As most of you know, a special screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was shown to Oprah’s audience members on Tuesday May 4, 2010. I was able to attend the screening. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I hope to make this review as spoiler free as possible. Now if you are trying to stay 100% spoiler free stop reading here, but if you want more, read on .
First off, I think it needs to be made clear that what we saw that night was an unfinished product. I spoke with a representative from Summit after the film to confirm a few things before I passed any judgment on any particular section of the film. I was told that the sound for the film we saw was mostly raw, meaning not a lot of over dubbing had been done to clean up the vocal quality of the dialogue, and that the sound track wasn’t completely provided. This was good news to me as I found some of the dialogue difficult to understand. There was even one section where the sound disappeared completely and subtitles were supplied so that we would know what Edward was saying to Bella. There were also long 10 – 15 minute segments of film, all non-action scenes, with absolutely no underscoring. You don’t realize how much that underscore means to the emotion of a film until you watch a film without it! And now that we’ve heard parts of the soundtrack, I am really excited to hear that music incorporated into the film.
Other than the sound, the special effects weren’t finished. We were told at the start of the film to expect the finished product to be sharper and more visually dynamic. I’m not sure which moments were missing their effects, but I’m guessing that some of the vampire battle moments will get tweaked as well as the wolves. We did get a shot of a few wolves in their silvery, computer digitalized versions, which was a bit of a shock to see and really makes you understand the work that goes in to animating the wolves. However, the moments with the finished wolves we’re just beautiful. I felt that each wolf’s character really came through. There is one moment in particular with Jacob in wolf form that is just perfection.
So that being said, what we DID see was 100% of the storyline. Let me reassure those of you who still doubt the romance of the film that it is there. It is so totally there! Every kiss you expect to see is there. Every moment of longing and confusion is there. From marriage proposals to leg hitches, it’s all there… and then some. The chemistry is hotter than ever. No need to worry about this side of the film.
Those of you that have missed the Cullens in the first two movies will not be disappointed. All the Cullens get more screen time, with the obvious emphasis on Rosalie and Jasper and their back stories. It was really quite fantastic to see them playing their human counterparts, and then to see both of them as red eyed vampires. The flashbacks were some of my favorite moments of the film.
Wolf pack fans, you get a treat, too. The scene that comes from chapter 11 of Eclipse (Legends) is very well done. Even though the CG on the wolves wasn’t finished, I felt there was more emotion and characterization in the wolves this time around than in New Moon. The new additions to the pack are played exactly as you expect. The crowd gave a sweet “awwww” when we first met Seth in the film. Booboo Stewart is so spot on Seth that you can’ t help but smile at him. Julia Jones is as bitter and edgy as Leah should be.
But I think the thing everyone will be talking about when they walk out of the theatre is the action. Action, action, action! Vampires being vampires and werewolves being werewolves. The action in the film rocks! It’s fast paced and intense. Yes, there is blood and the vampires die on film exactly as described in the books. Some of it will make you say “ewwww,” but then if you’ve read the book you know how certain characters go out in the end.
The few things that have had me concerned are the same things that have had every fan concerned from the moment we first saw the trailer. Jackson’s and Kristen’s wigs are just… not good in the version that I saw! There was online speculation that some of the pick up shots that were done recently were to fix Kristen’s wig. I had it confirmed from a Summit representative that Bella’s hair was actually digitally remastered so that she would have the natural looking hair we all know and love, and not an obvious wig with a dodgy hairline! I’m not sure if they did the same for Jackson, but I hope they did something. Jasper’s hair looks stringy. When in confederate uniform, Jasper’s costumes were fine; however, some of his more modern costumes reminded me of Mister Rogers in a few scenes. I find it really sad because Jackson did such a good job with Jasper’s back story. He really shines in this movie, but his hair and cardigan sweaters are somewhat of a distraction.
For the typical die-hard fan there are some changes made: a line choice here, a moment missed there. However, I don’t feel I can really address them here without spoiling too much. It isn’t much of an issue, just a few minor things that I wished had been done differently. And keep in mind that I am personally attached to Eclipse, so I figured I’d be pickier about this film than any of the others. So as a fan of the books, I understand that when adapting book to film that some things have to go or be changed, but it wasn’t anything vital that made me think the heart of the plot was destroyed or that familiar characters were acting out-of-character.
Overall, I honestly feel this is the best of the three films, and I’m not saying that just because I’m a Twilight fan. That comes with the addendum that I also feel it is the best book in the saga. So take my opinion for what it is worth on that account. However, with the intensity of the romance and the fast-paced action sequences, I expect every Twilight fan will be thoroughly pleased with the end result. More than pleased – I expect this film to crush some box office records not because it’s a Twilight film, but because it’s a great summer movie! Bravo David Slade. And bravo to the cast and crew for truly bringing their A-game for this one. I can’t wait to see the final product on June 30th!