July 15, 2010

Movie Review: Eclipse or I am really not a bad actor,I'm just written that way

I know the title says "review" but this is not really a review. Quite frankly, I have no interest in writing a formal review of this movie. What that says about me, I will leave to you to decide. I am sure you have likely read your fill of reviews and opinions both for and against this movie that anything I have to say is just more noise for the echo chamber. This is more of an exorcism in the wake of actually sitting through said movie when I really had no intentions of seeing in the first place.

Why did I see Eclipse? I am not really sure. It must have been some combination of needing to see a movie with few options, morbid curiosity, and the fact that many have said it is more watchable than the others with Richard Roeper going a step further and saying it is one of the better movies of the year. Now, after seeing it for myself, I am not quite sure that we saw the same movie.

I am happy for Summit, the cast, and the fans. They have found something that speaks to them and Summit is riding it as hard as they can. three movies in less than two years, each one bigger than its predecessor. They know how to open these movies and service an audience that I guess does not have many movies made for them.

I did see the original Twilight. I did not like it, but I did not jump on the bash train. It was not a good movie and still is not a good movie. Then the craze really took off and I think that did much more damage to he franchise's public perception than the lack of quality did. Yes, they are still making a ton of money, but what if they were able to drag in more of the lay public, the non-fan? The fanbase is absolutely nuts and makes me want to have nothing to do with it at all. I did skip the second one and I seriously thought this would hurt me going into this one and I would be sorry without that information. I wasn't.

I sat in the theater for more than two hours waiting for something to happen. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Nothing. As I walked out, I heard fans behind me talking about how epic it was how it was their favorite movie ever. I swear, I had this pained grimace on my face that I am sure would choose to differ with them.

There are interesting ways to approach a series such as this. One way is to look at it as Star Wars for girls. All right, I can see that. Still, that shouldn't be a excuse. I have heard it used as an excuse, this is not a good thing as it sidesteps requirements for character, story, and quality, all of which the Star Wars films have. I do see the reason to target a big time franchise at another or underserved demographic, just please step up the quality.

Another way of looking at is like a video game. This works a little bit more for, but it is no less offensive to the movie fan. Think of the videogame, the player character generally does not have much of a personality, they are blank allowing the player to inject a little bit of themselves into the role to get more involved in the story of the game. Likewise, the Bella character is little more than a blank slate with plenty of room for the viewer to put themselves into the story in her stead. This is not how movies should be a approached, they are not video games, they are movies that tel full stories and have interesting characters (ideally of course).

Eclipse picks up the story as Bella is approaching graduation and she has made her decision to have Edward turn her into a vampire and they will be married and live happily forever after. Of course, there are those who don't want her around and a rival suitor in Jacob wishing to give her a better life. There lies the story.

What is pretty funny is that the primary action of the film, the sequence that brings this movie's conflict to a conclusion is simply a revenge fight for someone killed in the first movie. Things just sort of happen here for no particular reason that moves this story forward. It is like the secondary thread is thrust to the front for no other reason that it involves action.

The writing is simply awful. Besides the issues with the plot threads being tossed around with little actual thought, the characters have no depth. I do not believe that any of the players are truly bad actors, not that they are good but they have nothing to work with. Kristen Stewart is a blank slate with no personality as a character stringing along two guys (when it is clear who the right one is). Robert Pattinson is just there to be pale and brood, quite annoying. Then there is Taylor Lautner whose goal is to be pissed off and shirtless as often as possible. Really, that is about as in depth as they get.

This is a movie built on angst and selfishness. It all was put into perspective during the graduation with the valedictory speech given by Anna Kendrick's character about this being the time to make mistakes and find your way since nothing is permanent. Well, it is the sort of speech that should give our heroine pause, and it did for about 10-seconds before she was off and running back to Edward.

Eclipse is not a good movie. The story goes nowhere. The action climax is a side product of a secondary story. The characters are shallow and boring. The screenplay has no meat on its bones. The performances are flat. I could go on, would you like me to?

I have to believe that this series could be ended really quickly if they all got over themselves and had a legitimate conversation. These people are saying things but are not saying anything. Everyone dances around what they need to say without saying it and this leads to misinterpretations and the disastrous consequences that result.

Vampires do not sparkle. Vampires have fangs. Why do defeated vampires break like glass? (my guess is fr the rating) I prefer werewolves to people who turn into wolves. I like special effects that are convincing. I like screenplays that are interesting. I like performances that at least try to make something of the material no matter how thin.

I believe I am done with the franchise. I have no interest in the characters and have wasted enough time with them.  Unless I remember other things I wanted to say here.



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