Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review: The Twilight Saga, Eclipse (movie)

I don't normally review movies on here, but I guess with Twilight it's okay to make an exception. I find Twilight to be one of those rare exceptions to that nearly authoritative rule, the book is always better than the movie. Before I begin the review, allow me to backtrack a bit, to the bitterly cold December of 2008.

I first saw Twilight the movie in late 2008 before ever picking up the book, and I loved it. I was captivated by the fierce and mysterious connection between Bella and Edward, by Edward's struggle not to kill Bella, by Bella's almost animal attraction to Edward. The lush, eerie setting of Forks, Washington pulled me in, as did the awesome soundtrack.  I believe I've actually watched the first Twilight movie about seven or eight times (I have an addictive personality).

After seeing the movie for the first time, I immediately went out and got a copy of the book. I can still remember buying it at Barnes & Noble.  A middle aged woman saw me standing in line with the book and launched into an impassioned speech about how amazing those books are, how they're so much better than the movie, how I was in for such a treat! Awesome, I thought! It was a ruthlessly chilly December night, death-flakes all around. I had recently moved to a new city to start a new job that I definitely hadn't gotten the hang of yet, so I was stressed out all the time.  I had next to no social life.  The frigid northern climate was an offense to my southern spirit.  A new addictive book series (possibly the new Harry Potter???) would be just the perfect escape from it all!

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm ended with the hypothetical. Once I actually began reading Stephanie Meyer's absurdly juvenile prose (seriously, I've stumbled across book blogs by 12 year olds that are better written than Twilight)--once I realized that Meyer's Bella was not nearly half as interesting as Kristen Stewart's Bella--my hopes of discovering a new Harry Potter seemed as ridiculous as the idea of stepping outside my house without my enormous blue marshmallow coat, long underwear, and mittens (yes, mittens. They are warmer than gloves!).

I read somewhere that originally Meyers had only planned to write two books, Twilight and a much longer Breaking Dawn, but her publisher (those savvy sharks!) persuaded her to expand the project into a 4 volume series.  I found this out after I'd already finished the series (yes, despite my disappointment, I read--or at least skimmed the greater part of--all four books...I just sort of needed to know what happened) - and in retrospect it's really enlightening. Consider New Moon. There's a bit of action in the first chapter or two when it seems like Jasper's about to rip out Bella's throat after she gets a paper cut (I always found this odd considering he seemed able to control himself at the end of Twilight when she was spilling buckets of blood...but never mind, everyone regresses from time to time!). And there's a bit of action at the end, with the Volturi. But the other 400 pages? Mindless, mind-bogglingly boring emo sap.

Anyway. Back to Eclipse.  Eclipse is a little better than New Moon, in that some stuff actually does happen, and some of the characters besides boring Bella are flushed out a bit more. But as with the previous installments, the movie was much, much better than the book. If I was at all invested in this story, I would definitely be a proud member of Team Jacob now. In the books, Jacob annoyed me to tears. I could not understand why Bella even bothered with him. But in the movie...mmmmm. I'm not saying Taylor Lautner's a great actor. But...he is steamy. And he makes a convincing case for why Bella should be with him. And he's interesting.

I am so bored of Edward and Bella. We're told over and over again that they have this undying love, that their love is more important than anything in the world. Sure, Bella sheds a few pretty tears when she says goodbye to her mother --and the fact that this scene was even remotely poignant is a credit purely to Kristen Stewart's acting skills. But the fact is, Bella never thinks twice about giving up her family forever at the ripe old age of 18 so she can become a vampire and be with Edward for all eternity.  Her selfishness is almost as staggering as is Meyer's pathetic attempt to convince us that Bella cares about others more than herself.

At the end of Eclipse, Edward asks Bella yet again why she's so set on becoming a vampire. She delivers a bizarre--if heartfelt--monologue about how until she met the Cullens, she always felt so awkward! She was just stumbling through life!  And what? The solution is to forsake your entire family and become one of the undead? Without even consulting her parents about it, Bella unilaterally makes the decision to cut them out of her life for good so that she won't feel awkward anymore. So that she'll never have to say goodbye to her boyfriend of one year. And this person is supposed to be selfless?

The other issue is the Volturi. I'm sorry but these guys are just a laughingstock. It's clear that Meyer needed some kind of plot device to expand the original two volumes into four. So she just thought up this ridiculous clan of ancient vampires who can conveniently jump on the scene whenever things get a bit dull--even if their doing so makes absolutely no rational sense. Blahhhh.

Ok, rant over. I didn't hate Eclipse the movie. I found myself laughing pretty hard a few times, and like I said, I was a huge fan of the Jacob/Bella interaction. But is saying that a so-so-movie is better than a total crap book really a credit to either?


  1. I'm actually in the process of writing an Eclipse review too. I hadn't intended to, but I finally caved to my need to talk about it. (Though it's been a saved/worked on/saved draft for two days now. :/)

    Our views are quite different, but I enjoyed reading your review nonetheless!

    Happy readings!

  2. thanks for reading my review! i'm glad you still liked it despite thinking differently. twilight is one of those things, for better or worse, that everyone's got a strong opinion on. i can't wait to read your review...i'm sure it will give me more to think about.