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Twilight Saga: Eclipse Early Reviews: Best of Three

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 28, 2010 at 2:08AM

Now that two positive trade reviews are in on Twilight: Eclipse, I can weigh in as well.
Thompson on Hollywood

Now that two positive trade reviews are in on Twilight: Eclipse, I can weigh in as well.

I agree with EW's assessment that this is the best movie of the three. For one thing, while Catherine Hardwicke did a strong job establishing the franchise, David Slade is by far the best director. And the story of Eclipse, adapted per usual by Melissa Rosenberg, is far more satisfying and well-structured than New Moon, which suffered from the depressed state of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the absence of her vampire heartthrob, Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson). While Chris Weitz introduced Cullen's werewolf rival Jacob (Taylor Lautner) in New Moon, in this third film, the central love triangle, as both men press their suits with Bella, is front and center.

All three actors are comfortable with their characters, and Slade finds the right balance of action and romance; the story feels organic. Some of the dialogue is earnest and silly--these are "teenagers" after all (it's slightly creepy when Edward reveals how old he really is), but the core strength of the Stephenie Meyer novels is here: the battle between life and love, warm and cold. A scene in a frosty tent with Edward unable to keep Bella warm is brilliantly executed. Judging by the screaming responses to the premiere, the series' female fan base will be more than satisfied by all the kissing and old-fashioned wooing, while the action stunts and wirework are also top-notch.

This movie, which opens June 30, will easily outperform New Moon's $700-million global gross.

Here's Variety:

It goes without saying that the faithful will devour "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third movie in Stephenie Meyer's immensely popular supernatural love-triangle saga, and also the one in which Bella must finally choose between her two beastly suitors. The pleasant surprise this time around is that the result finally feels more like the blockbuster this top-earning franchise deserves. Employing a bigger budget, better effects and an edgier director ("Hard Candy's" David Slade), "Eclipse" focuses on what works -- the stars -- even as the series' parent-friendly abstinence message begins to unravel. Summer release should reap Summit's biggest yield yet.

The Hollywood Reporter agrees (while linking to premiere coverage and red carpet interviews mid-review, which I found annoying):

Bottom Line: The teen vampire series finally hits its stride with an entertaining mix of romance and action fantasy.
It took three films, but "The Twilight Saga" finally nails just the right tone in "Eclipse," a film that neatly balances the teenage operatic passions from Stephenie Meyer's novels with the movies' supernatural trappings.

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Summer Movies, Twilight, Sequel, Romance, Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.