I am not a Twi-hard. I am not a Twilighter, a Twi-fan or even a Twi-mom, given I have no children. I am not a variation on any of those titles. But I am also not a hater. But in a world of film critics who love to hate Twilight, I stand apart. I am a huge fan of the books and by connection a tentative fan of the films. As this is an anomaly in film critic-dom, I feel it’s necessary to share my findings and my regrettably unique perspective — that being that I was probably one of few critics not going into “Twilight: Eclipse” completely ready to hate it and one of the few fans not going in to deify it.

The notes I took during the film read much like the truncated exclamations that punctuate the Twilight books — “Campy,” “Thrilling,” “Sexy,” “Scary.” But the one word that preceded more nouns than any other was simply “Better.” No one can say that the Twilight films, separately or together, make a completely respectable piece of art. But they’re getting better.

Directed by: David Slade
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner
Rated: PG-13

David Slade takes the helm on the latest film in the franchise and with his background in the horror genre (“Hard Candy”) brings back the campy feel that made the original “Twilight” lovable in its own way. This isn’t the gold-flecked, Italian painting style that we saw in New Moon. We aren’t watching a series of sappy, dialogue-less montages set to a soundtrack of Muse tunes. “Eclipse” brings back the dark, (and yet, somehow lighter with more quippy one-liners and less vampiric, love-lorn brooding) sopping wet Forks, Washington readers fell in love with in 2007.

The greatest improvement in Eclipse is the writing. Slade thankfully got rid of all the pain-drenched kissing and whiny declarations of love. He replaced it with (at times) witty dialogue, and what’s more, he used LINES FROM THE BOOK. What a revolutionary idea. As “Eclipse” was my favorite book, it pleased me to no end that the tent and bedroom scenes were left verbally in tact. After all, this why we go to see movies made from our favorite books in the first place — to see the complete incarnation of the scenes we’ve imagined a thousand times, without any interference from less-than-stellar screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg.

But Slade doesn’t just succeed by sticking to the books — he weaves in themes that are absent from the books but completely fitting. This is a relieving change of pace, especially when you’re watching a film where you’re certain there won’t be any real surprises. Slade knows his strengths, too. He gives Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick the spotlight to deliver a, in the hands of a less-talented actress then Kendrick, generic graduation speech that draws uncomfortable parallels between Bella, who is about to become a vampire, and other normal teenagers (“This is our time to make mistakes, because nothing is permanent.” Well, except that whole undead thing).

The film has an air of self-deprication that saves it in many scenes. Slade gave the characters the freedom to make fun of themselves, which alleviated so much unnecessary tension. He did this primarily through one-liners that smacked the characters back in place just as they were about to head down a path of overly-moody dialogue.

“Oh, believe me, I want to,” Edward (Robert Pattinson) says, cracking a smile after denying Bella (Kristen Stewart) sex before marriage. The moment needed a lift, especially when trying to convince audiences that two people in love shouldn’t make love is a hard sell.

“I kissed Bella,” Jacob (Taylor Lautner) growls at Charlie (Billy Burke). But then he falters. “….and she broke her hand. Punching my face. It was a little misunderstanding.”

“I’m a VIRGIN!” Bella exclaims to Charlie during one of the best scenes of the film where Charlie and Bella have “The Talk.”

But it’s not all one-liners. Slade doesn’t sacrifice emotional intensity. At the climax of the film when the furious, red-eyed vampire Riley Biers (Xavier Samuels) growls “You’re dead” at Edward, you believe him.

Slade also centers much of the film around newborn vampire Riley, who was virtually nonexistent in the book. Riley, a Forks native, plays the right hand man of “Eclipse”s villain, Victoria. Shortly after she turned him, she sent him off to rally a vampire army that would take on the Cullen clan. “I will end the Cullen clan,” he says, flashing his sharp new vampire teeth. Slade draws a comparison between the story of Riley and that of Jasper Hale, who had a similar beginning to his vampire life. Unlike Riley, Jasper and his hokey southern accent made it out of his first bad vampire relationship alive. There is, however, an unnecessary and unsettling scene in Jasper’s flashback where he kills a newborn vampire who couldn’t have been more than fourteen years old.

Some other tid-bits that Twilight fans (who aren’t going to read this before they see the movie anyway, because they’ve all been lined up outside the theaters since yesterday morning) will be glad to know — the sparkle effect is tasteful and rarely used, and the accompanying wind chime sound effect is noticeably, and thankfully, absent. Jacob has his shirt off for most of the film. This will be a relief to fans and critics alike, since fans will appreciate his abs and critics will appreciate not having to see him take off his shirt at every potentially quivery moment. And there is a lot of making out. That’s all I have to say about that (to borrow a line from a much better movie).

If you’re not waiting in line at this very moment to see “Eclipse,” give it a shot. It’s better than the first two and is at least worth it for the action scenes.

