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06/30/2010 12:03 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Twilight: Eclipse Review

2010-06-29-Picture6.pngFor Twilight devotees, today is an exciting day: the third installment of the series hits the big screen, drawing us right back into the drama unfolding in Forks, WA, between the vampires, the werewolves and Bella Swan. Eclipse was my least favorite of Stephenie Meyer's books in the Twilight series, but the movie is thus far my favorite. As with the other movies, there is a new director, David Slade (Hard Candy), who brings a fast pace to this story, and not once did I think the movie dragged on. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg succeeded in pulling the key parts of Meyer's text to help bring the action to life. The two main elements of the plot are the love triangle between Bella (Kristen Stewart), Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), although it really isn't a triangle because Bella knows she wants to be with Edward and Edward knows he wants to be with her -- it's really just Jacob who isn't getting it and still pursues Bella. Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is still after Bella and is raising an army of vicious "newborns" that will battle the Cullens, with the help of the werewolves.
We meet a few new characters in this installment -- Riley, who is hot the head of the newborns, and Lea and Seth -- new wolves added to the pack. We get to learn more about Rosalie and Jasper's pasts (shown in period costume), which help enlighten the audience about why she's against Bella transforming into a vampire and why Jasper knows how to fight newborns. Slade's style is also a departure from the first two films. He uses the power of the close-up to intensify the romantic, intimate moments. (Thank God Kristen Stewart's skin is so flawless!) The end result is a well-conceptualized story that should draw in a broader audience.

2010-06-29-Picture8.pngI asked some of the cast members, as well as Slade, why someone should go see the movie -- because why should you just take my word for it -- and here's what they said:

Robert Pattison (Edward Cullen): Why not? It's become so big that it's part of the cultural environment. And if you don't know what the story's about, you probably haven't been to the cinema before, so go to the cinema for once. [laughs] If you're a fan of it, it plays into what the fans of the series want. And if you haven't seen it, people have said it's the most accessible of the three. It's a solid story by itself -- it's an action film. When i was watching twilight the other day, you need to read the book to really get it and I'm in it. But this one, you don't need to.

Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan): This movie can stand alone. There's a lot of backstory in this one so you don't need to see the others to get this one. The love triangle is at the height; it comes to a conclusion -- it ends here. It has more action than other movies. There are more people and they all battle. For non-Twilight fans, it's a more dynamic movie.

Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black): If you like the first and second movie, then you'll like this one. Even if you haven't seen the first two, you'll still like it. It takes the romance, danger, suspense and then times that by five in this one. It's by far my favorite movie. They're at war the entire time. And there's the romance -- this is the height of the love triangle. Edward and Jacob are teaming up to protect Bella from Victoria and Riley. That's a very long way of saying, yes, you should see it.

David Slade (Director): If there are no other movies in the theater to see and if you don't have any other plans, then go; we have six or seven decapitations. It's a good night out. Being serious, it's the most mature book and I think we went for the most mature film -- there's a great deal of romance in the film. Vengeance is a big theme in the film. Our action scenes are built out of a need to get the character elsewhere.

Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen): The film has something for everyone. It's all leading up to this huge battle and the love triangle thickens in this one.

Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Cullen): There's a lot more vampire action that people are going to dig. It makes the darker side of the myth more exciting and it's going to explode on screen.

Elizabeth Reaser (Esme Cullen): I'm a fan of David Slade and it's good to see these new characters and actors and to see their back stories. And there are so many characters...that you're hooked.

Nikki Reed (Rosalie Cullen): It deals with universal topics and this "I would do anything for you" love. You get to learn some more about the characters, like Rosalie and Jasper that the fans of the books know about.

Peter Facinelli: I think there was a misconception when Twilight came out that it was for pre-teen girls and when guys saw it, they thought 'this is cool.' And then guys saw New Moon and there was more action. And with Eclipse, the action has gotten more intense. I like the intensity of that. You have themes of vengeance and alliances being formed between two different species -- two different clans that are mortal enemies that are teaming up for the common good. With those universal messages out there, with a family you can relate to, who are joined up for a common good...it's got a lot of things going on for a lot of people.