The Twilight Saga is a strange phenomenon that you are either invested in or have very little to no interest in. All the women who are head over heels about the books and movies, their obsessions are obvious. For someone like me, it becomes more perplexing. On the exterior, I can say I like vampires and werewolves, but there is more to my interest. The Twilight Saga sweeps me back to my teenage years. That time when we thought everything lived or died in a moment. As teenagers, while we may have not fallen in love or became torn between two individuals, we can all remember that passion and angst that was within us. This series invokes all of those emotions for me and does a really good job of delivering them in a fantasy. A fantasy that has two of my favorite things; werewolves and vampires.
First and foremost Summit Entertainment has done a fabulous job of keeping a very similar tone across three films with three different directors. The producers involved really deserve a nod. I'm sure they have had to have used an imposing hand on the various directors that have worked for them, but the result is apparent and applaudable. Each film in succession has been flawlessly matched with the others, while allowing each director to give off a bit of their own style. Especially with a director like David Slade, who has had a much darker filmography than the previous two directors. Slade also deserves a nod for his ability to match 'Eclipse' with the rest of The Twilight Saga. Like I previously said, all three films really do blend wonderfully together thus far.
Considering I just spent a paragraph explaining how well The Twilight Saga blends together you can bet that the penned dialogue is just as drawn out and overdone as ever. Melissa Rosenberg who has adapted all of The Twilight Saga novels to film hasn't changed her style since Twilight and isn't about to now. The dialogue in these movies/novels is what it is; romantic dribble. Luckily its laced with vampires and werewolves because I seriously doubt I would be following along if Edward and Jacob were just normal human dreamboats.
Kristen Stewart looks just bored as she has since the first film. She struggles through her scenes and comes off like a teenager who doesn't even want to be in the movie. As much as Stewart feels like Bella, I can't help but wonder what these films would've been like if a talented actress had taken the part, or at the very least someone who has the ability to convey more than a disgusted look on her face. For all my complaining about Kristen Stewart, I still remain engaged with her character. I've adjusted to her performance and accept it. It is almost to say that I've blinded myself to believe that Bella is this depraved and her character is meant to be annoying, thus Kristen Stewart is doing a good job.
Where Twilight is very much Edward and Bella's story and New Moon is Jacob and Bella's story, 'Eclipse' is where those two relationships bunt heads. We get a lot more exchanges between the two tribes and it works very well. We've had the Cullen's and the wolf pack built up in the previous films and here we get to see them interact. One of the reasons these interactions work so well is because the actors are allowed to do something other stare and swoon. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are better served when they are not just standing there brooding over Bella's affections. The two of them have some notable exchanges, and the long awaited tent scene pays off exactly as it should have. Jackson Rathbone also does a skilled job with his new character developments. Previously we'd only seen Rathbone stare in anguishing torment, but here he's allowed to speak and didn't disappoint.
One let down is the rise of the Newborn vampires. This aspect to the film seemed like the reason David Slade was brought in to direct "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," but it comes across as the least under developed story arc. Xavier Samuel who plays Riley, the proposed leader of the Newborns is unmarred, unfortunately he is not given enough screen time for it to matter. Which also brings up Victoria, now played by Bryce Dallas Howard. I don't know how much of 'Eclipse' was edited down, but her character is essentially just skimmed through. While I really enjoyed this film I think there should be a director's cut that sees Victoria, Riley and their Newborn Army fleshed out some more. It could have been a wonderful contrast to all the swooning between Bella, Edward and Jacob.
In the end, much of what doesn't work in the The Twilight Saga, is contrasted by a bunch that does. The romanticism for all its goofs and laugh-out-loud moments still does resinate. For the third straight film, the movie is filled with compelling original music, not to mention a stellar soundtrack. Howard Shore composes a powerful score that leads you through the 124 minute fantasy. The animation of the wolf pack has also improved drastically. I found that each of the wolf's looked far more realistic this time around, especially during their moments of battle. Lastly, once again cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe captures the Pacific Northwest in commanding fashion. I love the look to The Twilight Saga and thankfully this time were not spending too much time doing 360s around trees.