‘Eclipse’ doesn’t suck like ‘New Moon’
Editor’s note: Peter Lewis has agreed to use whatever it is you call his writing style to provide some measure of analysis to those folks who still go to a theater to see a movie. Enjoy.
review by Peter Lewis
Not so long ago, I put forth my opinions on “New Moon.” Most of the review was spent lambasting the second installation of the Twilight Saga. From poor acting to demographic pandering, the film was a disconnected mess.
There is a predilection for stubbornness in my family. While I see my own brand of obstinacy as being of the hopeful kind, many wiser folks might label it a naïve stupidity. However you dice it, misguided obstinacy or plain stupidity, I decided to venture back to the movie theater to watch “Eclipse,” the third installation of the Twilight Saga.
Having seen the slightly mediocre “Twilight” and the train wreck that was “New Moon,” my expectations were low. Eddie Gaedel low.
Cinematic heights were certainly not scaled, but it was a small, yet satisfying shock to see such vast improvements in Eclipse. Fingering the exact cause for this betterment is perhaps impossible, so I’ll toss the positive blame across a variety of possible fronts.
First, there was much better acting from the lead, Kristen Stewart (playing Bella Swan). Eschewing the breathy pronouncements for a much more well-rounded performance set the tone of the film. This was doubly important because there wasn’t much improvement from the leading males. Edward (Robert Pattinson) still spoke his lines with a grinding monotone, as if he were a contestant on “America’s Next Brando.” As for Jacob (Taylor Lautner), he is still more suited for a career gracing the pages of glossy magazines or taking over whatever Mario Lopez is up to these days (sorry Slater). But he is easy on the eyes, and you can’t discount a good panty-dropping smile, even in teeny-bopper vampire stories.
These somewhat muted improvements are in turn attributable to two things: new director and better source material. The former should be obvious. A new director means new ideas, new suggestions for the actors. While attributing these improvements to the director isn’t exactly verifiable, David Slade certainly did an excellent job with the action scenes. In particular, he did an admirable job evoking a sense of confusing fear in the film’s opening scene. Which, in many respects, would set the tone for the film to come. That is, one built more on action than on dialogue. Which leads us to the latter.
This particular installment of the Twilight Saga was much heavier on action. While more action isn’t exactly a measuring stick for a great film, it is a useful crutch when constrained by cardboard actors and an overly melodramatic story line. As such, the premium on action was a positive for Eclipse. Not only that, the story was just much more gripping and propulsive. Though it was very much still about love and all that teenaged hoo-hah that comes with it, the larger, more primal concept of fear washed over it.
And where does this leave us? Sure, there is plenty still to quibble about when it comes to Eclipse, but why bother? It’s a fun and spirited movie, vastly superior to the previous two installations. Just this once it seems that the third time was the charm.
• The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is playing at the Carmike 14, the Malco Cinema 12 in Fort Smith, the Malco Van Buren Cinema and the Poteau Theatre. Link here for time and ticket info.
Feel free to contact Peter Lewis at [email protected]
You can also track Peter at his Web site.