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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (novels by Stephenie Meyer)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the third instalment in the uber-popular teen vampire romance franchise based on the series of novels by Stephenie Meyer. It picks up where New Moon left off, with Bella (played by Kristen Stewart and her hair) preparing for high school graduation and struggling to balance her relationship with the vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and her friendship with werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). As Bella starts to make preparations for her transformation into an immortal, the Cullen’s and the neighbouring werewolf pack are forced to work together to defeat a new threat linked to a string of mysterious killings in Seattle.

From Catherine Hardwicke’s severely under budget, yet insightful, direction of the first film, to Christ Weitz’s melodramatic and lush take on the second, director David Slade has trumped both of his predecessors with Eclipse. The British filmmaker comes from a background in complex horror thrillers and he is the first to give The Twilight Saga some much-needed teeth. Central to the series are the slow, soppy scenes where the characters profess their undying love for each other and Twihards will be pleased to know there are still plenty of those. But scattered amongst them are pockets of action which have Slade’s stylish stamp all over them. You will still be hard-pressed to raise an eyebrow, let alone goose bump, in the `scary’ scenes, but from the suspenseful opening chase through the rain-drenched streets of Seattle with Aussie newcomer Xavier Samuel, Slade takes it up a notch.

Even in the mundane moments, which occur too often, he spices things up with an interesting camera angle or cleverly laid out set. The birds-eye panning shot of Bella as she leaves her house in the first act and the graduation scene are classic examples. Despite the focus being on the Edward, Bella and Jacob sandwich, the audience are also given the back stories of central characters such as Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and the wolf pack, which are executed perfectly in stylish flashbacks and give the story depth.

The dialogue is slightly less sickening, thanks to some refreshingly realistic scenes between Bella and her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), banter between Edward and Jacob and a few splashes of humour throughout. Stewart and Burke once again prove to be the most formidable acting talents in the cast, however, Rathbone, Reed, Anna Kendrick, Dakota Fanning, Samuel and Pattinson also put in decent performances. Lautner, however, is once again out-acted by his biceps and his constant shirtlessness even causes Edward to ask “doesn’t he ever where a shirt?” But of course, a clothed Jacob decreases the films total gross by a few hundred million, so the producers also throw an almost-naked scene in there too. You know, just to whip up a blood-in-the-water-esque frenzy amongst the shark pool of Twihards.

Unfortunately some clever directing tricks and an overall smoother film can not elevate The Twilight Saga: Eclipse from the whingey teen romance rut it seems to be stuck in. What could be expressed in a three or four slower scenes is dragged out across a dozen dialogue-heavy moments that are essentially about the same thing, yet set in a field of flowers or on snow-capped mountain. The third instalment in The Twilight Saga will seem like a high-budget episode of Neighbours to most, but it is likely to give fans of the series a total Eclipse of the heart. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is currently screening. Standby for up and coming online video review of the film.

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