Summary: Bella is torn between two supernatural worlds, but everyone knows which side she picks, no matter how many times she’s told that its a dumb choice.
Thoughts: This was by far the best of the four books, and with a director who knows “real” vampire movies (David Slade directed the recent Thirty Days of Night) this had the opportunity to be the best of the movies, even if it wasn’t a good movie. It does succeed at being the best possible Twilight movie, but its still not strong enough to be a good movie on its own.
Slade comes from how I would approach this movie, focusing on the action and humor, while glossing over the will-she won’t-she of Bella’s “love triangle”. The problem with the love triangle is that I don’t believe that Stephanie Meyer really saw it as a triangle. She tried to make Edward the obvious choice and New Moon was supposed to show that they’re meant to be together by Bella’s desperate insanity when Edward is gone and Edward’s suicide attempt after thinking she’s dead. My problem is that I believe that Jacob, while a werewolf, would be the best choice. She wouldn’t have to leave her family, she wouldn’t have to change into an undead, bloodthirsty creature, and so on. I think that after the “New Moon” book was released, Meyer did not anticipate people actually wanting Bella and Jacob to be together so while writing “Eclipse”, she turned Jacob into a creepy obsessive jerk so that people would agree with Meyer that Edward was the better (though still creepy and obsessive) choice.
Throughout this movie, Bella gets advice on whether or not she should throw her mortal life away for Edward, and everyone, Edward included(!), thinks that it is a bad idea. Seriously, there’s a scene with her mom not wanting her to run off with the first boy she falls in love with, same with her dad. Her friend gives a valedictorian speech about how growing up is about exploring all of the possibilities and making mistakes because nothing is permanent (except vampirism, but her friend doesn’t know that). The other Cullens give big speeches/flashbacks about how becoming vampires were the worst things ever to happen to them. And Jacob spells it out for her that he is the better choice. None of this sways her in any way, because its Edward that she’s “meant to be with”.
Basic plot flaws notwithstanding, the movie is rather enjoyable. Like I said, the director knows how to do the action sequences and that is great since this movie has the only real battle of the series (spoiler for Breaking Dawn). It’s also a battle that he had free reign to choreograph since the books are first-person and Bella wasn’t present for the battle, so it is shot well. The way that the vampires take damage to their granite-like bodies is pretty cool and they sound they make when they break apart sounds painful. The CGI werewolves look much better this time around as well.
The humor is played up a bit more. Once again, Billy Burke as Bella’s dad Charlie rules the day with every scene that him and his mustache have the opportunity to grace. Much fun is poked at the werewolves’ lack of clothing, but it still surprises me that no one realizes that something is really weird with the Cullen family, with their pale cold skin, color-changing eyes, slight sparkliness, and general creepiness. Maybe its like Clark Kent’s glasses, they can’t see the obvious in front of them because they don’t want to see it?
Anyway, this is an enjoyable film. If you thought the first two were good, you’ll love this one. If you thought they were mediocre at best (as I did), you might actually like this one. If you hated the first two with an undying passion, you’ll hate this one too, but you might get some laughs from it.
P.S. I’m not looking forward to the Breaking Dawn movies. It’s bad enough that Meyer was forced to expand her two book idea (“Twilight” and a mix of “New Moon” and “Eclipse”) into a four-book series, but forcing the last book into two movies just seems to exacerbate the problem further. And I’m not sure the guy who directed Dreamgirls is the best choice for a teenage vampire movie. However, the RiffTrax should be epic levels of awesome.
Overall: Much more enjoyable than the first two, but still not a really good movie due to the flaws in the source material.