Would it be an exaggeration to say [movie id="420622"]"Eclipse"[/movie] is the most polarizing film of the year so far?
In one corner, you have the Twilighters lining up outside theaters across the country to be among the first to check out the latest romance-laden adventure starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Those fans will line up again and again before the weekend is over, likely bringing "Eclipse" an opening box-office haul to match, if not exceed, the $142.8 million that "New Moon" grossed in November. In the other corner, you've got the skeptics, the who-watches-this-crap haters and the bloggers taking to the Web to spew vitriol at every moment of teen romance "Eclipse" has to offer.
There will be no détente for these two camps; the gap between them is as unbridgeable as anything on today's pop-culture landscape. Critics on both sides of the Twi-divide have weighed in on the third installment of the vampire franchise, and MTV News checks out what some of them had to say.
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly does an excellent job of trying to get the fans and the haters to see eye to eye. "The 'Twilight' movies, like the books on which they're based, are often mocked," he wrote. "But that's only because we're still, on some level, getting used to the novelty of a highly contemporary blockbuster saga that's this rooted in old-fashioned, borderline masochistic girlish romantic rapture. The movie version of 'Eclipse,' with its dueling boy-monster hunks — a chaste orgy of male gazing — revels in the power that Bella experiences by giving herself over to the powerlessness of love. The movie is about a girl's primal dream of being desired. That may well be corny, but it's also an essential antidote to summer-movie hardware."
Of course, not all reviews are as generous about what they see as the film's abundant shortcomings. Take MTV News' own Kurt Loder: "New director David Slade is still stuck with the story — which, deriving as it does from the paceless goop of Stephenie Meyer's books, and having been wrestled into a script by Melissa Rosenberg, is a threadbare quilt of pre-teen romantic clichés padded out unconscionably with long character flashbacks and rambling dialogue that's deader than any of the vampires in attendance," Loder said. "(The picture runs two hours, and might have been more enjoyable — and certainly less exasperating — if it had been cut down into a one-hour TV special.)"
Salon.com's Andrew O'Hehir approached the film with an open mind and found some fanboy pleasure to be had up onscreen. "It's a geek-friendly genre flick, with plenty of CGI effects and fight sequences, along with extended detours into the back stories of rural Washington's undead and shape-shifter populations, and the tense relationship between them," he offered. "Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay even has a few flashes of comedy, and develops an emotional power that goes far beyond the depressive, lovesick languor of 'New Moon.' "
What of the castmembers' performances? Opinion, predictably, is split, with some slamming the big three and others applauding the young actors for giving their best effort yet in the series.
"There is a new tenderness and sweetness that Stewart brings to her relationships — more playful with Pattinson, more affectionate with [Billy] Burke (especially when Charlie tries to have 'the sex talk'), and more intense with Lautner," wrote Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times. "Bella doesn't want to let down anyone, and Stewart makes sure she doesn't. But it's Lautner, in particular, who has grown, giving Jacob an emotional interior nearly as hard-packed as those abs, which are very much on display."
We'll give the final word to one of the film's true fans. "Sure, the book itself is a fan favorite," a reviewer wrote on TwilightMoms.com. "How could its visual counterpart not be entertaining with the leg hitch, the tent scene, and all the grandiose displays of outrageous vampire and werewolf skills? I must say, however, that it wasn't just those scenes that blew me away, it was the film in general. The Cullens are cooler, the wolves wolfier and the acting supreme. This visual experience is not just a fan treat, it's a full-on dessert potluck of Twilight movie-goodness. And you will walk away feeling like you just feasted."
Now that you've seen "Eclipse," tell us what you thought of the movie. Share your reviews in the comments!
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