July 2, 2010

“Eclipse” Premiered June 30

By Bafed

Cited: Variety

twilight-eclipse“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” the 3rd movie in Stephenie Meyer’s trilogy was devoured by fans. This is also the one in which Bella must finally choose between her 2 beastly suitors. This time the movie is more like a blockbuster franchise deserves. This 3rd movie of the trilogy actually had a bigger budget, better facts and an edgier director. The director actually focused on the stars who make the movie. This release should reap Summit’s biggest yield yet.

Taking a cue from the “Harry Potter” series, which maintains continuity on the the writing and casting fronts while introducing a different feel with each change of director, the “Twilight” producers have embraced a variety of different visions behind the camera. Capitalizing on her indie sensibility and keenly observed teen insights, Catherine Hardwicke set the tone with the low-budget first film, with Chris Weitz expanding and flattening the world with his broader, daytime soap opera style in “New Moon.” Now, the task falls to Slade, who clearly understands how to work with actors while also demonstrating a welcome competence in the action and melodrama departments.

It’s no easy task taking a piece of material audiences already know inside-out and spinning it in such a way that individual scenes will generate tension and suspense. Slade sets us on edge from the outset with an atmospheric vignette merely alluded to in the book, as small-town boy Riley (Xavier Samuel) is ambushed and bitten by an unseen vampire in shadowy Seattle.

Not much happens for the 1st 300 pages of Meyers novel, during which vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) vie for the affections of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), with our increasingly impatient heroine determined to surrender both her virginity and her humanity to the routing bloodsucker (to his credit, Bellas 109-year-old boyfriend wants to marry her first).

Slade and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg wisely intercut these puppy-love scenes with uneasy horror-movie jolts. After all, “Eclipse” builds not to a showdown between Edward and Jacob (no matter how often he takes off his shirt, the poor wolf boy will never be Bella’s first choice), but to an uneasy alliance between the Cullen clan and Jacob’s tribe of shape-shifters, United to protect a Bella from the vengeance seeking Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, taking over the role from Rachel LeFevre) and her army of “newborns,” undisciplined not super-strong new vampires.

Rather than attempting to elevate Meyers swoony prose to the level of literature (the poor scribe exhausts herself trying to find synonyms for “perfection”), Rosenberg’s task is to faithfully adapt the material for fans in such a way that works on screen. That means having the freedom to remove, reorder or completely rewrite certain passages. She also has to contend with “Eclipse’s” muddled message — Bellas in a hurry to be bitten, while everyone else is telling her to slow down — and devises a nice graduation speech for best friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) on the merits of not rushing into things.

Despite the somewhat simpleminded source, the producers plot everything as if it were a strategic game of chess, paying off earlier gambles — Jacob played third wheel in the past, but gets a sexier kiss here — seeding future films. A particular interest is a wide-eyed young newborn (played by Jodelel Ferland) subject of Meyer’s spinoff novella, “The Short Second Life by Bree Tanner,” who serves as an effective tool in setting up the powerful Volturi’s villainy for the two-part “Breaking Dawn” finale.

“Eclipse” feels the most cinematic of the series so far, taking scenes out of the lunchroom and Swan House as much as possible. Slade shares Hardwick’s aesthetic of using dramatic aerial photography to give the otherwise intimate tale a more epic sweep and expands on it by repeatedly lining up the various clans like the subjects of a Vanity Fair cover shoot, their iconic group poses helping to make the movie seem as big as its following. Those Slade inherits “New Moon” d.p. Javier Aguirresarobe, his choice of lenses and shooting style (including a fair amount of handheld camera work) gives things a more dramatic energy.

With 11 companies working on everything from Edwards sparkling grin to CG wolves that seem realistic and blend with live-action characters, the visual effects have improved considerably. They are so good that in the scene of Bella side-by-side with K9 shake up seems real and nothing beats the site of the vampires and werewolves fighting in the climactic battle. However, even though the digital work outshines other departments, the bad makeup, lifeless wigs and creepy contacts actually disrupt the fantasy.

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My Take: I will have to wait until it gets to cable TV because I cannot afford to go to the movies. I had seen the first 2 movies and enjoyed them. I am actually considering getting a movie download so that I can see the movie sooner. I download sci fi movies all the time this would not be any different.

Downloading a movie is just like getting rock concert tickets online anymore. In fact, many people now get their sports tickets online. You can get almost anything online nowadays. Sometimes I think it is better to get things online than going to the store. I noticed convenient for people who are homebound and/or disabled.

I know someone that has an amazing hobby of models trains and he is wheelchair-bound. He orders all of his model train parts online because it is more convenient that way. All he has to do is wait for the mail to come in. The only bad thing about ordering everything online is that you don’t get out and meet people. It is a lonely way to shop.

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Other Resources

Packing for a Plane

There are a lot of airlines these days that offer televisions in the seats that people can watch whether they are in first class or are in coach, but for any family that’s going on a plane that doesn’t otherwise have some fun televisions, it’s best to load up those personalized kids bags with some activities for the plane or kids could get really rowdy after only a short time. Airplanes are so small and movement is so restricted that it’s important for parents to know how to make sure their kids are going to be entertained.

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