This will be a mostly spoiler-free review, though I can’t guarantee it 100%. Fair warning.
First things first … if you’ve heard any of the buzz about Eclipse so-far, you’ve heard this: that it’s the best movie yet. As a fan, I’m here to tell you that it’s true. Eclipse is, hands down, the best movie yet. My friend summed it up perfectly tonight, as the credits rolled and she turned to me, saying, “If I wasn’t already a Twilight fan, I would be now!”
There have been lots of theories about why Eclipse is the best movie yet, but I think it all boils down to one simple fact: Eclipse is also the best BOOK in the series. Plain and simple, the filmmakers had the best material to work with, hence, they got the best movie of the franchise. Now, for the sake of full disclosure, let me add that Eclipse is also my personal favorite in the series. But here’s why it is my favorite, and why I think it’s the best book of the series: it’s got the most tension, the most compelling aspects of the love triangle, the most dynamic action and the stakes are higher than ever. I think these same qualities are also what make Eclipse the best of the movies.
Now, I don’t want to discredit all the hard work that went into making the movie — because without all that hard work, even the best source material couldn’t make a good movie. So without further ado, let’s discuss the nitty gritty …
David Slade … thank you. You have truly done this series justice.
With Eclipse, Slade builds upon the work laid down by Catherine Hardwicke in Twilight and Chris Weitz in New Moon — then adds his own mark. Every camera angle feels right for the moment. Every shot works. The pacing is perfect — it’s a fast movie, without feeling rushed. And the pacing has probably been my biggest grudge with the previous movies — Twilight drags, and New Moon definitely has its slower moments. But Eclipse is perfectly timed. Every moment flows into the next naturally, without feeling forced.
The stars of the Twilight Saga are at their finest here in Eclipse.
Kristen Stewart shines as Bella — the young woman torn by “who she should be, and who she is.” She holds her own amongst the vampires, the werewolves and the humans. And she’s not afraid to talk back to a pouty werewolf or an overbearing vampire. This is truly Stewart’s finest moment in the film franchise to date. Even fans who have not liked her performance as Bella previously will be wowed by her performance here.
Likewise, Robert Pattinson really comes into his own as Edward Cullen — and as much as we’ve seen him blossom on camera in his interviews, so has he blossomed on screen as this character. Edward is still his tormented, moody self — but we also see his desires and wants. And we get to see his lighter side — his romantic, fluffy side and his funny, charming side. We see his weaknesses, too — his jealousy and insecurity. His fears. This is the most three-dimensional we’ve seen his character come to life on screen.
Similarly, props to Taylor Lautner for holding his own against Pattinson. Lautner is really coming into his own as an actor — and where we saw glimmers of his abilities in New Moon, he really shines in Eclipse. He proves, with this movie, that he’s not just a pretty face and a set of abs. Lautner actually made me feel for Jacob — something the books themselves never accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, I am still 100% Team Edward — but this was the first time I ever truly felt sympathy for Jacob as a character, and Lautner gets credit for evoking that emotion.
As always, Billy Burke is my personal favorite and a true stand-out as Charlie Swan … his scenes always steal the moment, whether it’s an awkward sex talk with Bella or a few tears shining in his eyes at graduation. Burke continues to own this role, and I’m really excited to see how he handles Charlie’s scenes in Breaking Dawn. (And how about a Charlie Swan spin-off series? Anyone?)
It would be difficult to pick out all the star performances from the rest of the cast — but they should all get credit here. This is truly an ensemble — and every member of the Cullen family, the Wolf Pack and the humans of Forks High School shine, no matter how small their moment. I only wish we could spend more time with each of them.
And let’s not forget Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria. Part of me will always wonder what Rachelle LeFevre would have done in this film — I’ll always be a fan of her performance in the first two movies — but Howard has definitely eased into the role seamlessly. It wasn’t until later, after the movie was over, that I considered LeFevre. Howard is creepy and scary, and yet there are moments where you get a sense of her emotions and a part of you will feel for her, as well. She is perfectly matched on screen with Xavier Samuel as Riley, who definitely takes charge as the villain with the most presence. Even Jodelle Ferland has a few shining moments, which I think fans who read the Bree Tanner novella will especially appreciate. (In fact, her performance made me really glad I’d read the book!)
I’ve already said that I think the Eclipse soundtrack is the best one yet — and that feeling continues with how the music itself was used throughout the film, each time evoking the perfect mood or feeling. The real stand-out for me was the use of “My Love” by Sia — used in a very pivotal moment in the film. Fans, I’m talking about Chapter 20: Compromise. (Leg hitch, anyone?) The music starts out as the perfect background, with it swelling at just the right moment to really draw out the emotion.
Likewise, Howard Shore’s film score is equally moody and moving throughout the film. It feels creepy and eerie in the more tense moments, and yet he also creates sweeping drama and romance in the more tender moments.
This movie ROCKS when it comes to special effects & action scenes. You’ve heard it said that more guys will like this movie? Yeah, well, they will. Shattering body parts, dismemberment … and oh, yeah? Remember that scene in the book where Edward bites off Victoria’s head? Oh. Good. Lord. Yes, it makes it into the movie in a totally epic way. From the opening sequence, to the fight training and the battle scene itself, the action is really top notch in Eclipse. It doesn’t drag on unnecessarily, but it’s definitely meaty and the visuals give us plenty to take in. It’s visually stunning, and it really felt like what a fight between vampires and werewolves should be.
This movie rocks. Best one yet. Go see it. Then go see it again. And maybe a few more times after that.
The new trailer for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows! On the big screen! (I was almost more excited about this trailer than seeing Eclipse itself … blasphemy, I know. But it seriously rocks.)
This review is also posted at our sister site, TwilightNovelNovice.com.