“The Twilight Saga” is undoubtedly the biggest phenomenon in today’s movie industry, leading to the emergence of a genuine cultural phenomenon as well. With massive support from the fans, characters that seem to transcend the big screen and the ability to move various items of related merchandise in unbelievable amounts, the one thing that “Twilight” has failed to do so far was to win over critics. That will change once “Eclipse” arrives in theaters tomorrow, critics agree.
The first reviews for the third installment of the franchise are in and, judging by them, it’s bound to be a winner on all fronts. Last year’s “New Moon” set new records at the box office and further strengthened the three stars’ status of international icons but critics hated it, and so did many fans who felt that director Chris Weitz had done the movie a grave injustice. David Slade (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days of Night”), a visionary director who plays by no rules than his own, will right whatever wrong has been done to Stephenie Meyer’s story so far, thus taking the threequel past all estimates, to write cinematographic history.
The Hollywood Reporter says “Eclipse” is by far the best movie of the series so far, managing to blend melodrama and action to create a superb movie that makes the most of all resources put into it. Actors are finally given the chance to shine – and they all deliver –, while all secondary characters are brought into focus without having the story lose that sense of emergency. Even in terms of special effects a definite improvement can be noticed, with the clashes between wolves and vampires being like the cherry on top. All in all, THR believes, “Eclipse” will turn out to be Summit’s biggest earner in a long while.
“Since Rosenberg’s writing has never been the problem in the series, much of the credit for the success of ‘Eclipse’ probably belongs to the series’ third director, David Slade. He quickly establishes a rapid yet unhurried pace, a willingness to let tongue perch in cheek and an unapologetic indulgence in this basic fantasy of every teenage girl - that two high school hunks are in love with her and willing to die for her, except, of course, that one is already undead. The three leads shine under his direction. Stewart anchors everything with a finely tuned if not slightly underplayed performance that catches her character in moments of doubt about the course and the man she has chosen. Pattinson makes you forget the white makeup and weird eye contact lenses to concentrate on a person torn over his love for a woman and the sacrifice he knows she will have to make to stay with him. But it’s Lautner who nearly steals the movie with his ripped muscle and steely acting. He definitely has the ‘it’ factor Hollywood always looks for,” THR writes.
Variety agrees: “Eclipse” will finally explain why the franchise is so popular in the first place. “‘Eclipse’ feels the most cinematic of the series so far, taking scenes out of the lunchroom and Swan house as much as possible. Slade shares Hardwicke’s aesthetic of using dramatic aerial photography to give the otherwise intimate tale a more epic sweep, and expands on it by repeatedly lining up the various clans like the subjects of a Vanity Fair cover shoot, their iconic group poses helping to make the movie seem as big as its following. Though Slade inherits ‘New Moon’ d.p. Javier Aguirresarobe, his choice of lenses and shooting style (including a fair amount of handheld camerawork) gives things a more dynamic energy,” the prestigious movie publication says in a review of the film.
All in all, Twi-hards should be happy to know that critics are finally warming up to the “Twilight” films, just in case they ever needed their approval. “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” opens in US theaters nationwide on June 30.