THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
***1/2 (out of 5)
June 30, 2010
Kristen Stewart as BELLA SWAN
Robert Pattinson as EDWARD CULLEN
Taylor Lautner as JACOB BLACK
Billy Burke as CHARLIE SWAN
Xavier Samuel as RILEY
Bryce Dallas Howard as VICTORIA
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Directed by: David Slade
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Since the first “Twilight” film came out two years ago, it has become almost as popular for critics and fanboys to bash the series as it is for teenage girls and Twi-moms to wet their pants in the theater seats for them. And for the record, I thought the first film was absolute crap, and the first half of the second film wasn’t much better.
Though something happened in that second movie, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” Not only was that a better made film from a cinematic production perspective, it actually became interesting. The story-behind-the-story with a vampire council and some pretty dangerous bloodsuckers caught my interest. Sure, you had to deal with the morphine shot of teen angst in the beginning, awkwardly splattered across the screen with Bella sitting in her room for months and waking up from nightmares screaming. But “New Moon” ended on a better note than it started.
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” continues the story of the human-vampire-werewolf love triangle. The bloodthirsty Victoria is amassing an army of newborn vampires to kill Bella in revenge for the death of her mate, and the good vamps and werewolf tribe form a truce to protect her.
First, don’t let this set-up or the pretty intense trailers fool you. “Eclipse” is still filled with teen angst. The difference is that it’s spread evenly through the film. And yes, it’s still the equivalent of emotional pornography for teenagers. But there is a neat vampire society story that creeps in there, and I liked that part.
The problems with the series still persist. Bella is an immature, self-centered brat who only cares about having two guys fight over her. She’s petulant, impatient and a whiney little girl. Edward represents the perfect man for the unchained female psyche – a guy who just wants to listen and love but goes out of his way to not objectify her. Still, she toys with the emotions of Jacob Black, who has a similar unnecessary devotion to her.
If you see this movie and you aren’t a fan (because Lord knows the fans don’t give a flying fang what I have to say about this movie), be prepared for many a scene in which Bella whines, begs Edward to consummate their relationship and insist that everything in the universe revolve around her. But if you can stomach that, there’s some good stuff in the film.
David Slade, who directed the ultra-bloody “30 Days of Night,” throws a much-needed sense of action into the film. Likewise, there seems to be some inspiration drawn from HBO’s “True Blood” (at least the most innocent and clean parts of that series) with young vampires discovering their new powers. In this sense, the series has evolved both story-wise and cinematically.
Sure, the acting is quite awful at times, with Robert Pattinson keeping his face in a perpetual state of just-about-to-vomit and Kristen Stewart bringing a new level of suck to her character. You’ll also likely have to shudder a few times when the wannabe cougars in the audience hoot and holler at the 17-year-old Taylor Lautner with his shirt off.
But who doesn’t expect that from a “Twilight” film by now. If only those Twi-moms would at least acknowledge a level of shame in their smarmy behavior.
I still content that this series would be so much better without Bella in the center of it, but I’m not the intended audience. But that’s still not going to stop me from hoping that when “Eclipse” reaches home video, someone will edit out most of the teen angst scenes and leave us with a 45-minute ass-kicking vampire vs. werewolf flick. Now that’d be something I’d watch.