As promised here is my review, which mostly focuses on the lack of theme of choice in the movie.
Warning this post is long!
Eclipse is my favorite book in the Twilight Saga. Meyer successfully combines humor, romance, and suspense into a thought provoking novel. The theme of choice is predominant in the book. In the first two books, Bella has already made up her mind to become a vampire without comprehending how much she will lose in that process. In Eclipse, she not only understands what she chooses to become a vampire despite all the things she might lose. Every aspect of the novel revolves around this point.
My main problem with the film adaptation is that this theme of choice is danced around and the characters vaguely talked about it, but it is never shown to the viewer throughout the movie. It was as if the director, screenwriter, or both, were not sure what to make of the theme, which as a result made the movie choppy and left me empty and confused. I know that film adaptations of books and the original novels are two separate forms of art that depends on one’s interpretation or vision. I also know that the films will change parts of the book, but they should retain at the very least the spirit of the book. Eclipse, however, resembles the book in its superficial form; however it lacks the heart and emotions that affected many of its readers.
In my opinion what has plagued the Twilight Saga movies so far is the lack of character and relationship development, particularly of the leading pair. In the Twilight movie (which I absolutely abhor), Bella and Edward’s relationship isn’t discussed. In the span of one hour they meet, dislike one another, and then can’t live without one another. Even literature’s fastest relationship, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, took at least three days to develop.
To say the least there were many things missing in the first two movies. The viewer needed to see Bella and Edward talking and getting to know one another. We also needed to see how both of them loved each other in their own way. In other words, we needed to see why Bella is so devastated when Edward leaves in New Moon. In New Moon (which I thought was very well done out of the three movies), we needed Edward to apologize for leaving and have his epiphany of loving Bella. We needed to recognize that Bella is a strong, different person now who sees Jacob as a satisfying match (if monsters and magic didn’t exist), but who also knows that Edward is someone she can not live without. These necessary parts can be shown through dialogue and emotions in the movies. The relationships in Eclipse continue the trend of its predecessors. Instead of a complex love triangle, I saw a nonexistent one.
Bella continues to be robotic and cold. She has some powerful phrases that are suppose to tug on your heart strings, but they just come out as words without any emotions. For example, when Bella visits Jacob after he is injured from the battle scene is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the Twilight Saga. This is the moment where she has finally admits to herself that she does love Jacob, but is ready to leave him. She is in tears for leaving her best friend, who has helped her in her darkest times and who she possibly may not see ever again. In the movie, the scene lacks emotion from Kristen Stewart. She does not seem sad or even comes across as even caring for Jacob in any way. There are no tears or watery eyes or even a lip tremor from her. Taylor Lautner, however, does a great job in expressing Jacob’s anguish through is facial expressions. This scene is extremely important thematically. Jacob represents what Bella would have if she continues to live her life as a human. Jacob and Bella’s complex relationship, which is developed quite nicely in the New Moon movie, is negated and not recognized at all in Eclipse. A missing scene where Bella breaks down in front of Edward needed to be included to show the viewers just how much Jacob means to her.
Another scene that left me unsatisfied is the ending of the movie. Bella has finally made her well informed decision to become a vampire. She states that she wants to become a vampire (I’m paraphrasing): “It was never a choice between you [Edward] or Jacob, but between who I should be and who I am.” While I love this line, but I think it does not send the real message of the book. Bella is choosing to become a vampire because of love, but rather the statement says that Bella is choosing to become a vampire because it gives her another opportunity for her to fit in. True, it is ultimately Bella that must make a choice, but the reason why she chooses is for love.
Edward for the most part is emasculated and mute for most of the movie. Many of his dialogues in the book allow the readers to see not only his flaws, but also his many attempts to make up for his dramatic exit in New Moon. In the movie, Edward comes across as a lovesick puppy whose main goal is to try to persuade Bella in marrying him. He seems less concerned and frustrated with her making the choice of joining him. Serious issues such as having a soul and experiencing humanity are glossed over in the few minutes before and after the proposal. I am the first person to admit that I do not like Robert Pattinson as an actor. I don’t think he can act and he is most definitely not my version of Edward. I do, however, see the screenwriter not giving him a voice or even an opportunity to try to become Edward. It comes across as if the viewers already know Edward and therefore, he does not need to be explained. I thought Robert did a good job in the proposal scene. What continues to bother me is that Edward is supposed to be a good fighter, who uses his ability to read minds to his advantage. He appears to be the opposite in the movies and has a hard time defeating his opponents.
Unlike the mute Edward, Jacob is given a voice and presence in the movie. Instead of continuing his role as Bella’s best friend, he comes across as a spoiled, whiny boy who is struggling to win something that he knows he can never have. Jacob’s role in the Twilight Saga is complex. He is not only Bella’s best friend, but also a symbolism of the humanity Bella would lose if she becomes a vampire. It is clear from the movie that he does not agree with Bella’s decision; however, Jacob should be seen as trying to understand why Bella makes her choice. The movie should have built upon their friendship. I saw a flicker of this in the scene where Jacob and Bella attend the tribe meeting where the Third Wife story is mentioned. I can see the two characters feel uncomfortable in their possible future roles. More scenes like this where these two characters connect with one another should have been added.
In addition to the lack of a love triangle, I also found two inconsistencies in the movie that didn’t sit well with me. The first scene is at the graduation party where Alice sees a vision. Alice can not see her visions when wolves are present. Therefore the graduation scene where the wolves are present and the vision takes place doesn’t make sense. The second inconsistency has to deal with Bella’s engagement ring. I found the ring in the movie to be hideous. The ring in the book is described as a long oval face, set with slanting rows of glittering round stones, and a golden band. The ring from the movie looks like a shined, ordinary rock on a silver ring band.
There are parts of the movie, however, that I really enjoyed (no, really) such as the “talk” between Charlie and Bella as well as Bella visiting her mother in Florida, which were both very well executed by the actors in the movie. The Cullen training session and Jasper’s background story were well done. I glad that Jackson Rathbone finally had an opportunity to shine and was not creepy like the first two movies. The graduation speech and the appearance of the humans in the movie added a nice touch, but I wished they played a bigger part in Bella realizing the various relationships should be losing. Eclipse definitely has more of the humor and action than the first two movies. I just wish the movie spent a bit more time in developing the various relationships in the movie.
“Darkness will never take me…because I have you. Light of my life, Marissa. That’s what you are.”-
Banner by the awesome, beautiful and incredible Nena!