Hello friends and blogger cohorts! I've surfaced from a wild couple of weeks that included a wedding, visits with long not-seen family, and winery hopping in Oklahoma. (Who knew?) I hope each and every one of you has been well, and as a thank you for sticking around during my absence I'm offering you my review of the latest movie in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, Eclipse.
If you're not familiar with the story, have no fear, I'll try to keep the spoilers at a minimum.
If you've been alive during the last 6 years, you're probably aware of a little story called Twilight. It involves a teenage girl named Bella, a vampire boy named Edward, and lots of romantic teen angst.
If you're a writer, you should know that the stories (there are 4 in the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn) were so popular that they spawned an entire genre of literature called PARANORMAL ROMANCE, which from the Latin ANGSTIMUS MAXIMUS loosely translates to, LOVE STORIES THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU WITH CREATURES THAT DON'T EXIST.
The non-initiated should also know that the stories have become such hits that they've spawned a following of people called Twi-Hards as well as a series of mega-popular movies based on the books. At this juncture, I feel the need to give my Twilight street cred ...
I've read all 4 stories, and in fact told my wife to read them because I thought she'd like them. (Unlike myself, she's a proud card carrying Twi-Hard.) In the name of full disclosure you should know that I do not fancy myself as a Twi-Hard. I read the books because I noticed students I worked with reading them. As an aspiring author for the young folks, I deemed it to be necessary research.
Were they the best books I've ever read? No. Was I disappointed? Also no. The books are a fun read, and there are some definite lessons to be learned for aspiring authors as well as a pretty epic love story hidden amongst the brooding, sighing, sparkling, and kissing.
I've also seen all of the movies to date. (There have been three, with Eclipse being the newest.) My general thoughts on the previous movies is that they capture the mood and themes of the books quite well and are in some ways more digestible for the casual fan. Heck, even my mother watched the movies and said she enjoyed them, and I can guarantee she wouldn't find much value in the books.
SO WHAT ABOUT ECLIPSE?
I'm going to spare the intense story details here, assuming that if you're still reading you already know what's going on. I'll instead focus on the quality of the movie, specifically as it pertains to the story for which it is based.
Eclipse was easily my favorite book in the series, and the film didn't disappoint. The special effects are the best yet, and there is more of a focus on the side characters as opposed to just seeing Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) stare at each other for two hours. They've included lovely flashback scenes for Jasper and Rosalie that fans will surely applaud. Furthermore, I found the tension amongst the love triangle of Bella, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and Edward to be played to perfection. There's good humor (some of it not intended, but it's just so danged cheesy), and plenty of intense action throughout. There were even a couple of times that I actually felt the weight of Bella's choices, which is impressive considering I knew what the outcomes would be.
Perhaps the best thing I can say about the movie is that it was fun. Before the movie even began the crowd divided into Jacob and Edward factions. Once the show started, every time either character would appear cheering and jeering would start. Heck, there was even one vocal person in support of "Team Jasper"! Twilight is by definition a phenomenon, and watching the movie was more of an experience than an event.
My verdict? It's the most accessible movie of the bunch, so if you have a significant other who's been holding out, now is the time to force them to take you. It's no Schindler's List, but I think if you're even a casual fan of the source material and/or the movies I think you'll really love this one.
TEAM JACOB FTW!!!!!!!!!!