Soundtrack Review: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, The Score

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
July 1st, 2010

Rating: 4/5

The reviews are in, the reactions have been made (or, really, screamed) and the box office score keeps ticking away. But beyond the hype, the story and the bands on the soundtrack, is the score. I fell in love with TWILIGHT because of Carter Burwell’s score (and, in turn, fell in love with Burwell as a composer) and Howard Shore brings back that feeling with his piano-driven take on the third installment of this saga, ECLIPSE.

Alexandre Desplat stated that he did not listen to Burwell’s score before beginning work on NEW MOON because he wanted a fresh perspective without any other influences. This worked well in creating a new emotional landscape for that film, which made sense since TWILIGHT focused primarily on Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) relationship while NEW MOON was more about Bella’s relationship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Shore, on the other hand, listened to both Burwell and Desplat’s work before composing the score for ECLIPSE, and I think it helped him touch on the themes established by each of the previous works while still infusing this collection with his own style and voice.

Shore’s skill as a veteran composer (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, THE DEPARTED) are in full effect here as he uses tension-building strings in the more nerve-racking moments (“Riley," “Victoria,” and “Decisions, Decisions…”) as well as in the emotionally climactic moments (“Mountain Peak”) which mirrors the film’s story itself. ECLIPSE make is clear that it is not only the action in the film that is significant, but the relationships between these characters carry just as much consequence. The score plays like an epic and, in listening to it without the film’s images, it plays almost like an accompaniment to a dramatic ballet or another wordless theatrical piece. Even without the images of Jane bringing someone to their knees with just her mind, her track (“Jane”) lets you know Jane is not someone whose bad side you want to be on.

Both Bella and Jacob’s themes (“Compromise/Bella’s Theme” and “Jacob Black,” respectively) are primarily piano-drive, which I really enjoyed, not just because I am a fan of the instrument, but because it felt like a nod back to the first film and Edward playing piano for Bella. Edward’s piano-playing was a large part of the first book and I always felt it spoke a lot of Edward’s character and his relationship with Bella. This is a good example of Shore taking bits from the first film and infusing in into the new relationships established in the second installment.

ECLIPSE also gives us further back-story on some of the other members of the Cullen clan, Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone). Their flashback scenes were among some of my favorites in the film and I appreciated that the score for each worked well to reflect what was going on those scenes. “Rosalie” tells the story of a seemingly perfect and promising life gone completely astray as it begins with a feeling of hope and then quickly turns on itself into a much darker place. “Jasper” helps cement the feelings of regret and confusion that paint Jasper’s past when first becoming a vampire. Just as Jasper can control the emotions of those around him, this track is subtle in its nuances while still creating a uniquely Jasper-like sound.

The horns and drums have a much more dramatic and intense effect as they are used sparingly until we get to the action climax of the film with “The Battle/Victoria Vs. Edward." The action in the film did not disappoint and Shore held up his end of the bargain too with some serious edge-of-your-seat score during these moments.

My favorite piece in the collection was the final song, “Wedding Plans,” because it called back to the themes established in the film’s first scene with Bella and Edward in the meadow as well as giving it enough dramatic anxiety to capture the topic of discussion (see the song’s title for a hint). The piece then comes to a beautiful and dramatic climax that flies right into Metric’s “Eclipse (I’m Yours)," tying together Shore’s style with the band that he hand picked to create the title track for the film. Allusions to both these songs also play in “The Kiss," which I thought was interesting as it uses the music to mirror Bella’s conflicting and overlapping feelings when it comes to both Edward and Jacob.

I felt that this third film resonated more with me emotionally and, when I left the theater, I knew it was due to the score Shore created and laced throughout. I liked the fact that themes and refrains introduced in the beginning would come back as the film went on, giving the music more meaning and purpose than if it just changed from scene to scene. I have always enjoyed Shore’s work and his latest compositions for ECLIPSE have only reconfirmed that.

1. “Riley”
2. “Compromise/Bella’s Theme”
3. “Victoria”
4. “Imprinting”
5. “The Cullens' Plan”
6. “First Kiss”
7. “Rosalie”
8. “Decisions, Decisions…”
9. “They’re Coming Here”
10. “Jacob Black”
11. “Jasper”
12. “Wolf Scent”
13. “Mountain Peak”
14. “The Kiss"
15. “The Battle/Victoria vs. Edward”
16. “Jane”
17. “As Easy As Breathing”
18. “Wedding Plans"

All songs on this soundtrack composed by Howard Shore.

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