It turned into a thesis anyway. Sorry.
Here is my overly long and way too in-depth critique of the movie. It is an open invitation to discuss the movies.
Before I start, I need to let everyone know, I utterly abhor Twilight the movie. I don’t just dislike the thing, I loathe it for what it did to the book and the saga. That movie, and either the screenwriter or director or both, took an epic saga about the mystery of love and made it into a blue tinged teen romance full of overacted angst. As a lover of the books, I watched the film with the disconcerting feeling of being somewhere I knew, but still being lost; much like a nightmare with bad special effects. I couldn’t find the characters I loved or the places I knew. The only spots I recognized were Phoenix, the high school, and the Telletubbie meadow.
That isn’t why I hated the Twilight movie, though -- and I’m not off topic, this has everything to do with Eclipse. The reason I hated the Twilight movie is because none of the reasons I loved the book were there. I never really saw the love between Edward and Bella (I never even saw them
in the movie at all). I never got the first hint of the epic discourse on love that hooked us all regardless of age and caused volumes of analysis and argument in its wake. It began a saga that couldn’t get past the failure of the first move and has kept subsequent tries from being able stand up to the beauty of the books.
To be fair to Eclipse...
First off, I will critique it as a movie, not a book to film adaptation. I love both mediums, and I feel that to be fair, it should be measured as a movie first.
I truly enjoyed this as a movie in and of itself. As such, the plot was well thought out, the cinematography was superb, and the characterization was FINALLY interesting. The smooth plot line truly helped all of us enter the movie and stay with it throughout. There were some things that bothered me and some that made me mad, but overall, this movie was a good movie.
The things that bothered me about it as a film have all already been mentioned on the spoiler threads. First, Bella’s wig drove me nuts. I tried not to let it bother me, but it was just SO inconsistent that it was noticeable. Secondly, wrong Volvo. I know I am trying to measure it as a movie, but the stupid thing is silver. That would not have been hard to get right. The ring looked like one I once got out of a Cracker Jack Box. (Alphie and Nena, where did you get yours? I need to buy one in protest). Making Bella more assertive was unnecessary, and having her get on a bike and leave in front of Edward made me mad. The placement of Bree in the film -- behind the Cullens, and too close to a bleeding Bella, was just too unbelievable. Finally, the fact that Edward comes across as helpless and emasculated in this movie made me furious, as did the total Team Jacob feel of the films.
The final thing that really bothered me – and we will go back to it – is that the movie is billed as “it all begins with a choice,” but that choice is muddled in its delivery.
Having covered those issues, I have to say that this film, like New Moon, had some truly brilliant spots where it fully delivered the tone of the books and kept the story wonderfully true to theme. I loved the e-mails in New Moon and the way Chris Weitz covered the three months that made us all cry in the book. I thought making Edward a vision was brilliant for the movie because a voice would not have carried the same impact on the big screen. In Eclipse, I loved seeing Riley’s parents, it brought so much home to Bella about the change. I adored the quilt her mother made. The back stories were well done and really added to the depth of the film, though Emmett’s was missing, which causes a problem in the movie’s delivery of its theme. The wolves and presentation of the newborns and the fight were simply wonderful. I was very concerned that David Slade would make a vampire-wolf movie and keep it as a horror flick, but the romance came through loud and clear.
More importantly, I finally saw the characters I loved in the books. To be honest, Chris did a brilliant job with taking blue Bella from Twilight and giving her the strength and depth she needed for New Moon. I honestly think that man saved the movies, especially since he had the hardest one to work with. However, I finally saw Bella, the strong, snarky girl on the verge of becoming a woman who we could all relate to, in this film. I was so glad she showed up for the films. I also saw Edward here. I am not an RPatz fan, but he stepped up in this one in the tent scene. He was weaker than he should be, but he was there, utterly loving Bella to the point of giving her up. Rosalie and Jasper came to the party as well, though I still miss Alice. The ninja Cullens, and especially Carlisle, were awesome.
To his great credit, Taylor Lautner, who does not match the physical description at all, has always pulled off Jacob well. I don’t know if it’s the writing or him, but kudos to the kid. He made me like Jacob a lot more than I did.
So, as a movie it works. I was thrilled with what I saw. Now on to the harder stuff.