About The Author

Brooklynne Kelly Peters is a Blast contributing editor

27 Responses

  1. Kapiva

    Hmmm… I really hope “Eclipse” is better than “New Moon.” I enjoyed “Twilight,” but when I watched “New Moon” I was like, “Please tell me this is a joke. Please tell me that the actual “New Moon” has not been released yet. Please!” I came out of the theater completely unsatisfied but it sounds like David Slade has done a better job (hopefully).

  2. Lynn

    Funny, I thought New Moon was much better then Twilight. The first movie was a such a disappointment for me. The acting was horrible (in my opinion), and there were way too many differences between the film and book. It made it hard to watch. New Moon seemed a lot closer to the book and the actors appeared to be more comfortable with one another. I hope Eclipse is truly better than the last two. I’m happy to hear they kept dialogue from the book in important scenes. I must say I think Kristen Stewart looks the part for Bella but doesn’t act the part, and Robert Pattinson is no Edward. He doesn’t act or look the part, but he tries and young girls (and not so young girls) seem to love him. I still can’t figure out why. Taylor Lautner does fine being Jacob though. Not because of his abs but he seems to put the right kind of emotion into his character. He’s believable I guess you could say. Anyways, I think the review was a fair one and I appreciated it so thank you.

  3. paulena

    See I thought eclipse was terrible! New moon followed the book way better and eclipse is my second favorite out of all 4 books! He rushed through the beginning and took out the relationship with alice (bellas best friend) my friend had no clue what was going on ……she never read the books but saw both movies and was confused! That’s terrible and I love the twilight books and I was really shut down by this movie…..nothing took place where it should have! She never left edward for jacob on a bike or yelled at edward for letting jacob listin in on their conversation…this movie director sucked ass! If he directs the other two movies I will not pay money to watch them id rather watch new moon and twilight over n over 1000 times before I watch eclipse again ughhhh bummmmer:((

    • Brooklynne Kelly Peters


      To defend the film version of Eclipse’s loyalty to the book and my review, I’ll remind you of a couple of things.

      1. Jacob did steal Bella away on his bike on pages 170-171 of Eclipse. “Jacob revved his engine, grinning. I jumped on the back of his seat, wrapping my arms tightly around his waist…He laughed triumphantly. ‘What do you want to do today?'” That last part was even quoted in the movie.

      2. Bella scolds Edward for intentionally revealing their engagement to an unsuspecting Jacob on page514. “‘Jacob was listening,’ I whispered. It wasn’t a question. ‘Yes.’ ‘You knew.’ ‘Yes.'”

      As far as New Moon is concerned, I can’t recall one line of dialogue, much less a whole scene of it, that was pulled from the book. Eclipse had more than one scene pulled directly from the book. I felt it was much more satisfying for a fan of the book.

  4. Jesuisberet

    I agree with Paulena. Eclipse was terrible. The battle scenes and the dark storyline was amazing (Slade’s forte no doubt), but there were so many negative points. First of all, whomever was in charge of principal photography needs to be fired. I haven’t seen a camera shake that bad since the Blair Witch Project. Many events were out of chronological order. Eclipse was my favorite book so I went in hoping it would succeed my expectations like New Moon did (I disliked the book so I was pleasantly surprised), but it failed miserably.

    Jasper’s killing of the young newborn was necessary – it showed Maria’s heartless character and how Jasper was unhappy about the situation. Of course, Peter and Charlotte are left out.

    They didn’t explain how Alice got the porsche. They didn’t have Edward explain/reveal why and how Jacob got Bella to kiss him. They didn’t show much of Seth and Edward’s growing friendship which is going to be hard to convince audiences for the next two movies (since Breaking Dawn is going to be made into two installments). The dry humping prior to Edward’s proposal was unnecessary and went a lot further than the book allowed, and having a cheesy song (I like the song itself, but playing it was just too cliche) playing during the scene suggested a LOT more than Edward simply hiking up her leg. Went way too far. Nothing was mentioned about college (other than her joke of him paying for it and buying her a car) even though the majority of the first portion of the book was about her settling back in school and applying to colleges (particularly Dartmouth). Oh, and nothing between Sue and Charlie.

    The only things that save this movie are the action scenes and Jasper’s training of the Cullen’s and the werewolves.

    I did like how they kept the little kiss between Alice and Jasper during the training scene.

    The dialogue you mentioned from Jacob (“What do you want to do?”) was cited out of context. It was in the movie, but not in the motorcycle scene. Get it right.

    However, I agree about the emotional intensity. Xavier Samuel was a great portrayal of Riley Biers.

    For your information, New Moon’s break up scene was directly from the book. Word for word, action by action. Most of New Moon’s dialogue was derived from the book. Go re-read the book (I had to do it as well just to make sure). Eclipse had to have many scenes re-shot because Summit felt it strayed too far from the book. Obviously, their budget ran out because there were still so many scenes that went wrong.

