I had little in the way of expectations for the initial "Twilight" - I'd never heard of the books, and the trailer looked a bit on the ordinary side. However, silly me: the film proceeded to become a phenomenon and the success of the initial film spawned a trilogy (and I'm guessing other entries in the franchise are probably not out of the question, either.) However, a documentary entirely about the town that the film takes place in ("Twilight at Forks") seems like a bit much.
The third film in the series, "Eclipse", is directed by David Slade ("30 Days of Night"). The picture once again stars Kristen Stewart as heroine Bella Swan, who finds herself in the midst of a love triangle with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), the former a vampire and the latter a werewolf (and the pairing resulting in many irritating articles talking about "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob".) This time around, Victoria (a way miscast Bryce Dallas Howard; good actress, not good for the role) has come to Seattle to seek revenge on Bella, and is amassing an army of followers called "newborns", as they are still part human.
The vampires (I guess "team Edward") and the werewolves (um, "Team Jacob"?) agree to a fragile alliance in order to protect themselves and Bella against the oncoming army, which will swarm into the small town in a matter of days. This, of course, leads to a training montage. Unfortunately, this does not lead to "Eye of the Tiger" on the soundtrack, but instead a number of fairly generic pop songs. Director Slade really does try to bring a sort of seriousness and weight to the proceedings, and while it's sometimes moderately successful, there are some moments where the picture takes the material way too seriously, and the result is a few unintentional chuckles.
While Stewart is a little too moody in the role, she does generate some chemistry with Pattinson and the sum of the two on-screen is better than their parts. The movie does deal with the two trying to take their relationship further, but with a PG-13 rating a must, it's a lot of standard talk - some of these scenes are reasonably well-done, but it's too bad that the score or songs have to push them as Big Emotional Moments, in a heavy-handed way. The Bella character is also awfully wishy-washy; she wants to marry Edward, then can't understand why Jacob is upset and leaving. In the movie's most hilarious moment, she yells "Stay!" at Jacob with the same tone that one would tell a dog who's misbehaving (I guess the character is a werewolf.) Technically, the film offers enjoyable cinematography and entertaining choreography during the fight sequences, but some of the effects - while not bad for a film of this budget - could use a little work.
Overall, while it's not without its moments, I still don't quite get the "Twilight" films, but the target audience will likely still find "Eclipse" just as enjoyable as the prior two.
VIDEO: "Twilight: Eclipse" is presented on Blu-Ray in 2.35:1 (1080p). The result is a very nice presentation, although not one that I would consider demo quality. Sharpness and detail are pleasing, although not exceptional - fine object detail is a touch lacking. Some light edge enhancement is seen during a few sequences, but the presentation otherwise appeared smooth and clean. Colors looked cool and subdued, which is accurate, given the tone of the movie.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. The film's score and songs are a bit heavy-handed, but they sound crisp and full on this presentation. Surrounds kick in on several occasions during the most intense sequences to deliver effects and other elements. Audio quality is terrific, with crisp dialogue and well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson offer one commentary, while producer Wyck Godfrey and author Stephanie Meyer offer another. The latter track offers a good deal of comments on the source material, filming, working with the performers and technical talk. The commentary with the two actors offers the occasional small talk and factoid, but there are a number of moments of silence.
The second disc includes a 6-part "making of" documentary that lasts 90 minutes. The documentary does have its fair share of "happy talk" as the cast members talk about how Great (capital G) it was to work with everyone and how great everything was. However, excessive happy chatter aside, this is actually a rather well-done documentary that gives a solid overview of the production, showing the cast working with a new director, preparing and going through the process of filming. Definitely some good behind-the-scenes footage and insights into pulling the much-anticipated film together.
The second disc also has deleted scenes, a photo gallery, music videos and a "jump to" feature.
Final Thoughts: Overall, while it's not without its moments, I still don't quite get the "Twilight" films, but the target audience will likely still find "Eclipse" just as enjoyable as the prior two. Recommended.
The Film B-