Eclipse and the franchise (you have no idea how much I hate that word, but it fits) have failed the books in an important, no, fundamental way. The movie worked well as a book adaptation on the surface issues, but they have all missed the core of the book. The things that make us all post on the Lex and still argue about the saga long after it has ended were not there at all. This is the mod stuff, the stuff that keeps us up late, the stuff that gets us in trouble with our hubbies.
As I said, this saga is about Everywoman (named Bella) who is offered two versions of love, one easy and one hard. We finally get to meet her in Eclipse, where she must decide on her future and choose between one life and another, or more specifically, which of the loves she will go for. We have discussed this ad nauseam on the Lex and other places, but the choice isn’t as easy as boy #1 and boy #2. It is about grasping your dream, giving up everything for the perfect love, sacrifice and redemption. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have had the references to Shakespeare, Austin, and Bronte.
AND THIS IS WHERE THEY HAVE ALL FAILED US.
The kicker is, none of the movies needed to miss these things. All Twilight needed to to do bring itself up to par was follow the book. The scenes we missed were so important. We get to know Bella through the blood typing scene and the Volvo conversation. We NEEDED
a real meadow scene. We needed to see ourselves in Bella, and those scenes, those words needed to be there. We needed to understand that she loved him and he loved her in a way that was truly impossible to break.
We needed to see the epiphany in New Moon. We needed to know that she is a new woman, able to survive, but still able to love after all the pain. We needed to hear Edward’s side of it. We needed to feel that Jacob was Paris, that Romeo was Edward, and that Bella would choose death to save him and risk it to even hear him again. We also needed to see that she was also strong enough not to.
In Eclipse, we needed to see the love and the choice. I loved and hated the last scene, added at the end of the movie. It is finally clear that Bella had no choice, she loved Edward more. More than life; the life she has and the life she could have had. We needed to see her vision
. We needed to see that she loved him enough to become evil (Wuthering Heights). We needed to see the horrible ramifications of a love that deep and sacrificial.
As a side, it would have been nice to have Emmett introduced, because the secondary discussion of is love enough would have kept BHG and I going for months!
On the last scene, as everyone has so beautifully noted, I loved part and hated part. Yes, finally we are TOLD what the movie is about, because honestly though they tried, they missed it. Yes, the movie is about her choice, but it came across as being about her choosing to be sparkly. We all know that Bella didn’t choose to become a vampire because she wanted to have sparkly super-powers. She chose it for Edward. If Edward hadn’t been in the mix, she would have never, ever, chosen that path. The choice was for a lifestyle that meant eternal sacrifice because of the LOVE. Of all the things the movie got wrong, this one is it. And it may have ruined it.
Why do we need to see the girl, the boy, and the love? Are we just that obsessed? Well, yes. Duh.
However, there is so much more to it. They have chosen and Oscar winning director for BD. This movie could have made the cut if Hollywood had just chosen to follow the books. The Twilight movie ruined it for them and made it almost impossible to catch up. We don’t get the set up that we needed. We don’t feel the connection. Chris W. did a brilliant job of upping the ante, but he failed to touch the deeper things. He didn’t touch on the message. We needed the epiphany for that. Eclipse tried. It really did. From the quilt to the talks with Charlie to the tent scene to the meadow, it tried. But without the foundation set in the other two books, the deeper things simply didn’t come out. Bella didn’t choose to sparkle because she wanted to be stone. She chose it because THAT
love was worth it.
*BD discussion of THE MOVIE. I'm not talking about the flaws of the book, but on the potential the movie holds. Put down the pitchforks, now!*
The frustrating thing is that all of these themes are what great movies are made of. If the themes behind the saga could have made it into the movies, I believe that BD might be a contender. Might. I’m not starting another discussion on the merits of the ending, just on the merits of what it could offer in cinematic form.
In BD, the love triumphs. (Really, REALLY
wins -- without a punch thrown.
) The culmination of the scenario is set up, and the book of love that SM wrote reaches its finale -- maybe not like we wanted, but Bella's ability to love comes out victorious. Like it or hate it, theme of BD is supposed
to be the triumph of love. Without the background that should have been set up in the movies, it will not be enough. Bella will sparkle because it’s fun, Jacob will get his forced happily ever after, and Edward will be about angst. THAT is where all of the movies have failed for me.