And so it comes to that special time of the year, where sado-masochism and cinema collide to unleash another Twilight film. In dubious honour of the theatrical release of the fourth of five films Breaking Dawn: Part One, I'm here to take a look at the Blu-ray of Eclipse, so you don't have to.
The rivalry between Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) temporarily takes a back seat to see the woman they both love, Bella (Kristen Stewart) protected from a new threat, the evil Newborn vampires, who want to drink Bella's blood. Despite Bella's strong feelings for the two leading men, she'll need to make a hard choice between one of them, which will decide her earthly future.
After two films which play up the Bella/Edward/Jacob love triangle to such an overwhelming degree of drama, I had well and truly switched off during the first few minutes as Jacob and Edward bicker outside Bella's school. Seriously, we've done this, we've been there, for the sake of the audience, let's move on. Not a whole lot actually happens in this film, either. The main plot points could just have easily been condensed into a third of the films running time.
With each passing film, the production values increase and they at least look a little less like a low budget TV movie and more like a proper film. Despite this, the acting hasn't really improved and the script doesn't give them much to really act to, merely pouting and being generally unlikeable. Whilst I can see how fans would be interested in seeing one of their favourite books come to life, I still really struggle to understand the appeal of these movies as pieces of cinema in their own right. Really, they are extremely unremarkable and would likely sink without a trace were they not built around a pop culture juggernaut.
Ultimately, there is no way these films will stand the test of time. Even though I feel the filmmakers are at least trying to create a decent film experience rather than rush out any old cack (i.e. the first film), the basis for these films; the novels, just aren't good and they don't translate well to cinema. They rely way too heavily on inner monologues, lengthy descriptions and drawn out plot points which can be re-referenced frequently. Despite the billions of dollars generated, artistically they should have stayed as books.
Eclipse is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (its original aspect ratio), encoded with MPEG-4 AVC compression.
Say what you will about the film, Eclipse features a gorgeously grungy transfer which looks every bit that which the director intended.
The transfer is full of finely detailed textures, all under a swathe of film grain which gives Twilight its signature visual look. Whilst sometimes this might appear to be bordering on breaking out in macroblocking, it never does.
Straight up, this is a fantastic transfer. Some may not like the films visuals and I could certainly understand that, one cannot fault the transfer for its faithfulness to the source.
The main audio track is encoded with DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 at 24 bits.
Again, Twilight is blessed with an audio transfer that the film really doesn't deserve.
The sharp increase in production values also extends to the audio mix, which sounds more 'blockbuster' than before, making especially the first entry slightly more embarrassing (if that were of course possible).
This is a very finely layered audio mix which moves between being appropriately airy, and then aggressive, then rich and detailed depending on what the scene calls for.
Bass response is nice and tight, adding emphasis to some of the more dramatic moments and underscoring some of the more aggressive songs.
The score provided by Howard Shore is appropriate, but instantly forgettable; a far cry from his work on Lord of the Rings.
Overall, an extremely pleasing audio track.
The previous two Twilight films have been endowed with some nice extra features and Eclipse is no exception. Let's jump in.
First up are two Audio Commentaries, the first provided by actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, the second with the book's author Stephanie Meyer and Producer Wyck Godfrey. Unsurprisingly, the first track is rather superfluous and for the most part simply narrates what is happening on screen, or relays some on-set antic. Die-hard fans will be all about it, but obviously I don't fall into this category.
The second commentary is a little more interesting on the basis that it's seldom frequent to have a novelist commentate on their movie adaptation. Meyer seems to have been fairly involved in the process, over and above accepting the dump truck full of cash that Summit delivered to her door.
'The Making of 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' is a six part documentary, which delves into pretty much every aspect of production during its 90 minute length. As one would expect, this is an extremely detailed documentary which enjoys considerable input from Director David Slade, Author Stephanie Meyer and the cast and crew.
Next up are approximately 13 minutes of Deleted Scenes, which presumably are based on some of the more superfluous moments from the book. Of course, Twilight fans will eat up the opportunity to inflict these additional moments on themselves.
Lastly, we have two Music Videos; the first by Muse, and the second by Metric, provided in SD quality. I used to respect you, Muse. Now you are dead to me.