Sunday, January 9, 2011
Alice Cullen Eclipsed
So last night I finally got around to seeing Eclipse, the third Twilight film. Despite the fact that Eclipse was my favorite of the novels, I did not see it while it was in theaters this past summer. I was seriously dating a non-Twilight fan and trying to spend every moment I could with her. (I bring an Edward like intensity to relationships, which is probably why I am still gloriously single.) Under such circumstances I was not about to take the time to go by myself to a movie and if she showed no apparent interest in going then that was the end of that. To be honest, though, I had dropped out of my previous interest in the Twilight series as it has become too popular for all the wrong reasons, too much about the "sexy stars of Twilight," and I dreaded to see how this trend might affect even the best of the series. I am a proud member of team Alice. This means that I could care less about Bella having to choose between Edward and Jacob and would have much rather seen her develop a friendship with Alice. (See More on My Favorite Friendly Neighborhood Vampires.)
Seeing the film has confirmed my fears, even if the film was not completely without merit. The main addition from the novel was that the film actually included a series of brief scenes with the newborn vampires and actually develops Riley, their supposed leader, as a character. In this the filmmakers were taking their cues from Stephenie Meyer, who actually wrote a novelette, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. That novel, though, did not actually focus on Riley, but rather on the newborn Bree. This was actually the sort of move that would have greatly benefited the early Harry Potter films. Those films needed their villains, the present Lord Voldemort, his younger self in the form of Tom Riddle and Sirius Black (a supposed villain) to have major screen time. This could have easily been done by writing new scenes with material hinted at in the books. For example Voldemort breaking into Gringotts, Riddle killing Moaning Myrtle or Sirius' fight with Wormtail. These characters worked in the books as specters in the backdrop. This is not something that works on film. Also the actors playing Harry, Ron and Hermione were not ready to carry the films so any attempt to place the focus on other actors would have been welcome. If the three child actor leads of Harry Potter were not up to the task, the three adult leads in Eclipse, were not much better and could have used having the film taken out from under them.
In a two hour film, everything that stays in let alone anything added is going to come at the expense of something else. The cut part that most caught my attention was Alice "kidnapping" Bella and forcing her into a slumber party. This was not a major plot point in the book and hardly necessary to incorporate into the movie. That being said this was my favorite part of the entire series and the decision to cut it says something about the values of the filmmakers, as opposed to say my values. I love eccentric characters and relationships that offer unusual dynamics and lot of witty back and forths. Alice trying to be human and practicing on Bella is interesting as is Bella monologuing and taking her vampire/werewolf world perfectly in stride. Edward going back and forth about killing Bella is interesting. Bella having a platonic relationship with Jacob, fooling around with motorcycle is interesting. What I have no interest in is a romantic triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob with Edward going emo, Jacob ranging from sulking to being an SOB (literally) and Bella being a ditz head. What should the filmmakers have found so valuable in the books to be reproduced on screen, but this annoying romantic triangle.
What made the romantic triangle bearable in the book was that, for the most part it was presented through Bella's monologuing. The Twilight movies, for the most part scraped the monologuing, leaving nothing but corny dialogue to be recited with a serious dramatic romance face. They could not have left the story to Bella' monologuing. That might have taken away some of the serious sexiness of the story and left it as a joke. For this same reason, they could not give the time for Alice and Bella's friendship or to develop Riley into a worthwhile character. It might have taken away from the romantic triangle of the sexy stars of Twilight.