainment
  • Series: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Movie Review

Dear Diary...

By Rob Vaux     June 30, 2010


Poster for Summit Entertainment's THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE(2010).
© Summit Entertainment

 

Calling Eclipse the best of the three Twilight films so far is certainly fair, but it edges into “world’s tallest midget” territory. The first two movie were the cinematic equivalent of getting jabbed with dog poop on a stick, and Eclipse’s ability to transcend that--while notable--still doesn’t make for worthwhile cinema. Not that the Twi-hards will care. It retains the same Tiger Beat mixture of non-threatening boys and PG sensuality as the first two films. Those inclined towards such material will gobble it right up, unwilling to acknowledge how much of it is compost.
 
This time, at least, we see some signs that the filmmakers understand the genre, as the life of Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart) again takes a turn for the worse. Director David Slade has a real vampire movie under his belt--the flawed but fascinating 30 Days of Night--and the best parts of Eclipse make good use of his experience. The benevolent Cullen clan of vampires has largely served as moving scenery before now; here, key members finally receive their due, revealing the pain and tragedy of their pasts in a decent series of flashbacks. It’s telling that every single one of them feels more interesting than anything happening to the ostensible heroine: brief tales full of horror, loss and bloodshed befitting the nature of their protagonists.
 
Slade also delivers on the film’s biggest conceit: an army of newborn vampires, created by the vengeful Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) to destroy Bella once and for all. Though the climax never fulfills the promise of earlier scenes, it still earns a few solid shivers, as well as letting Howard and Dakota Fanning (playing a very scary senior vamp) strut their stuff. Slade’s sense of style further results in a tighter overall flow than the first two films, while developing parts of this universe beyond romantic high school wankery.
 
Sadly, the wankery remains, in far, far greater amounts than any rational human being should tolerate. The bulk of the film covers the ongoing love triangle between Bella, pretty-boy vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and hunky Native American werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Both the boys make cow eyes at their lady love and veiled threats at each other, while Bella moons about how awful it is to have to such wonderful guys love her so completely. She also frets about becoming a vampire, getting married to Edward, and other concerns which should probably go on the back burner when hordes of gibbering undead are coming to kill you.
 
Again, the fans paid to see this soap opera, and they certainly get copious amounts of it. It’s all half-baked rubbish, though it contains enough supposedly shocking moments to send the intended demographic into an appropriate swoon. The key word there is “supposedly,” since Eclipse clings to the same homogenized version of the vampire fantasy that its predecessors did.
 
It mentions the blood, sex and animal desires in passing, but remains too frightened to do more than peek at them like a wallflower at a strip club. Edward has a line about not ravishing Bella until they get married that stands as the single most pussified thing any vampire has ever said. Ever, ever, ever. Vampires are supposed to ravish unmarried virgins. It’s what they freaking do! But the chaste, Christian waffling of the Twilight films turn the concept into a pathetic punchline.
The same holds true for Bella herself, squatting at the rotten, narcissistic core of the entire series like a poisonous toad. Once again, the other characters circle her like planets around a blazing sun, either obsessed entirely with her happiness or moving heaven and earth to destroy her. No one possesses any motivation or interest beyond their relationship to her… which she compounds with her self-centered whining, feigned helplessness, and odious bits of prom-queen drama.
 
The worst moment comes with a speech in which she posits herself as a quirky outsider: someone deeply misunderstood and forced to walk through life “never fitting in.” Memo from the world’s actual quirky outsiders, sweetie: shut the fuck up. You’re the most popular kid in school on your first day, your family and friends hang on your every word, and the abject humiliation you so casually inflict on others has never troubled your happy little cover-girl life. You’ve never been beaten unconscious for what you’re wearing, experienced life as an endless series of public torments, or realized that the person you love more than life itself thinks you’re a walking joke.
 
