Monday, July 5, 2010

A Review: The Twilight Saga: Eclispe

I'll start with this: David Slade better thank his lucky fuckin' stars for being able to make this, after his comments about how he'd rather take a bullet then see a screening of the original Twilight.  

Why Summit decided he was still a fine choice is beyond me. I'm sure they saw the obvious badassness of 30 Days of Night and figured, "Why the hell not, it was still a freaky fuckin' vamp movie. Was it not?" It was. Too bad Summit didn't let him inject that dreadful fear and grim atmosphere into this franchise's current installment.

But Wait! There's more!

We start yet again, with the two of them in a seemingly arcane and beauteous field. Though rainy and full of dreary skies giving the vamps freedom to roam without "glistening", there is also an abundance of spectacular natural areas rife for love romps, kisses, and sweet nothing speaking. And great wide angle shots of course.

The plot of Eclipse is about the escalation the story has brought to all of Seattle, and eventually the blood spills into Forks. I use that word, escalation, and get sad this is no where near the caliber of The Dark Knight (though seldom is really). An army of "Newborns" is being hatched all over town. I don't mean babies when I use newborns, I mean freshly bitten humans. But to be chosen for the horrible five minutes of agony it takes to become a vampire--you need the right credentials. (Nazi occupied France, "May I see your papers please?") This new batch are all exclusively teens from what I can see, apparently no one is attracted enough to someone 25 or older to sink their teeth into them. They are are starting to pile up everywhere, and wouldn't you know it, in the first months of the transformation, they are the hungriest and most volatile. How convenient for a epic battle scene to take place in a large field in the mountains. Which, believe it or not, was a better way for me to spend the climax, rather then sit through a bunch of snot-nose Italian vamps in a chamber for 15 minutes while they slap around Robert Pattinson.

And speaking of those peop-- well, vampires--I can't damn stand them. They're such a chore to sit through on screen. Brooding angrily, staring ominously, single lines of dialogue (short of Fanning's drivel), and just all around badly acted. As if they were all told to act foreboding like they were trying to win "The Most Fearsomely Stupid Looking Vampire" contest. They all won trophies in my book. Fanning, not to mention, was officially bad for maybe the first time in her career. She definitely wasn't good in New Moon, but scribe Rosenberg has moved her into much worse territory. What a shame with such talent. A waste I say to you Mr. Slade.

Someone mentioned talent? kristen I-Hate-My-Life-Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner essentially bring nothing new to their roles but the same old safety nets they unconsciously established for themselves as actors. Launter get's soft, and then he oversells it. Lautner get's angry, and then he oversells it. Lautner get's hurt real bad, lays in bed in pain, and speaks to Bella softly... And then he oversells it. Where was that less-is-more approach he was starting to develop in New Moon I liked? Stewart does nothing more than juggle her men back and forth, with dread and misery all over her face for much of her screen time. That's not Stewart's (or Bella's for that matter) fault. They could zing up the script a little more without taking away from this on-going teen equivalent soap opera with mythical injections. 

The last two installments (Breaking Dawn) apparently have a strong fan base calling for an R rating. I have no doubt, that Summit will never let Melissa Rosenberg pen an R rated script. And given her recent comments, she conveniently has something different in mind. Pity. Might be just what the franchise needs, some pep in it's step. We are talking about Bill Condon here. A writer himself, he's garnered two adapted screenplay nod's from the academy with one win. And that's not to mention his Best Director nod I'm sure he could levitate teen vampire horror with soapy romance. Right? Which leads me inevitably back, to the script. I'll quote myself here, "Those nervous-studio-nellies, all about the paper..."

Every time some has anything to say, it's always direct and to the point, a single step above shouting orders on a battlefield. It's always a pain to see such little effort, short of a few witty lines Bella has, that was taken with a story rich for creative dialogue and great monologues, not... this stuff. Watch what Marc Webb did with his 500 Days Of Summer and get back to me if you feel like arguing.

I mean what is it about this franchise that attracts young, good looking actors with bad looking performances? Fuck! No one central or a secondary focus of this story is over 30 from what I can gather. That kind tends to get annoying.

One thing that has constantly bothered me in only two films--the fact that these werewolf bastards just keep ruining their clothes every change from a human to a big big doggy. I'll never get an answer better than, "That's because it's a movie" but that isn't good enough for me to settle with. We're in an economic depression and these fuckers are tearin' up their clothes on a daily basis. Just sayin. I guess it makes more sense now they never wear shirts. Better than a bunch of dudes who never wear shorts. Though it's too bad about Lea Clearwater, the new wolf buddy, she doesn't indulge in the topless amusement. :-( 

Or how bout the fact that this must be the weakest father in the history of fathers. This guy may wear a frown a lot (which is Billy Burke's go-to character trait for Charlie Swan) but please don't buy it. This is the same guy who hears that his daughter was kissed unwillingly, then punched someone in the face about, then sprained her hand their face. He shows no emotion about this. I dunno, call me an over-thinker, but wouldn't that get under your skin about your daughter? In the last film, he decided sending her to Florida to stay with her mother would be better than sitting down with his daughter to work it out about her crying all the time. I wonder how much his Father's Day gift costs?

Roger has taught us something, forgetting in which review he brought it up, he talked of how if your mind can wander to make abnormal astute observations during a film, what can you say of the film itself? Not to say this is a film--it is not. It's a movie. And for that reason it will remain one.

He also has a great poke at a particular scene that (if it weren't for the actors) could have maybe been one of the best parts of the movie (and I'm hard pressed just to find one "best parts"). The three of them find themselves stuck in a tent, with Bella's frail human body getting colder in the weather. This is an excellent plot device for Jacob to cuddle her (shirtless of course). 'Cuz he stay's extra warm, werewolf style son! Once asleep, Jacob and Edward find themselves alone together. Ebert writes:
"...Edward admits that if Jacob were not a werewolf, he would probably like him, and then Jacob admits that if Edward were not a vampire — well, no, no, he couldn’t. Come on, big guy. The two of you are making eye contact. Edward’s been a confirmed bachelor for 109 years. Get in the Brokeback spirit."
This was more entertaining then the last romp with Weitz, who is simply outclassed here an action director. I understand these books are translated with minimal artistic interrupt, or so I hope, worse thing to do would be messing with the story and pissing off all your fans. And these stories, while completely bubble-gum-retarded, are also fun to see on screen. Have I gotten sucked into the excitement with this crap? Fuck man... 

Bella has a really great line in this, talking to her friend Jessica (Kendrick) about her Valedictorian speech she tells her:

 "It just doesn't need any cliches. It's gonna be epic."
 Let's all think about that one for a minute shall we...

 Munki out. 

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