    P.S. You’d think they can hire people who can put Bella’s wig on in a more believable sense. Her wig was so terrible, it had to be a joke.

    • Von

      I sooo agree, I was so surprised how they jumbled everything up. My favorite part of the book when Alice kidnaps Bella and gets a car. Bella leaves Edward the angry message and punks out when they are in the bed … priceless but not in the movie. Bella runs away with Jacob but Edward is not there. Even the wolf pack back story was all wrong. I understand they had to change things to get people who didn’t read the book engaged but I feel like they edited out most of the beginning of the book to get to the fighting. Here helping with invitations realizing Edward is scared for her safety, but is also jealous. I mean maybe I need to see it again but I was a little disappointed.

      I mean I like that they kept the Bella “trade offs” in and the back stories, but I just expected it to stick more to the book.

    • Farha

      I LOVE YOU

      Really, you took everything that was going on in my head when I read Kelly Peters reply to Paulena and put it into words and I couldn’t have freaking said anything better.

      Dammit. Thanks.

      Eclipse was horrible. I am someone who fell in love with the books entirely, and Eclipse was a complete screw up.

      Thank you.

  5. Jesuisberet

    One more thing. On page 514, like you cited, Bella does confront Edward. She does not, however, “scold” him much less scream at him.

  6. Jesuisberet

    The moodiness and romanticism was what drove Bella and Edward’s relationship. It was so dramatic and fast that were it any less “mushy” or less “drenched”, it wouldn’t have been believable. Another reason why Eclipse was terrible. Oh, and Edward doesn’t propose to her over and over again. He only did it once. And yet another thing — in New Moon, Edward says, “He did say never to take a step through his door, but I came in through the window” was in the movie. The book’s quote was “You should probably know that I’m breaking the rules right now. Well, not technically, since he said I was never to walk through his door again and I came in the window… But, still, the intent was clear” (page 503). Not exact dialogue, but not completely off either. The scene was still the same. Edward’s explanation about his envy for suicide is also present. The entire exchange between Bella and Emily are also 100% accurate (wolf girl/vampire girl banter). Are you sure you’ve read New Moon?

  7. Marina

    After watching the midnight screening of Twilight I have to agree with most of your ideas and critiques.
    The inside jokes that were used on the movie were relevant and extremely entertaining.
    EX: Jacob’s line while he was helping Bella keep herself warm “You know I’m hotter than you.”
    Also the characters have a more dominant dark side to them.
    If you are into this kind of movies, you should check out this movie I stumbled upon.
    It’s called The Incubus and it’s super cool!
    The characters have an undeniable dark side to them while being able to balance in a forbidden love aspect to the plot.Worth checking it out!

  8. hfair1

    I went to see Eclipse today, and i did have my hopes pretty high. Eclipse was my favourite book out of all 4, and i though that the movie version of twilight was ok, the movie version of new moon was way better than the book, and that Eclipse was very well done. My favourite character is Alice and i wasz looking forward to the ‘sleepover’ that alice and bella have, and also they didnt include it, i found myself somewhat happier after the first alice and jasper kiss, cause i was just so dam cute. Although i do believe that they missed some comical and perhaps even crucial parts, i also believe that they did an awesome job and should be given huge credit.

    9 and a 1/2 stars for me!

    Team Alice xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Al

      i agree usually by the three movie people feel like oh great there just going to make it horrrible but for me im actually satisfied with twilight saga eclipse.

  9. Isabella

    I saw Eclipse last night, and I was highly disappointed. For one it did not follow the book. The scenes in the book were so choppy and disorganized that one almost got whiplash. I agree with previous comments of how the camera was shaky, and it did not allow for a completely clear view of what was going on. I felt that it was missing depth and that the love story did not shine through as much as in others. I will say that as a Twilight fan, I was truly disappointed. Eclipse could have been a wonderful movie, but I feel bad directing and cheesy comments during the movie took it out of it’s elemts. The last 25 minitues it started to pick up. I just hope that Breaking Dawn will follow the story, and be given the depth and mature perspective that it needs.

    • Isabella

      Correction: I meant the scenes in the movie were choppy and disorganized.

  10. Jesuisberet

    Isabella – I really doubt that Breaking Dawn will be anything remotely close to the book; they want to keep the rating at PG-13… impossible if they want a movie that’s cannon to the books.

    • Al

      be positive. 🙂 even if its not close to the book, least they made a movie on BD. you have to give them credit.

  11. Al

    Its just a movie. i mean nothings perfect. so what maybe she screamed instead of scold in the book. whats the big deal!…i thought the movie was great. it gives you a little preview of what the book is about. Dont look at all the flaws in the book. look on the positive note, least they made a movie!