People who endure such slings and arrows know who they are, and stop giving a crap whether other people like it. That’s what it means to be an outsider. But until it happens to you--until you experience the first ten minutes of Carrie as Sissy Spacek, not Nancy Allen--you do not get to lay claim to their hard-won identity just because you think it’s cool. Not you and not the childish wish-fulfillment fantasies devoured by your adoring fans… the most recent example of which still has a long way to go before passing muster.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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OmegaDean 6/30/2010 2:24:54 AM

Have to say this was actaully enjoyable.

mnm6283 6/30/2010 3:57:14 AM

Ron,
Okay, so you obviously haven’t read the books, because of course it seems self centered, the books are all from Bella’s perspective. I would like to see you write a story from the main characters point of view and it not sound selfish. However, I do agree that none of the Twilight movies are Oscar worthy, I think that they are trying to stick more to the books, something that the fans want. Since when is it a crime to give the fans what they want? Aren’t the fans the people who essentially sign the paychecks? Also, the fact that Edward doesn’t ravish, as you say, Bella makes these movies more accessible to a larger array of people. You, apparently, must embrace the world we live in where it is okay to say cuss words and for women to walk around half naked on network TV. I am a mother and I am appalled by the fact that these things are okay. I’m glad that I can watch things like this and not worry about my kids walking in the living room to see two half clothed people all over each other. Do you have any idea how hard that is to explain to a 4 year old? My older children know what is going on but with sex all over the place how can we as a society convince our children of celibacy? I understand that sex and violence sell, but is the money worth the social decline all around us? I know to you it is just a movie, but to kids, teenagers, our next generation, it is a fantasy world they want to believe in. The fact that Edward and Bella wait to have sex until marriage is a noble idea. It is something that I want my children to believe can happen. So don’t knock it because it doesn’t quite live up to your “30 days of Night” expectations. I guess in a way it comes down to moral ethics, is it okay to corrupt our youth for entertainment value or since these movies are based on young adult novels, is it better to keep a more moral point of view. I know you must think that I am some kind of Holy Roller but I am quite the opposite. I am just a woman that understands that what we watch, in a way, molds our personality just like what we eat. You eat healthy when you young, there is no problem maintaining that when you become an adult. Therefore it would be easy to say if you grow up watching violence and sex you would live a life more on that side of the track. Not to say that it is that way for everyone, but why test the limits when you can see the results on the daily news. Oh and on a side note, you may want to have someone read over your article before publishing it there are some grammatical errors in it. But all in all it is a movie review, therefore your opinion, and a bit selfish, don’t you think?
Monique

 

StarlightGuard 6/30/2010 4:19:43 AM

Holy HELL!

A C from Rob?

It's like the Grinch is starting to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

jedibanner 6/30/2010 6:16:48 AM

''Do you have any idea how hard that is to explain to a 4 year old? My older children know what is going on but with sex all over the place how can we as a society convince our children of celibacy''

Hummm, I know I do and, it ain't that hard mnm6283. Now, before this comes down to a parenting issue or a religious issue, I would say that you are clearly bringing a ''side'' of a touchy opinion mnm and be preapred to hear different views on your comments.

Here are mine:

These movies are fantasy...but how is it so  many parents are pushing the idea to have movies ''with values'' but we forget that they are vampires and werewolfs...things that don't exist in real life!!! And from there, why are we being pushed down our throats those so called ''values'' of chastity or devotions to please the religious nuts and puritain crowds??

Your tlaking about social declination and normal morality being lost yet you forget the simplest of facts...it's just a movie. Kids see it as a movie, a movie with a passion but still, it's just a movie. Yet you are blaiming all the other movies with violence and crimes and murder and sex and all those things but still, they are just movies. And for the producers, directors and actors to choose to play in these movies, it doesn't mean they endorse the final product and it doesn't mean that what is being done in general is bad.

You approach this review as if the reviewer is satan himself bound to encourage sex and crime and murder and that that's what the young generation craves for...you couldn't be more wrong.

I might add that you are judging the movie and the ''audience'' of these movies by being 100000% biased and not fully informed of all the psychological, mediatic and professional aspects of how, who and why movies are made a certain way and how simple religious or political opinions do have an effect on how a movie is seen.

You say ''I am just a woman that understands that what we watch, in a way, molds our personality just like what we eat''...huh???? I watched the SAW movies and also seen The Sound of Music...in no way, shape or form did these movies affected me or touched my personalities. I adore star wars and acted-out as Han Solo when I was young. Did it affect me mentaly and changed my perrsonality? Heck no. Why? my parents told me it's just a movie...they saw I liked it but, that's it.

That's the issue I guess I have with your comments...we all have our own wishes but, is it fair for us to bring those whises unto our kids? I know you might say ''my values are important' and it's normal to want to pass along those values to our children but, when we use movies to teach values to children, who's fault is it now if kids see things differently then what it ''should be''?

jedibanner 6/30/2010 6:19:52 AM

Oh, I forgot, I probably know I made spelling mystake but, being at work and not having the time to fully pre-proof everything, please don't take offent mnm, it's normal when writting comments that not everybody writes perfectly.

