Wednesday, June 30, 2010

REVIEW - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

So, over the past few years, the film world has had a brand new punching bag to join the side of easily mocked video game adaptations and toys who jump from the toy room to the big screen, like Transformers and G.I. Joe. That fang adorned emo wet dream of a punching bag is better known as the Twilight franchise, and it has become the biggest thing on the planet.

Literally, it caused theaters to show 3 a.m. showings. It’s that big.

However popular the series may be with the I-hate-my-parents-so-I-wear-black-clothes-and-right-sad-poems set, it has seemingly gone over the heads of the critic set. Hell, even the franchise’s fans realize that they are fans of lesser than type of material. However, it keeps them coming back.

It’s like crack for pre-teens and creepy neo-pedophile moms.

That said, for some reason, I still had hopes for the third film in the franchise, Eclipse. Maybe it’s the cast, which I think is a really gifted collection of actors, or maybe it’s the film’s director, David Slade, who got my ass in the seat. Hell, the soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard in years, so maybe it’s that.
Frankly, I don’t care, because for some reason, this film didn’t fail like I had expected.

Eclipse finds our lead, Bella Swan, again caught in the middle of her awkward and horribly misguided love triangle between Jacob and Edward. An army of new born vamps have been sent out by the villain Victoria, who wants to avenge the loss of her former lover, James. A bunch of brooding looks, whining, and poorly done special effects shots ensue, making this the epitome, no, the physical manifestation of mediocrity.

Personally, going into the film, I had my mind set. I have had a long and storied history with the franchise, which I find not only boring and a butchering of the vampire mythos, but also a really deplorable statement to the young, impressionable pre-teens and 40 something cougars around the world. However, I was shocked to find that while that message was still here (which I go in depth on here), what seems to be put in its place is a film that ultimately fails, but has moments that didn’t want me to put bullets in my skull. That is this film’s true success.

The great thing that this film is able to do is instead of making this a boring and turgid three way between a homoerotic glowing vampire, shirtless werewolf, and a girl torn between them, and makes it a semi-watchable film with true stakes that gives you a payoff that makes the free ticket I used to see it somewhat worth it.

The cast here is solid. The three stars have solid chemistry, with Lautner, who plays Jacob, actually showing a bit of an arrogant side that makes his character seem a bit more human, and much less of a caricature. Pattinson is fine as Edward, but is about as lively as a piece of wood he’d use to kill himself, and Stewart is actually kind of solid as Bella, who while being given absolutely nothing to do, keeps your attention on screen. However, it’s people like Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene who really shine here, as does the entire supporting cast, which seems to be a constant theme throughout the films. Always the more interesting characters, the supporting cast get a rather massive chunk of on screen presence, giving us fans of them a lot to really chew on.

David Slade is also impressive here, as he’s been given nothing to really do here, but has instead crafted a stunning visual piece, and again proves that he’s far better of a director than this material really deserves. The film looks utterly breathtaking, particularly when he gives us a visual glimpse of the world we are dealing with, and the landscape that it covers. I adore these moments in the film, that are way too few and far between. Also, the action is well done here, which is quite the shocking surprise.

Oh, and this has to be one of the best collections of source music collected in recent memory. Seriously, this is one of this year’s most fantastic soundtracks. Pick it up. You won’t be sorry.

However, that’s where it all stops, as this is remarkably unforgettable.

Personally, the film fails just about as fast as it starts. The film’s ultimate sin is that no matter how high the stakes are here, you have no need to really care. You don’t care about these characters, particularly the three leads, which we are supposed to have so much invested in. There is no narrative or dramatic weight here, which leaves you simply wanting to watch this stunning landscape that Slade has crafted. He and his crew do what they can with the material, but those who aren’t fans of the books really won’t have much to dig into here. It’s visually impressive, but for a film to have such little keeping you glued to the screen, this all seems to get lost amongst a bunch of uncalled for angst and emo bullshit.

Overall, the film does what it can with the awful source material. If you love your films without any narrative or emotional weight, and with a copious amount of unfounded whining, then this is your masterpiece. However, for those of you like me, who like our movies engaging, then maybe this is one to let your girlfriend and her friends go see on a girl’s night out.

ECLIPSE – 4/10

1 comment:

  1. Like Sex and the City, but more sparkle.

    ReplyDelete

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