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Twilight Eclipse Review: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

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The long awaited film based on the third book in the Twilight series opened to record setting pre-sales and midnight showings. Crowds waited in long lines for hours in order to be the first to see the film. I waited until Wednesday. I settled into my seat anxious to be thrilled. At the end of the film, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the movie. I decided to let it settle in my psyche for a day or two and then write my review.

First, a few comments about the actors involved in this series. We can all agree their lives have significantly changed due to the popularity of these films. Unfortunately, change isn’t always good, or should I say, handled with maturity. Over time, some of the principal stars have become more endearing, while others have become hate-able. Within this context, the fans have also changed in the way in which we approach these films. We now have mental filters about these actors that didn’t exist when we first saw Twilight. For better or for worse, these filters influence our feelings about these movies. For me, it’s making it more difficult to say I actually like the film.

But, there are some excellent qualities reflected in the work. Melissa Rosenberg deserves kudos for her screenplay adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s book. You can sense Melissa’s pride in her work and her desire to be loyal to the original story. She successfully transfers emotions from the book including love, hate, fear, sorrow and the ultimate lack of control and makes them visible on film. At this point in her career with this subject matter, you can feel Melissa’s genuine concern for these characters. Her dialog helps to create likable moments despite some of our preconceived feelings about the actors themselves.

And, congratulations to director, David Slade, for creating a pace that meets the needs of the storyline. He doesn’t allow the action to suffer or bore the audience while still laying down critical milestones within the story. David stays true to the overall theme of Bella’s internal struggle over her love for Edward and Jacob and her decision to join Edward’s world. The audience can experience first hand all of Bella’s pain including her anxiety over losing contact with her human life.

I’d like to add one last comment about these films. Neither New Moon nor Eclipse holds up well as good “stand alone” films. I think this is a dangerous trap that happens to films based on a book series. Another example of this would be the Harry Potter films. That said I do believe Harry Potter rewards the audience with a good story within each film. With the Twilight movies, it feels like I’m just waiting for Breaking Dawn. I’m not sure I can put into words what this means but something is missing; some sense of satisfaction I usually feel at the end of a good film.

I want so much to love these movies that it’s difficult to say I don’t. My internal struggle comes from not being able to go back to the purity of the first time I saw Twilight.

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