Rummanah Aasi
   As you know, I’m an ardent Twilight fan. I refuse to call myself a twihard because the name is stupid and I’m not in the rabid fan category. I have met Stephenie Meyer twice at two different book signings, devoured each book of the Saga, and have “bitten” others to read the series too. In other words, I am the targeted audience for the Twilight Saga movies. Currently, I have seen Eclipse twice (at a midnight showing for the first time and the second for fulfilling a promise) and don’t plan on seeing it anymore. I have been asked what I thought about the movie at the end of each screening and both times my reaction has been “eh”. If you have not seen the movie or have read the book, please stop reading this post now. The review below contains spoilers as well as captions from the movie.

Description of the movie: Seattle is being ravaged by a mysterious string of murders. Victoria continues her quest for revenge. Bella is in the middle of all the danger, where she not only needs to make a decision on whether or not to choose her love for Edward or her relationship with Jacob, but also a choice between life and death. Which will she choose?

Review: Eclipse is my favorite book in the Twilight Saga. Meyer successfully combines humor, romance, and suspense into a thought provoking novel. The theme of choice is predominant in the book. In the first two books, Bella has already made up her mind to become a vampire without comprehending how much she will lose in that process. In Eclipse, she not only understands but chooses to become a vampire despite all the things she might lose. Every aspect of the novel revolves around this point.

    My main problem with the film adaptation is that this theme of choice is danced around and the characters vaguely talked about it, but it is never shown to the viewer throughout the movie. It was as if the director, screenwriter, or both, were not sure what to make of the theme, which as a result made the movie choppy and left me empty and confused. I know that film adaptations of books and the original novels are two separate forms of art that depends on one’s interpretation or vision. I also know that the films will change parts of the book, but they should retain at the very least the spirit of the book. Eclipse, however, resembles the book in its superficial form; however it lacks the heart and emotions that affected many of its readers.
     In my opinion what has plagued the Twilight Saga movies so far is the lack of character and relationship development, particularly of the leading pair. In the Twilight movie (which I absolutely abhor), Bella and Edward’s relationship isn’t discussed. In the span of one hour they meet, dislike one another, and then can’t live without one another. Even literature’s fastest relationship, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, took at least three days to develop.
    To say the least there were many things missing in the first two movies. The viewer needed to see Bella and Edward talking and getting to know one another. We also needed to see how both of them loved each other in their own way. In other words, we needed to see why Bella is so devastated when Edward leaves in New Moon. In New Moon (which I thought was very well done out of the three movies), we needed Edward to apologize for leaving and have his epiphany of loving Bella. We needed to recognize that Bella is a strong, different person now who sees Jacob as a satisfying match (if monsters and magic didn’t exist), but who also knows that Edward is someone she can not live without. These necessary parts can be shown through dialogue and emotions in the movies. The relationships in Eclipse continue the trend of its predecessors. Instead of a complex love triangle, I saw a nonexistent one.

Bella continues to be robotic and cold. She has some powerful phrases that are suppose to tug on your heart strings, but they just come out as words without any emotions. For example, when Bella visits Jacob after he is injured from the battle scene is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the Twilight Saga. This is the moment where she has finally admits to herself that she does love Jacob, but is ready to leave him. She is in tears for leaving her best friend, who has helped her in her darkest times and who she possibly may not see ever again. In the movie, the scene lacks emotion from Kristen Stewart. She does not seem sad or even comes across as even caring for Jacob in any way. There are no tears or watery eyes or even a lip tremor from her. Taylor Lautner (who continues to improve from each film), however, does a great job in expressing Jacob’s anguish through is facial expressions. This scene is extremely important thematically. Jacob represents what Bella would have if she continues to live her life as a human. Jacob and Bella’s complex relationship, which is developed quite nicely in the New Moon movie, is negated and not recognized at all in Eclipse. A missing scene where Bella breaks down in front of Edward needed to be included to show the viewers just how much Jacob means to her.
  Another scene that left me unsatisfied is the ending of the movie. Bella has finally made her well informed decision to become a vampire. She states that she wants to become a vampire (I’m paraphrasing): “It was never a choice between you [Edward] or Jacob, but between who I should be and who I am.” While I love this line, but I think it does not send the real message of the book. Bella is choosing to become a vampire because of love, but rather the statement says that Bella is choosing to become a vampire because it gives her another opportunity for her to fit in. True, it is ultimately Bella that must make a choice, but the reason why she chooses is for love. I think was the screenwriter's last ditch effort in showing Bella's choice.
   Edward for the most part is emasculated and mute for most of the movie. Many of his dialogues in the book allow the readers to see not only his flaws, but also his many attempts to make up for his dramatic exit in New Moon. In the movie, Edward comes across as a lovesick puppy whose main goal is to try to persuade Bella in marrying him. He seems less concerned and frustrated with her making the choice of joining him. Serious issues such as having a soul and experiencing humanity are glossed over in the few minutes before and after the proposal. I am the first person to admit that I do not like Robert Pattinson as an actor. I don’t think he can act and he is most definitely not my version of Edward. I do, however, see the screenwriter not giving him a voice or even an opportunity to try to become Edward. It comes across as if the viewers already know Edward and therefore, he does not need to be explained. Robert does a have a few good scenes such as the the proposal scene, but he still needs to work on having more than three expressions. What continues to bother me is that Edward is supposed to be a good fighter, who uses his ability to read minds to his advantage. He appears to be the opposite in the movies and has a hard time defeating his opponents.

