Every time a Twilight movie comes out, I have to go see it. My wife is a HUGE fan. So much so that she dragged me to see Eclipse while we were on our honeymoon...even after she already saw it. I'm not a fan. The first film came out and I thought it was such a poorly made pile of crap that I couldn't stand to watch it. However, just like with this third installment of the series, I had to see the second one too. The second, New Moon, was better and you could tell they were starting to right the wrongs they made with the first one. If Eclipse is an indication of how things are evolving in the series, then the last film should be great. The Twilight Saga is getting increasingly better. That's not because of the story, although that is strengthening as well; it's because the studio is finally putting some money, time and talent into it. It's apparent to me that the mistakes that were made when the first film was are being corrected, such as casting and who they choose to helm the project. Last time they added Grade A quality performers in the form of Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Runaways) and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, 30 Rock). This time they replaced a nobody performer named Rachelle Lefevre, who played the villainous Victoria, with a much more recognizable and talented Bryce Dallas Howard (Spiderman 3, Lady in the Water). They also seem to be getting better and better directors. This time around they went with David Slade. Now Twilight is far from horror, but by bringing in a rising star of the genre, it gives the project some much needed fangs. Slade directed the gruesome vampire film 30 Days of Night, which wasn't a very good story but was directed very well. But what really blew my skirt up was Slade's film Hard Candy. It starred Ellen Page as a would-be victim of a pedophile who gets her revenge. I consider it one of the scariest horror films I've ever seen and it was all due to his manipulation of the actors and the look of the film. Did he bring that same talent to Eclipse? Well, not all of it but he did bring some. Eclipse does have a darker look and better acting though. That's a relief since it contains three fairly untalented actors. Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson aren't terrible, but they both could be much better. Kristen Stewart is one of the worst working actresses in Hollywood though. I have no idea why she is the "IT" girl right now, but thanks to David Slade...she's at least watchable. She used to have a stuttering way to her technique that was as irritating as a fork scraped across a plate to me. But in Eclipse, she didn't do it...not even once! Thank you David Slade! There are some things I didn't like. The movie builds toward what appears to be an epic battle scene that falls flat in its action. But scenes are in it that successfully and finally pull me into the melodrama of the love triangle that Bella is in. I find myself choosing a side and wanting her to pick it. That's what the point of the series is. Will she be with Edward or Jacob? Who knows, but it's getting more exciting and intense as it goes on. Let's just hope the improvements being made are going to continue that way. If they do, we're well on our way to a great finish.
Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B