"Twilight Saga: Eclipse" has officially raked in $69 million with midnight premiere viewings and weekend sales. But the vampire series is more than just another summer hit; the series is a phenomenon impacting scores of fans from young teens to thirty-something moms.

Blast got a chance to talk to one of the "Twilight" experts on the subject of all things Team Vampire and Team Wolf. How does this latest film measure up to the books? And will it keep fans happy? Jen Yamato, formerly a Senior Editor for Rotten Tomatoes, and current film critic at Movies.Com, has followed the series from its beginnings. Yamato has written feature articles and essays on the subject and its fans. We spoke to her last week about her thoughts on the LA premiere, its fans, and the movie, "Twilight Saga: Eclipse."

BLAST: You were at the premiere of "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in LA, I heard people were lining up.

JEN YAMATO: It was insane. It was huge, and it was the biggest they’ve had yet for "Twilight."

BLAST: How was the experience with fans? Did you interact with any of them?

JY: First of all, there were 500 people who camped out on Sunday…and that number only grew for the premiere on Thursday. I have so much respect for the fans dedicated to "Twilight." I love they are so excited about it. I totally get it! I spoke with the fans who were at the head of the line, who camped out for four days. They were in such good spirits, and they were rewarded by their devotion with great spots along the red carpet, or rather the black carpet, which they had for the premiere. These fans were happy to be there. The great part is that every "Twilight" actor who walked the carpet took their time with the fans by taking pictures, hugging them, and signing autographs.

I think for fans it’s worth it. They even make signs, and (become) friends with one another. It’s a really fun atmosphere for them, and it’s kind of a once in a lifetime event for them.

BLAST: It’s amazing how devoted these fans are for the franchise and its books.
You’ve followed this from the beginning with the first film, so has the phenomenon has changed over the years? Because it seems as if it’s always been really big.

JY: You know what’s interesting to have followed this all along is that the franchise has grown with each film. I think a lot of it started with the first film because of its fans from the novels. (The success) came out of nowhere. I think Twilight was such a huge success because it parlays the fans from the novels and capitalized from that as a based and just grew and grew.

BLAST: How has it been with the actors too? When "Twilight" first came out and became such a huge success, it seems Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were caught in headlights. It seems as if they’ve grown into their own. How has that been for you? You’ve been on the red carpet and done interviews.

JY: I think the phenomenon that came with the first film "Twilight" caught them off guard as much as it did with everybody else. So with the press on the first film, they were still getting used to it while being the center of the world’s attention. (They) are the center of this ardent fan love. Over the years, you can tell by how they’ve presented themselves in public and in interviews both Kristen and Robert have really matured in many ways. Especially in how comfortable they seem by all the attention from it. Kristen was (particularly) nervous and shy when we talked to her on "Twilight", a little less so when "New Moon" came out, and now she’s completely confident. It’s really nice to see that with her. So there’s been a discernible maturity with all the stars of the film. I think they’re getting used to the game, I think they are now sort of owning it rather than getting carried away. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are very serious and protective of their private lives. So what you see now with them now is the confidence that wasn’t quite there from the beginning.

BLAST: When you were on the red carpet for "Twilight Saga: Eclipse", what did you hear from them about the film?

JY: By the time this film rolls around, the love triangle is the high point. It interplays the three of them: Kristen (Bella), Robert (Edward), and Taylor (Jacob). They all talk about how it was fun for them. There’s an infamous scene known as "the Tent Scene" by fans that’s actually really funny. They shot it for days. They talk about how much fun it was to make that scene.

BLAST: Did the movie "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" live up to what you expect? At least between the books and the film? Until now they (Edward and Bella) haven’t really done too much.

JY: I can definitely say the "Tent Scene" will definitely satisfy fans! It will be one of the favorite scenes fans will definitely want to see over and over again. It’s got Bella literally caught between Edward and Jacob. Jacob is shirtless. And it’s actually one of the film’s funniest scene. They did actually a good job of pulling (the scene) off. And it is one of the enjoyable scenes of the films.

BLAST: Well that’s going to make one of the more interesting scenes at next year’s MTV Movie Awards. Should it be nominated somehow for best kiss.

JY: Inside the tent scene there is no kiss, but you’re right it should be especially for Kristen. One for kissing Robert and one for kissing Taylor.

BLAST: So far, the hype has been this is the best in the series so far. Would you say that’s true?
Having watched it, and seen it all.