  12. maya

    well that’s life not all people will like the movie Eclipse…some people are hard to please. Honestly the movie was touching specially Jessica Stanly (Anna Kendrick) speech in graduation its my favorite part of the movie. I really don’t know. I’m expecting my favorite part will be the fight scenes or some romantic scenes of Edward and Bella but it was not. Maybe its has great impact on me what Jessica speech and the way Bella and Edward look at each other at graduation. That who the hell knows what she become in the future and no one knows that Bella would become a vampire of course except for the Cullens and the Warevolves. That she would not be a doctor, a princess, an astronaut but a vampire. That scene have touch my heart really.

  13. Jane Lane

    My husband, Mark, just visited you on a plane to New Mexico. He told me about this interesting woman that he visited. Went to your web-site and read the first article with your name on it. Totally impressed with your writing style and the heart of your article.

    • Farha

      Ha, I’m impressed with Jesuisberet and Isabella. I agree with absolutely everything they’ve said. Its good to know that there are other fans who feel the same way as I do. I was really disappointed with Eclipse. There were so many things that went wrong in that movie and unfortunately I don’t think I’d be able to explain them here in point form. I wrote about a 10 para review somewhere else if anyones interested.

      And I’ve lost hope for Breaking Dawn. As long as they want to keep a pg 13 rating, its going to be a load of cheese. The book is what it is, essentially. We should stay true to that no matter what.

      Come to think of it, Twilight disappointed me a lot too. The meadow scene was crap and they tuned out all of Edward and Bella’s conversations with music. Their chemistry wasn’t shown right at all.

      I’m just going to ignore the movies, separate them from the beautiful books, because they really do a crap job for the most part.

  14. Susan

    What a disappointment Eclipse was! Edward had so few lines that I almost forget he was in the movie and Bella constantly came across as whiney. I think Jacob had the best dialogue – but the movie as a whole was incredibly disappointing!

    I really hope that Breaking Dawn doesn’t go down the tubes like this one has. With two parts, it would be twice the disappointment!

  15. ALN1980

    Well, I will have to agree with Jesuisberet and Paulena, the movie was not good.It seemed very rushed. The director seemed keen to keep the romance brief. It must be remembered that the Twilight series is principally a romance novel, it is more about people and their relationship with each other, and is definitely not some action book. The primary viewers of the movies have been girls / women. I find that this particular movie was trying to woo the male audience as well, by trying to put far too much emphasis on the action. There should have been more emphasis on the relationship between Edward, Bella, Jacob and the other characters. I also found Kristen’ acting quite disappointing; she lacked the required passion, was not emoting well, her wig was horrible. The scene where Jacob kisses her forcefully and she punches him on his face was really crappy.. it ended abruptly as well. Even Robert was a let down, it appears as though he was trying very hard to keep the magic alive with Kristen, the intimate scenes between them did not move me one bit. However, the bright spot in this movie is Taylor. He was great to watch..I loved his passion, he brought out Jacob’s feelings, anger and confusion very well. By and all, I think New Moon is far better than eclipse, and I hope the team learns from their mistakes.

  16. Koko

    I have watched all the three films so far. Twilight of course was awesome … I had not read the books at that time so I was green in regards to what it was all about. I have lost count of the times I have watched twilight but its all good. I then bought all the books and read them about four times before I saw New Moon. I was a bit disappointed with New Moon simply because it was allot different to the book and because jacob was in it allot … I have just watched eclipse and was elated that it followed the book. I cant wait for the two last films. Thanks everyone who put this altogether the best story I have read ;and watched in years.

  17. Raine

    For all those who felt the movies were not close to the books. (of course you have a right to feel that way) I have two words for you. Harry Potter. God if the HP movies were half as close to the books as the twilight saga has managed to pull off so far. I’d be the happiest fangirl ever.

    Things didn’t run in line with the books at all times. But for a conversion from a novel plus a novella to live action movie under two hours. I was expecting a lot more sacrifice than a choppy time line.

    I wasn’t a fan of the casting choice of Robert or Kristen. But I have to say they have won me over..finally.
    I utterly loathe the Bella of the books. Going into shock, fainting, crying at the drop of a hat. she is the most insipid character point of view that I have ever endured reading through. The only pleasure I got from it was a feeling of superiority I have never experienced before. Maybe that is her charm?
    The Bella character in the movie is stronger and easier to experience this world with.
    I’m loyal to a fault. So the Edward, Jacob and Bella triangle grated on me and eventually made me dislike Jacob’s character. I didn’t feel like that with the Jacob portrayal in the movie however. So another plus for the movie.
    I feel like the Edward portrayal of the books and the movies (while on the dysfunctional side) have been consistent. He is probably the one character that experiences positive growth.

    I liked Eclipse. I had a great time watching it.
    I have one nitpick. The easy destruction of these once almost “indestructible” vampires. that got to me.


Leave a Reply