As usual, it has been Twilight fever at the box office since the third installment of the series, Eclipse (2010) premiered on June 29th. The film came in first at the box office last weekend, bringing in nearly $65 million. The film, starring Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner was one of the most anticipated of the summer. Its mix of old and new faces gives the series a spark and rises above the first two, but still leaves room to grow.
The film picks up where New Moon (2009) leaves off. Bella Swan (Stewart) has chose vampire Edward (Pattinson) over werewolf Jacob (Lautner) and has decided to be changed into a vampire. She is nearing graduation and has told her family that she is attending the University of Alaska. Plans are set and things seem to be going smoothly until Jacob shows up with a warning about vampire Victoria (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), who has been hunting Bella since Edward murdered her mate James (Cam Gigandet). There is also a looming fear of an army of dangerous newborn vampires under the leadership of Riley (Xavier Samuel), who seem to want to murder Bella as well. This leads to a need for the Cullen coven and the werewolves to form an alliance in order to keep Forks, Washington and Bella safe and to prevent an impending bloodbath.
This film is directed by David Slade (30 Days of Night), who delves deeper into character development than the first two installments of the Twilight Saga. The story calls for an explanation of how some of the Cullens came to be vampires and how the Quileute tribe became mortal enemies of the “cold ones.” As the story matures, the films are able to move forward and Slade brings out solid acting performances by the main characters. The action sequences coupled with the popular love triangle between the three main characters make this film more appealing than its predecessors. However, the film’s events seem sporadic at times, jumping from event to event with no smooth transition, causing confusion and gaping holes in the story.
The performance by our main characters proves to be better than the first two films, but still leaves much to be gained. Kristin Stewart’s portrayal of Bella Swan has moved forward miles, but she still had plenty of issues in some aspects of her acting. She does a fantastic job of being the mellow, clumsy, love-drunk teenage Bella, but when she is presented with an intense emotion, such as anger, her progress ends abruptly. This hinders her character from becoming as well-rounded as she could be. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner also deliver average performances. Their rivalry is fueled by their mutual love for Bella, and the audiences desire to divide themselves onto “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.” As a teenage werewolf who is bitter over being second-best, Lautner fit into the role quite well. Though at times he served as comic relief, he is also brooding and heartbroken over Bella. Pattinson, who has been working between films (Remember Me), has also developed his character into a more complicated person, which is an improvement from the first two films.
The supporting actors actually develop the backdrop for the film more than the main characters. Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation) replaces Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight) as Victoria and does an amazing job in the small role of the mourning vampire who is bent on revenge. Xavier Samuel (Road Kill) is introduced as vampire Riley, who is creating an army of newborns for Victoria. The Australian actor delivers a solid performance in his small role as Riley and does not disappoint. Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) both give details of their mortal lives; Bella’s friends Jessica (Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick), Angela (Christian Sarratos), and Mike (Michael Welch) capture the epitome of high school and graduation; Bella’s father, Charlie (Billy Burke) captures the love a father has for his daughter and is also comic relief in the film. These characters provide the backdrop for life in Forks, Washington and leads to a believable atmosphere that assists in making Eclipse the better of the three films. For show times, visit ravemotionpictures.com
Little Rock Movie Examiner’s rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
MPAA rating; PG-13
Minimum Age Group: Middle school
Sexuality: Mild sexual situations, kissing, innuendos
Violence: Werewolf and vampire violence
Themes/Issues: Teen partying
Other movies you may like: 30 Days of Night (2007) , Twilight (2008) , The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) , Remember Me (2010)