‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,’ directed by David Slade (30 Days of Nights), is the best film of the series and it is indisputably the most entertaining of the three movies. It has depth, a gripping and sexual tension to it, a surfeit of action, visually appealing special effects and entertaining drama. ‘Twilighters’ are going to love this second sequel and newcomers will be hooked on the tension filled decision Bella’s love life has to make.
The first sequel left us on a cliffhanger with Jacob telling Edward to watch out, he’s coming after Bella. Eclipse continues the churning novela with Bella (Kristin Stewart) once again finding herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), a malicious vampire who is out for revenge. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward (Robert Pattinson) and her friendship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) — knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the struggle between vampires and werewolves. What’s it going to be Bella – Edward or Jacob? That’s been the question pop culture media has been toying with for a year now.
The film’s predecessor, New Moon, was a test of endurance in tediousness. My criticism of the aforementioned was that it lacked entertainment value. If it only had an ounce of divertissement. Subsequently, Eclipse repaired the damage done and threw me a biscuit in the process. The improvements are rooted in the insertion of several battle sequences, which provided a much-needed injection of energy to the saga, accompanied by quality-eye-candy computer generated effects. Add to that a much more interesting plot and of course, the main event, the confrontation between the films two male leads. The acting is modest, and let’s be honest, it is not exemplary. It does though behoove the genre and the style of the film.
Amazingly enough, Eclipse possesses two Oscar nominated actresses in its cast: Anna Kendrick (Jessica Stanley) and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Kendrick, coming off her ‘Up in the Air’ nomination, seemed to be fulfilling contractual obligations or spoofing herself in the pic. Moreno on her part, the Colombian Oscar nominated actress for Maria Full of Grace, made a pleasant and surprising cameo. Her appearance, along with Christian Serratos (who plays Angela Weber), represented Hispanics in the film. Some of Catalina’s dialogue was in Spanish, which I must confess was a bit off brand, but welcome nevertheless. She whispered the word “chupar” in a Colombian accent and I automatically thought it was strange, yet cool to listen to within one of the most successful franchises in modern cinema. Regrettably, she went uncredited as Summit Entertainment decided not to include her in their 113 page long production notes, a document usually reserved for press to ascertain microscopic details on cast members, set designs, etc. The reasons for her exclusion in the notes is baffling since she could have served as a great Latino marketing angle for their promotional strategies. I’m glad a site like ShowBizCafe.com exists to give Ms. Moreno and Latino actors their props.
‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ is a step in the right direction and it exemplifies what the film adaptations should have been like from the beginning. The intense, heavy teen romance is still there but layered with a much more entertaining ambiance of thrills and chills to it. I saw the film in standard 2D and was pleased with it. The IMAX version must be even better. I’m just glad it is not in 3D because with all sincerity, it does not need it. The fans of the books will be fanatical with it, newcomers will be entertained and drag-ons will at least be gratified with the notion that they saw the best of the series. I hope the fourth chapter Breaking Dawn, which will be split into two parts next year, is just as good as this one.