Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Dakota Fanning, Peter Facinelli 

Director: David Slade

Writer(s): Melissa Rosenberg

Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe

Original Score: Howard Shore

Running Time: 124 Mins.

Thus far the self-titled “Twilight Saga” has offered us up a number of things, firstly a rejuvenated interest in all things vampire (True Blood, Daybreakers, Vampire Diaries et al), secondly not one, not two, but three iconic and ridiculously popular young actors in Pattinson, Lautner and to a lesser degree Stewart, and least significantly two mediocre film adaptations of books that by rights shouldn’t really grace the screen given there endless pages covering either moping over teenage love and/or long and drawn out speeches describing feelings to one another.

As such the adaptations have been admirable in the respect that they have made rather boring and stilted ream’s of dialogue mildly entertaining, all the more amazing given the workman-like approach to the material by two directors with little in the way of visual flair or having worked within a similar genre. So it comes as a nice surprise to learn that for the third installment of the saga we have an actual horror director (30 Days of Night)  in David Slade who has also had experience in directing a film to deal with troubled teens in the excellent, yet disturbing, Hard Candy.

Both of these beats work well within the confines of the Twilight world, shot with flair which helps give the film a more distinguished look to start with we are thrust into a very tense and most importantly scary sequence that sees a man stalked through the rainy streets of Seattle. It’s a good start and suggests a more plot led film over the lingering and endless conversations of past efforts, alas what follows is as packed full of such exchanges but this time they are tinged with both a sense of humour that takes the edge off all the melodrama and the sense that the actors now have grown with confidence into their respective roles, and each other.

Exchanges between Edward and Bella are tedious in there seriousness but it is nice to see other characters who have spent two films stood in the background taking on a substantial and key roles, with two or three even offered bookstores to compliment their likeable characters, something which allows you to invest in the film a little more. Sadly the constraints of making sure Eclipse stays within the 12 certificate means that Slade is hampered from pushing the horror beats too far, which is a same as you can’t help but feel he wants too, especially during the bloodless battles.

Other plus points though come in the form of much tighter pacing, a real sense of foreboding and dread which makes for an interesting film and some much improved effects, no doubt thanks to a higher budget. The main benefit of this comes in the shape of the wolves and general effects of the vampire movement which went from laughably bad in Twilight, passable in New Moon to actually rather good here, however it would seem the sections of the film that work best are those that are either breezed over or not actually in the novels, a telling sign of the brand actually proving better theory than execution.

interestingly all that is good here seems to come from Slade’s influence as a director familiar with the appropriate genre’s, meaning that the choice of director (Bill Condon, director of Dreamgirls and Kinsey) for film 4, Breaking Dawn, (parts one and two) is made all the more baffling.

VERDICT

Eclipse is by far the best of the Twilight films, yet still retains the same weaknesses, stilted dialogue, endless pontless converstaions, thankfully it is made more interesting through the implemantation of an actual interesting plot, married with a sense of dread and finally…some kind of horror film sensibility.

 

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