    Unlike the mute Edward, Jacob is given a voice and presence in the movie. Instead of continuing his role as Bella’s best friend, he comes across as a spoiled, whiny boy who is struggling to win something that he knows he can never have. Jacob’s role in the Twilight Saga is complex. He is not only Bella’s best friend, but also a symbolism of the humanity Bella would lose if she becomes a vampire. It is clear from the movie that he does not agree with Bella’s decision; however, Jacob should be seen as trying to understand why Bella makes her choice. The movie should have built upon their friendship. I saw a flicker of this in the scene where Jacob and Bella attend the tribe meeting where the Third Wife story is mentioned. I can see the two characters feel uncomfortable in their possible future roles. More scenes like this where these two characters connect with one another should have been added.

   In addition to the lack of a love triangle, I also found two inconsistencies in the movie that really didn’t sit well with me. The first scene is at the graduation party where Alice sees a vision. Alice can not see her visions when wolves are present. Therefore the graduation scene where the wolves are present and the vision takes place doesn’t make sense. The second inconsistency has to deal with Bella’s engagement ring. I found the ring in the movie to be hideous. The ring in the book is described as a long oval face, set with slanting rows of glittering round stones, and a golden band. The ring from the movie looks like a shined, ordinary rock on a silver ring band. As a side note, Kristen Stewart's wig was not only the wrong color, but was awful and completely distracting.
    There are parts of the movie, however, that I really enjoyed (no, really) such as the “talk” between Charlie and Bella as well as Bella visiting her mother in Florida, which were both very well executed by the actors in the movie. The Cullen training session and Jasper’s background story were well done. I glad that Jackson Rathbone finally had an opportunity to shine and was not creepy like the first two movies. The graduation speech and the appearance of the humans in the movie added a nice touch, but I wished they played a bigger part in Bella realizing the various relationships should be losing. Eclipse definitely has more of the humor and action than the first two movies. I just wish the movie spent a bit more time in developing the various relationships in the movie. If you’re a fan of the book series, it might be worth your time to see the movie but wait for the dvd. If you're a purist, I highly suggest buying the terrific soundtrack and playing it in the background while you reread Eclipse. Thankfully, the people who created the soundtrack understood the book. If you haven’t seen the first two movies or read the books, save your money and time.

Words of Caution: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality.

Rating: 2 stars (Get it from the library if you can)
3 Responses
  1. Jenni Elyse Says:

    I can see your point-of-view completely. However, I disagree one thing. To me, Jacob was a whiny, spoiled, manipulative brat in the book and I don't think that was shown enough in the movie. It's one of the reasons I abhor the Great Dog Snog so much. I think he manipulated the death out of Bella to get her to want to kiss him. Don't get me wrong, I love Jacob. I just hate how he acts when it comes to Bella.

    I realize the movie isn't as deep as the book. No movie made from a book is, except The Devil Wears Prada. (It was nice that the movie was much shorter than the book!) I have a hard time seeing movies because they're not the same as the book. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with the Prisoner of Azkaban because I want to like it because it's my favorite book in the Potter series, but I hate it because it was such an awful adaptation.

    I think I'm the same way with the Twilight movies. I don't want to be critical because I don't want to leave the state of ignorant bliss. I just like the fact that my favorite books are coming to life on screen. Sure, there are many things I hate (Robert Pattinson as Edward, the wigs, the horrible adaptation of the Meadow scene in Twilight, the lack of some of my favorite parts, etc.), but I choose not to let them bother me because I don't want them to bother me. I hope that makes sense.

    Very good review on your part. I found it very insightful and deep, even if I do turn a blind eye to most of the problems you bring up. ;)

  2. Safoora Says:

    I thought the movie was OK...I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.
    I agree with the comment above in regards to Jacob coming across as a brat more so in the book compared to the film. In the book I hated Jacob's character and found him plain annoying, but in the film, I actually like his character!

    The ring was hideous, I agree. I can’t really picture Edward’s mother wearing something like that.
    I didn't realize that Kristen Stewart was wearing a wig. I did think her hair looked funny at points, that must have been the reason!

    I do agree with you about Edward and his lack of lines....I wish he was a bit more vocal and more expressive, but I do like Robert Pattinson.

    I also felt that the actors had much more chemistry in Twilight than they did in Eclipse. I didn't find it believable that Bella wanted to sleep with Edward. I just didn't see the passion.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents :) Baz really liked it, but he hasn't read the books, so maybe that's why?

  3. I guess I'm usually more critical of things that I love. I just hope the producers and directors realize that the books are more than money making schemes and they do have important content that drew in large amount of readers.

    As for Jacob, I loved him in the movies and in the book. I didn't see him doing anything different than what Edward did.

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