DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) dir. David Slade
Starring: Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard and Billy Burke


By Greg Klymkiw

Wading through this vat of raw sewage, I came to the conclusion that only one of two types of people in this world might enjoy watching it - those who have a good time nailing their titties or testicles to the floor and/or completely brain dead vegetables.

Replete with endless, dull, poorly written conversations punctuated occasionally with uninspired, sloppily directed bursts of violence, I can only shake my head in disgust at how low our civilization is sinking. Call me a curmudgeon, assume I am pathetically uncool, accuse me of sounding like my father - I don't particularly care. Today's youth are pathetic - pure and simple. When I was younger, my idea of a vampire movie included great actors like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee squaring off as vampire hunter and vampire respectively against the backdrop of garish colour schemes. heaving bosoms and atmosphere thicker than Shelley Winters's waistline in the original "Poseidon Adventure".

The first instalment of "Twilight" at least had the virtue of a relatively well-directed and watchable opening 40-or-so minutes. The second helping was a complete mess. Now, due to millions of boneheads watching the previous entries, Hollywood has foisted upon us a third portion of this interminable "saga". I use the word "saga" loosely, if at all, only because the filmmakers have chosen, somewhat erroneously to include it in the title and thus, label it as such. A saga in the traditional sense would normally have something resembling epic qualities, which this film and its predecessors are sorely lacking. In fact, much of the world created by the movie feels - in spite of being set against the great outdoors backdrop of Washington State - strangely claustrophobic. The soap-operatic ruminations of the three central characters belong on afternoon television, not a big screen.

This is not to say that melodrama is out of place in vampire and werewolf tales, it is indeed the backbone of such genre items. That said, there's good melodrama and bad melodrama. The legendary Dan Curtis delivered a consistently creepy and sexy horror soap opera on his daily television serial "Dark Shadows" in the 60s and wowed us with an astounding big-screen version in the 70s called "House of Dark Shadows".

Alas, these three "Twilight" pictures are rooted in revisionism of the clunkiest kind and are so gently precious and tame that they not only drag the whole genre down, but, as stated earlier, reflect the pathetic state of today's youth for buying into such pap.

Again, we who are possessed of brain cels must suffer through the triangle established in "New Moon" involving Bella (Kristen Stewart), the mixed-up mortal with a desire to become a vampire and her romantic obsessions with the pale, thin bloodsucker Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the buff werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Lautner's pectorals and abs of steel are genuinely impressive and might have even rivalled the milky cleavage content of Hammer Horror pictures if everything else was as awe-inspiring. It's not, however. In fact, the shirtless porn on display is as wasted as John Travolta wearing those delicious form-fitting shorts in the ill-fated "Moment By Moment" where we were forced to succumb to the vomit-inducing sight of him having to swap saliva with Lily Tomlin.

This episode of "Twilight" is especially disturbing since it is helmed by a solid director. David Slade, who delivered the tense, creepy "Hard Candy" and "30 Days of Night", one of the scariest vampire pictures in years, seems largely absent here. The dialogue scenes are covered like a standard dramatic television series, the action sequences are poorly shot and choppily edited and the whole enterprise is so bereft of suspense and style, that one assumes Slade did a paint-by-numbers job in order to secure himself bankability by handing over an unexceptional platter of mediocrity to satiate the boneheads who moronically continue to make this franchise a hit.

About the only thing worth discussing is that I saw the picture in one of two new theatres in Canada that the Cineplex chain is describing as "UltraAVX" - a supposedly new and exciting approach to motion picture exhibition. I'll agree that the digital image is unbeatable - utterly pristine and crystal clear. The sound is also successfully "immersive" as described - in fact, it's so effective that at times, the bass seems to almost make you jiggle in your seat not unlike that of the 70s oddball exhibition feature called "Sensurround ".

The three other major attributes of UltraAVX are less impressive. The wall to wall screen is as advertised, but the top and bottom of the frame is not masked properly and is frankly a bit annoying as it takes one out of the supposedly immersive quality of the image. The bigger, supposedly more comfortable rocker chairs are, in fact, extremely uncomfortable - one sinks into them too deeply and the rocking effect pulls you back too far. In fact, for all the hype about this new seating, leg-room is still an issue and throughout much of the screening, an usher annoyingly paraded back and forth telling people to take their feet off the chairs in front of them. Unfortunately, the first few rows especially forced people into doing this because of the poor design of the chairs themselves. Finally, the reserved seating feature is just a major pain. If you're stuck anywhere near boneheads blabbing or eating with their mouths open (the latter an especially common and disgusting habit in movie theatres these days) then moving to a different seat becomes problematic. Luckily, I prefer the front row (which was empty) and was eventually able to move there after listening to people around me eat their popcorn more grotesquely than pigs at a trough.

Then again, maybe this new "Twilight" experience is a perfect picture to launch this new theatre since the movie is designed to appeal to undiscriminating, swill lapping hogs.


Brett Gerry said...

The Twilight series isn't without its detractors, but a lot of mainstream critics have jumped on a celebratory bandwagon out of fear: http://bit.ly/97rjOg

Terra Ryzing said...

The company wants the seats to be clean. I don't think its fair to blame it on the usher. Maybe you suggest the usher start his or her own business.

Greg Klymkiw said...

Dear Mr. Gerry: It is considerable news to me that Anne Billson, my palsy-walsy across the pond, is a "well-paid idiot" (as per your attached article). Most illuminating. That aside, I do indeed agree that far too many critics are allowing themselves to be anally raped by the needs of studios and bone headed audiences. But back to Miss Billson - it's never been my experience in reading her superb pieces, that she's ever kowtowed to anyone or anything. She likes what she likes, hates what she hates, and does so with considerable cinema literacy and fine prose.

Greg Klymkiw said...

Dear Terra Ryzing: I am happy to blame the usher as he is a representative of the company. Yes, it's his job, but you might recall that in World War II, many Nazi soldiers also claimed the same thing. Also, if the company really cared about keeping their seats clean, they'd stop selling all the foul concession items that foul the bloody seats, and on many occasions, my clothing that is soiled by them. (This doesn't even include my distaste over the smell of said foul concession items and the disturbing sounds emanating from the pigs who eat them with their hog-like mouths open.) And I reiterate, in addition to the nonsense that contemporary audiences do to ruin the movie-going experience for serious cineastes, I especially hate it when theatre chains themselves ruin the experience by having some knot head parading back and forth and loudly demanding people remove their feet from seats that have been poorly designed and aisles that don't have enough leg-room.