Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Cinema Review - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

By this day and age, if the word Twilight doesn't deem itself well-known within your own mind, you're in trouble. With the extravagantly popular books written by Stephenie Meyer -- Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn -- accompanied by the die-hard Twifans (a descriptive word which i will take bets on it being in the Dictionary some time soon) -- who are unarguably some of the most loyal and downright enthusiastic fans ever -- it's no surprise that the films have set records in their multitudes, leaving it's own imprint on the movie industry.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) is weighed down by the impending realization of what is heading her way. Dealing with graduation, her love for broody chivelrous vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson, OMG!) is tested when muscle-bound werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) overwhelms her with his apparent love. Still, problems in the vampire world are equally as strong as a series of unexplained deaths in Seattle set of a cavalcade of problems as Riley (Xavier Samuel), hired by red-headed, evil vamp
Victoria, groups a gang of Newborns to take down the Cullen family, with all hopes of murdering Bella.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the third outing for our beloved characters -- Bella, Edward and Jacob, prominently -- but, thankfully, appears to have grown in age. David Slade (30 Days of Night) directs the latest blockbuster, with a heavy-handed realism on how adult the overall story is -- which is entirely fitting and somewhat refreshing when placed side-by-side to the previous two.

The characters, whilst loved by many, are brutally flawed. Teen angst has never been so furiously fuelled by a cast of broody, often one-dimensional characters -- a comment aimed more towards Lautner, a man whose ability to act hasn't flourished within his run in the franchise. Still, Bella and Edward make the entire 120 minutes worthwhile. Despite their conspicuously re-hashed dialogue, the pair maintain a chemistry that could alight the coldest of viewers. Their scenes together contain a certain elegance that is usually found within a blossoming, young romance -- something which transfers poignantly on-screen, with the undoubtable intention by Slade (and Meyer) to leave you rightfully swayed by the impenetrable feelings lashed towards one another. Bella's undecided nature, however, may test the audiences who've found themselves dragged alongside by their young'uns, with her 'will she-won't she commit necrophilia/beastiality' attitude providing a possible hatred towards the love-struck teen.

The tone of the film enables it to be enjoyed by an older, more advanced audience. As so, the relationship between our couple is more adult, dealing with the curious but painfully strong sexual attraction which, in Eclipse, is a blatant fact -- scenes involving the two writhing around on a bed will lead many to produce a drop, or a bucket, of sweat. Scenes such as this are easily relatable -- we've all been there, right? Still, whilst it may be enjoyed by newcomers, the lack of distinction between characters and/or depth may cause slight confusion. Slade focuses more on the action, whereas New Moon director Chris Weitz took the alternative route and stuck with producing a magnitude of sympathy for Bella, helping to round off Catherine Hardwicke's (the director of Twilight) version of the girl.

Victoria's (Bryce Dallas Howard, taking over the role from Rachelle Lefevre) devious plans culminate in the film's more violent, but brilliantly relevant, factor. Riley is sleek, handsome but overwhelmingly fierce. His concentrated, dramatic facial expressions equal that of a villainous animal, therefore Samuel, a newcomer to the franchise, is an almost perfect casting choice. Despite the little knowledge surrounding the Newborns, the battle sequence at the end will remain as one of the most exciting scenes in the entire series -- something i fear would be absent without Slade's keen eye for a meticulously staged scene.

Slade's third outing infuses characterzation of the well-known characters with a string of melodramatic set pieces. A highly enjoyable entry into one of the most popular franchises of all-time, Eclipse, i fear, may be the peak of the series. Still, while it's perfectly enjoyable to fans of the previous two, opening up the doors for newcomers enables the possibility that Breaking Dawn will round off Meyer's creation with something special.


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