Thursday, July 15, 2010

[Review] The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

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Rating:★★★★★
Category:Books
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Author:Stephenie Meyer
This novella acts as a supplement to Eclipse. In that book, the Cullens continued living in Forks, Washington. All the while, Bella was awaiting her high school graduation. However, conflict arrives and they were forced to fight a group of new vampires. They termed it as newborn vampire army. And Bree Tanner was a a member of that army.

However, Eclipse only showed the Cullen's side from Bella's perspective. It didn't expound on the tactics of their enemy. Reading Eclipse alone is incomplete. That's why this novella is a must.

'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner' is about the story of the newborn vampire as indicated in the title. Her story is presented in the first person perspective. Her world as a vampire is very different from how the Cullens live. There was chaos, pain, and gore. And worse, she felt like she didn't have a choice but to live with it. On the bright side, she had two friends from her coven: Diego and Fred. At first, it was only with Diego whom she talked to. Together, they sought to find out the truth about their creator, only known to them as 'her'. There was a lot of mystery uncovered, until Bree found out the truth but it was too late. As the title suggests, it's not a happy ending for her.

Of course, the whole plot and character development evolved only on Bree. Her thoughts and emotions were mostly of fear, angst, and confusion. The delivery was good as I was able to feel with her. She also fell in love, but unlike Eclipse, this novella is not cheesy.

This novella by Stephenie Meyer is the first one that I have ever made the effort to actually analyze and solve the puzzle. I give her credit for that. I got logical and emotional during the climax of the story. The mind reader, whom Bree called as 'the redhead', played a significant role in it. I was able to appreciate the mind reader in this part rather in any other Twilight book. His skill of hearing thoughts far surpasses any purpose in this novella. Through Bree's awareness of the mind reader, she revealed the whole truth in an unexpected way.

This book, however short, tells a good story. It can even act as a stand alone story from Eclipse. You can finish this book in one sitting. It is highly addictive as it allows you to feel and think at the same time. And as you progress, you will get to feel how it is to be Bree Tanner herself: a wild hunter, a confused newborn, and a good friend.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

[Review] The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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Rating:★★★
Category:Movies
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Eclipse is way better than its two predecessors. Maybe a new director, David Slade, and an 80-million budget was what Summit Entertainment needed to pump up the movie adaptation of the book. There was definitely an improvement in every aspect: the plot, the scenes, the finally, the musical score.

However, the pacing of the events is too fast that it failed to give ample character development. Well, there were scenes wherein Jasper and Rosalie's past was shown. But the other vampires and werewolves had a low profile.

On the bright side, this movie remained true to the book as much as possible. Those who have read the book might have understood this movie, but for those who haven't, well, expect a lot of questions from your head. It is a fast paced movie. Almost all the events were summarized in less than 2 hours.

The rivalry between Edward and Jacob was clearly emphasized right from the start. It goes beyond vampires vs. werewolves thingy. They were fighting mostly for Bella. It's a love triangle, you get it.

What I appreciate from this movie is that they have shown parts of the villain's side. How Riley headed the newborn vampire army and his affair with their creator. One significant character was even shown there: Bree Tanner. She had more exposure in this movie than in the book version of Eclipse.

There were a lot of mushy scenes here. The kissing scenes lasted for like, 30 seconds. Even the first scene had a kiss. Uh! It's annoying to have a lot of that! And the PG-13 rating had something to do with that, too. Well, these events also happened in the book, so there's no room for complains.

The actors were okay. Some stood out, some didn't. Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan did pretty well in her character: the stubbornness and the bravery was there. Of course, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen is one of the excellent actors here. He lacks the physical attributes of Edward, but he did well in bringing life to his character. He was good in giving an emotion typical of Edward: patience in times of anger, or self-control. The character of Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, on the other hand, is not as perfect as it should be portrayed. Jacob's personality in the book is the noisy, happy-go-lucky type. Sorry but Taylor didn't deliver that. But he did an excellent job in portraying the physique of Jacob. Another highlight worth taking is the role of Jackson Rathbone as Jasper. Jasper had a lot of exposure in the book version, and in this movie too. It was attributed to his experience in fighting newborn vampires in his past. Well, Jackson Rathbone didn't seem natural in his acting. His exaggeration was evident in his deep voice, his facial expressions, and most of all, his eyes.

The special effects were a whole lot impressive now. The werewolves were true to life now and the vampire marble skin was literally real. It was cool when the vampires fight and stone marbles of flesh spread out! The human to werewolf phasing was smoother and the furs were cute. The vampires have convincing red or yellow eyes, too.

The fight scene between Edward and the villain was even better in the movie than in the book. Stunts and choreography were flawlessly done. It brought about the emotion of thrill and suspense. Even though this scene didn't stay true to the book, it was way better.

There was also the other fight scene: the Cullens vs. the newborn vampire army. However, this part wasn't as meticulously done compare to the fight scene of Edward. There was poor group choreography. A lot of the actors were just crowding each other. And it didn't give the emotion of thrill to the audience.

The sounds are a whole lot better now. Unlike in the previous movie, New Moon, you can't hear singing voices during the fight scenes anymore. The orchestral score was more appropriate now, though I could hear an off violin somewhere. However, the lines said in whispers were hard to understand. The sound effects? Well, this movie is a good improvement to the Twilight Saga. The wolf howls were close to real and the vampire snarls and growls added to the attitude.

Would I recommend you watching Eclipse? Definitely. But don't expect too much.


Ratings:
Plot: 3.5 stars
Special Effects: 4 stars
Sounds: 3.5 stars
Actors: 4 stars
Poster/Trailer: 3 stars
OVERALL: 3.5 stars



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