And great review Rob, I saw mostly the same thing as you in that movie (or the books). They failed to bring something good in these characters and derived too much from what vampires should be (in a not so real world of course).

mike10 6/30/2010 7:00:02 AM

 When Mania gets arount to the 50 most sucky movies ever made I wonder where the Twilight crapfest will rank? 

These Twilight movies lost me when they had vampires walking around in daylight, totally throwing the vampire myths out the window. Why even call them vampires. How about undead pretty boys? 

karas1 6/30/2010 7:02:21 AM

jedi, I think there should be a different standard for actual site content and Maniac replies.  You and I jot our ideas down quickly between phone calls at work (or whatever) without the time to proofread or spell check.  The occasional typo or misspelling is understandable and excusable. 

However, one would expect actual reviews and articles to be done on a word processor before they are posted and the authors should have the time and inclination to reread them and spell check them before posting them.  When I see abd instead of and or obvious misspellings and grevious gramatical errors IN THE ARTICLES THEMSELVES it drives me crazy.  Do the authors not care enough to run it through a spell checker before posting?  Or is it just laziness?  Either way, If they are going to pass themselves off as net journalists with reviews or funny top ten lists or breaking genre news they should show us the respect to go over their work before they post it.

karas1 6/30/2010 7:23:52 AM

Soapbox #2

I haven't seen the Twilight movies or read the books.  From what I've heard about them they don't sound like projects which would interest or entertain me so I've spent my time reading other books and watching other films.  However, as I understand it, these are young adult books made into films for young adults, giggling 10-16 year old girls.  I don't see why they can't have content that is age appropriate.  I'd be just as happy if young girls weren't seeing movies about teenagers sleeping around, doing drugs, knocking over liquor stores or doing other disreputable things.  Because the Twilight saga features characters with actual morals doesn't invalidate it. 

Reviewer Rob, an adult male (I assume) is less than enchanted with movies made for teenage girls.  Surprise!  I'm sure he'd prefer a vampire flick where virgins were violated, throats were torn out and the streets ran with the blood of the innocent.  Well, there are plenty of such movies available.  Just not in the Twilight saga.

Monique prefers a movie which doesn't shred the moral values she is trying to teach her children.  This is an equally valid and perfectly appropriate point of view.  Twilight is more for her demographic than Rob's.

I'm afraid that the average Maniac is going to be more of Rob's point of view than Monique's.  His reviews are designed to judge the appeal of a movie to twenty and thirty something (mostly male) adults, not teenage girls or parents who are previewing movies for their suitability for viewing by young children.

There is a place in our society for movies made with all demographics in mind.  Not every film is going to appeal to every viewer.  And I've had some doozies of discussions with the Maniacs here because some of my favorite films were some of their leat favorites, and visa versa.  It's all good.  It's what makes us a vibrant, interesting community.

jedibanner 6/30/2010 8:08:29 AM

eat points Karas...but I guess the main point I didn't want to discuss but now I think I will, you wrote it word by word so I will use what you said first to show what I mean: ''I don't see why they can't have content that is age appropriate''.

Regardless if it's my opinion or monique or you Kara, I think there are many, many variants of what is age appropriate and what is not. The idea that some are pushing the whole ''god is love, praise be jebus, make love not war, no sex before mariage, etc..., it's a choice. But it doesn't mean that all these values or ideas are related to things specific as movies, music or art because in the end they come down to one's personal belief and values which is my issue with the comments made earlier.

They bug me because, why should those values affect a movie? or a song? or art itself?

Obviously taste can never be right or wrong...but when things get personal so much as values and beliefs into entertainment and fiction, that's the effect I'm not incline to agree with. And that's 4 years of psychology talking, not because I'm against religons or personal values but, more to the extent of bringing those personal beliefs into fictional forums such as this movie or music or arts.

The best exemple to what I'm trying to explain is, the Simpson episode in season 1 or 2 I think, where Marge starts a holly fight against Itchy and Scratchy because of the ''message'' it brings Vs showing the sculpture of David to a group of young kids. The morality of one's perspective is very different with everybody and it is a very touch subject that could be discussed for ages. And all that because of a movie that appears to be not so good.

In the end, to quote someone recently ''it is my opinion therefore it is selfish''...funny how we can give one but not be selfish at the same time.
 

jedibanner 6/30/2010 8:11:35 AM

Geez...maybe I didn't sleep well or something...sorry folks, I just feel like talking today.

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