Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Movie Review: 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

Yes, I went to see it. I had to review it. If only to forewarn all you lovely readers out there (yes, all five of you) about how bad a film this is, as I have done the previous films in the past.

However, I have to break with tradition. As much as it burns me to say this...like the sun burning the skin of a REAL fucking vampire...but Eclipse is actually, bizarrely, and unexpectedly, better than the first two films.

This is much like pointing out that breaking one's cock is better than getting it bitten off, of course. Ultimately, you'd rather not ever experience either. But new director David Slade has managed to answer the silent prayers of all those teenage boyfriends dragged along to two hours of simpering, mind-numbingly painful 'romance' by their brainwashed other-halves; he's made the film marginally more watchable.

This seems to be mostly done by vastly improving upon the action sequences and special effects; by making the soundtrack less obtrusive; by toning down the ridiculous dialogue (although there are still some howlers in there); and by offering the far more interesting background characters a chance at some backstory.

That last part is a bit of a double edged sword, however. By creating some genuinely interesting backstories for characters such as Riley, Rosalie, Jasper and the wolf clan, it only serves to point out how boring the main love-triangle and it's participants are. Add to this the fact that each of these origin tales is choppy, and cut far too short, and you wind up with five minutes of relief at a time. Hopefully spaced out perfectly to prevent the ever-suffering boyfriends from tearing off their own genitals to bash out their eyes and clog their ears.

Furthermore, these backstories initially, to a non-TwiHard, come across as flying in the face of previous continuity, and sometimes leave the viewer confused. Easily rectified if we could continue to follow these characters and be reminded where they fit in with the general mythos of the world, bt this simply doesn't happen. Meaning the film is technically inaccessible to anyone without a pretty strong familiarity with the source material.

The dreadful, mysoginistic, dangerously opinionated source material.

Now, these good points aside, the film still, as a whole, is rubbish.

The main thrust of the plot is drivel, and seems to serve to do nothing more than push ever onward the theme that sex is incredibly dangerous and will ruin your life irrevocably. The leads are mildly more charming this time, though Edward continues to come across as a abusive, controlling boyfrend, Bella is a simpering, nymphomaniac cocktease (yeah, it's astonishing that she can be both a nympho and a cocktease frankly) and Jacob, who was bearable before if not in fact likeable, actually comes across worse, being arrogant and a boiling pot of rage ready to go off at a moments notice.

The plot is as littered with holes as ever. Why should I give a damn about the supposed threat of the Volturi? Only one seems to have any powers, and that is simply she can make one person feel intense agony at a time...the Cullens have a mind-reader, a psychic, a powerhouse, a speedfreak and a former Confederate Army officer on their side FFS. They could easily take Dakota Fanning and Daniel 'delivers lines like a tinny Colossus' Cudmore is a fight. So where is the threat?

Bryce Dallas Howard is sadly underused, as I think given more time she could have been a very threatening Victoria. but given that she has just joined the cast, and has no time to get a feel for the character, it really comes across in her portrayal. In fact, there are a few moments she poses, and I swear you can see her being reminded of her lines in the reflection in her ridiculous contact lenses.

(Plot Hole Moment: the 'vampires' all have deep red, or bright yellow, eyes....and yet they go to school and no one says, "What the holy fuck is up with your eyes, dude?!")

Also, I think we're supposed to feel something for Bree Tanner. However, she has all o two lines in the whole film, and is seen for one minute intervals at a time. She's portrayed brilliantly by Jodelle Ferland, one of the best child actresses in Hollywood, but her character just isn't given the screen time to make any of us feel for her, making her presence scream 'cannon fodder'.

Kristen Stewart, for me, came across as mildly more likeable, although she is still the worst heroine ever committed to film/book. And Robert Pattison, with his one note acting, actually manages to come across as kind of sinister in this.

So as ever, I have to declare this film atrocious. Not as atrocious as the first two, but your money could be better spent watching better vampire films, or True Blood.

Avoid if you can, but if not, rest safe in the knowledge that it's a little bit better. In other words, you won't be trying to swallow your own fist in a desperate attempt the crush your own heart by the second act. ...Maybe by the third....

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