Unlike New Moon (which really disappointed me on the first viewing) I loved every single one of the 124 minutes of Eclipse. Props to Melissa Rosenberg who did a fabulous job with the screenplay; The film is very true to the book. The film features all of the essential scenes, as well as all of my favorites. The diamond effect of vampire skin in the sun was done beautifully - much more realistically than in Twilight or New Moon. A nice touch is Edward's sparkle reflecting on Bella's skin. Other vast improvements on previous attempts are the vampire speed and the look of the wolves. Added to the great visual effects, the score and soundtrack are both very dramatic and spot on!
The acting is also getting better with each film. To my utter delight Kristen Stewart doesn't stutter in an attempt to be dramatic, and there is much less hyperventilation than I've come to expect. Bella Swan is much less tortured, and in the process of becoming the mature Bella she will be in Breaking Dawn. Robert Pattinson does a respectable job as Edward Cullen, but somehow as the films progress I find him less and less believable as Edward. He doesn't quite bring book Edward to life for me. In direct contrast I find film Jacob Black much less annoying than book Jacob Black – kudos to Taylor Lautner! The tension between Bella, Edward and Jacob is portrayed perfectly, especially in the much anticipated tent scene where ice cold Edward has to watch space heater Jacob keep Bella warm in a blizzard. Awkward…
Xavier Samuel is perfect as Riley Biers - Exactly as I imagined Riley to be! One thing I was worried about was Bryce Dallas Howard replacing Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. If this is one of your concerns, no need to worry. Bryce delivers a wonderful performance. Very intense and a little insane, to my surprise I actually prefer Bryce to Rachelle! Boo Boo Stewart is introduced as Seth Clearwater, my favorite member of the Wolf Pack, and I’m not at all disappointed with his performance. He's young, sweet and eager to be friends with everyone... wolves, vampires and humans alike. Julia Jones is also very spot on with her portrayal of the tormented Leah Clearwater. I'm not a fan of the Wolf Pack in the novels, but Taylor, Boo Boo and Julia along with Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call), Tyson Houseman (Quil Ateara), Bronson Pelletier (Jared), Alex Meraz (Paul) and Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley) give the Wolf Pack a charm that I didn't see in the books. The Wolf Pack cast work together brilliantly and their scenes are actually quite fun to watch. I find myself wishing they had more screen time!
The Wolf Pack
Michael Welch is once again very funny as Mike Newton, as is Anna Kendrick as Jessica Stanley, even though their screen time is very limited. To my mind the only casting error ever made in The Twilight Saga (so far), was casting Dakota Fanning as Jane. I was disappointed when I heard she’d been cast, and I’m still disappointed. When I think sadistic, pain inflicting, powerful Italian vampire, I don’t think sixteen year old blonde haired, blue eyed teenybopper. Her acting doesn’t impress me one bit, and I don’t think she does the character justice at all.
What I especially love about Eclipse is that the other Cullens get more screen time. My favorite couple (except for Bella and Edward, of course) is Alice and Jasper, and especially in Eclipse the chemistry between Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone is very charming. Alice is as lovable as always, and Jasper is finally portrayed as the sweetheart that he is. Everyone’s favorite big brother, Emmett, is again perfectly portrayed by Kellan Lutz, and Rosalie is finally becoming more likable. Nikki Reed offers the perfect combination of sad and melancholy, but content. I also love the way Jasper and Rosalie’s back stories are introduced – again, exactly as I imagined it.
The scene I most anticipated was the battle between Cullens, the Wolf Pack and the army of newborns, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I am very impressed! Brilliantly choreographed, brilliantly delivered and brilliant to watch. It was awesome to see Carlisle and Esmé work together on the battlefield as they do in “life”. Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli work together flawlessly to bring the mother and father of the Cullen Clan to life.
Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay along with David Slade's talents in the Director chair provides for a powerful film that can't possibly disappoint any fan of Stephenie's book. I can’t wait to see what Bill Condon will do with Breaking Dawn. With Melissa Rosenberg again writing the screenplay, I’m not too worried. The film will be split into two parts so that nothing vital of Stephenie’s 640 page novel has to be omitted. Filming of Breaking Dawn will start somewhere in the next six months, and part one is scheduled for release on 18 November 2011.
The choice has been made. Edward and Bella are finally engaged and planning a wedding. I'd be smiling too!