You know how anticipation can result in disappointment? Well, I just got home from Eclipse and I have to say that in my opinion it is technically and performance-wise the best movie of the three. I was not disappointed. Where Hardwicke's Twilight was impassioned but flawed, and New Moon was cold and a chapter by chapter recount, Eclipse strikes a balance between action and emotion. Slade was the right choice and he makes some unexpected choices right, RIGHT, from the start.
It is the best and most believable performance by Pattinson with the widest emotional range we have seen. As he has filmed other movies it appears he has been learning and Slade is apparently a director good at eliciting the emotions he is after from his actors. In this film Pattinson is not simply acting as if he is being tortured. And, Stewart's skills are also better with a much wider range as well. Bryce Dallas Howard is sadly lacking a certain quality that Rachel LeFevre had -- but I cannot pin it down. She is an inadequate replacement for Lefevre. Lautner's physique continues to impress and his range has also improved but perhaps not as much -- of course not that many emotions are required of him.
The technical shots including one at the near start of the film are the best, probably more expensive but exquisitely produced and directed.
Dakota Fanning, still a young waif who probably needs no pasty faced enhancement, gives a shallow rendition of a shallow creature who is more sadistic than ever. The rest of the Volturi are minimally involved.
I have to hand it to the other Cullens, especially Facinelli, who I have come to respect more. The wolf pack is less terrible at acting and the history-of-the-tribe scenes are very well done. The Tent Scene --awesome. The ring, disappointing but more likely than that posited in the book. The flashbacks were good and give depth to Rosalie's and Jasper's character. The acting range of the wolf pack when they are wolves has definitely improved as has the realism.
The story proceeds as fans know it will, no Deus Ex Machina, just as there wasn't for Bree Tanner in her novella. Not to gory but enough action to keep the guys from falling asleep. A great date movie.
What are you sitting there reading this for -- get to the theater NOW!