JY: I do think it fixes a lot of problems the first two films had, it definitely has more action ramped up considerably. I think it can pull in a whole new demographic. I think fans will be really be satisfied because what "Twilight" has done is remain faithful to the books. "Eclipse" does it as much as "New Moon" and "Twilight". I think David Slade (director) pulls it off in the film.

BLAST: We haven’t brought up the topic about one of the significant parts of the books which are the werewolves. How do you think the storyline evolves in this film?

JY: A lot of different forces come together. Edward and Jacob come together to work together. The Cullen vampires work with their sworn enemies, the werewolves. So it’s good to see them work towards a common good to protect Bella and the newborn vampires. The werewolves definitely have an important role, but what is somewhat disappointing is that you don’t see much of the werewolves in their human form as Wolf Pack fans would like…you more of the CG (computer graphic) wolves. There’s a tender scene with Jacob the Wolf and Bella…you get a sense for the size of the wolves.

BLAST: How is the graphics for the wolves this time around? In "Twilight Saga: New Moon," they are a bit softer than what you would expect from a werewolf. With "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" have they improved this time around ?

JY: The wolves are much the same, but I think they’ve fixed a couple of issues with the wolf CG and animation. It’s an issue with how weighty an animated figure appears to be in a real world setting.
The wolves are really well integrated into live action vampire fights. And I would say the most impressive effects in "Eclipse" are the vampire effects. You get to see in battle what it’s like when vampires limbs are being ripped off. David Slade, the director, spent a lot of time developing the look of the vampire physiology. The way he describes it is as if their muscles are made of crystalline substance. So when we see them in the heat of battle, and vampires take causalities, it’s not bloody because they don’t have blood exactly. It’s interesting to see.

BLAST: How much of the books’ mythos plays in the film? I know the subject of imprinting is important. Does that come into play here? Because "Breaking Dawn" is being split into two movies. So you have to wonder if they’ve saved some elements for that later on. Because films don’t always go in the order it should sometimes.

JY: Yes. Every "Twilight" film has stayed faithful to the books. Important conversations and events that happen in the book make it to the movie. In "Eclipse" we learn more about imprinting as Jacob explains to Bella. We learn more about the Quileute tribe and legends.

BLAST: As a critic you’ve seen a lot of films, of course, so what would you say makes "The Twilight Saga" a success? Most films based on successful books do not always translate well onscreen.
Would you say it has to do in part to the collective fanbase surrounding the films and books?

JY: The "Twilight" franchise is unlike any other franchise in terms of genre. "Twilight" is first and foremost a love story than a supernatural or even a horror film. I think it’s the romance that keeps fans hooked, I think that’s why they keep coming back to see the story continued through Bella’s eyes.

BLAST: It seems with the build up to the release of "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the promotions have been a lot more aggressive than previously.

JY: Summit, the studio, have been very smart about its treatment for the saga from the beginning. The fandom has grown steadily over each film, and that’s because people love the books. Secondly, people love seeing those books come to life onscreen. Beyond that, they (the fans) enjoy projecting their love for the actors who play them: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. So now the fandom has become this larger than life entity of its own in terms of "Twilight." It’s fun for fans to celebrate it. Summit has done a really great job encouraging the fandom itself. They have Stephenie Meyer and the source material in mind throughout the franchise because they know that’s important to the fans. Summit has made the "Twilight" movies an experience for fans.

And an experience it has been this week as "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" continues to heat up ticket sales. The only disappointment for fans will be waiting for the last installment,"Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." Unfortunately, the final chapter of the "Twilight Saga" won’t start production until 2011. Until then fans will continue to swap stories, debate on which team they love best, and keep close to all the latest updates! For more details on Yamato’s review on "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and all her other work, check out http://www.movies.com/movie-reviews/jen-yamato .

"Twilight Saga: Eclipse" is currently playing nationwide in theaters and IMAX.

About The Author

Conception Allen is Blast's West Coast Bureau Chief. Known to most as Connie, she covers entertainment and has degrees in media arts and culture studies. She is also on the Blast Art Team, designing kick-ass graphics.

3 Responses

  1. Marina

    I really like everything that the director of the movie did with this third chapter of the Saga. It’s clear that the actors are more comfortable with each other and that their acting got a lot better.
    Also, the director was able to incorporate light humorous and battle scenes one after the other without losing the audience.
    Eclipse is by far the best movie out of the three.
    Another movie that I can think that has done something similar is The Incubus.
    Check it out.

    Let me know what you think.

  2. Mike

    I simply LOVE these experts. Experts predicted 7 of the past 2 recessions (same with every other area 😛 )


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