Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

God help me, but I actually enjoyed a "Twilight" flick.

No, the mashup of teen romance and vampire mythology ain't Shakespeare, and it doesn't pretend to be. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg does a fairly decent job of translating the uber-popular novel by Stephanie Meyer about a glum girl and the immortal blood-sucker who loves her ... and the shirt-resistant teen werewolf who also loves her.

But even the Bard himself couldn't do much with dialogue like this: "Your alibi for the battle is all arranged!"

For the third installment, new director David Slade is brought in to replace Chris Weitz (who in turn took over for Catherine Hardwicke), and he brings a welcome harder edge to the material. He previously made "30 Days of Night," a truly hardcore vampire flick, and while the noferatu-vs.-lycanthrope action stays safely within PG-13 bounds, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" at least can boast more visceral thrills than the first two movies combined.

And Team Edward gets to do battle with Team Jacob as well. Whenever the movie isn't concerned with the impending arrival of an army of newly-made vampires, all the attention is focused on Edward (Robert Pattinson) trying to prevent his human lady love, Bella (Kristen Stewart), from falling into the occasionally hirsute arms of Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

For those who haven't been following the score: Bella is in love with Edward, part of a coven of "vegetarian" vampires who only feast on animals in the area around the soggy town of Forks. After successfully fending off multiple attempts on Bella's life by a rogue vampire, all is more or less well.

Bella wants to have sex, but Edward doesn't because his vampire super-strength might kill her in the midst of their, uh, labors. Also he's an old-fashioned dude -- literally, since he's about a century old -- and demands marriage before coupling. (This, incidentally, is enough to tell you that Edward is the figment of a female imagination and a horde of adolescents lapping it up.)

Edward agrees to turn Bella into a vampire, but only after they're married. This doesn't sit well with Jacob, who loves Bella himself and is a leader of the local American Indian tribe, who can turn into wolves. The tribe and the Cullens honor an uneasy truce, which the squabbling over Bella threatens to overtune.

Trouble threatens with rumors of mass disappearances to the north in Seattle. The Cullens suspect someone is building an army of "newborn" vampires, and suspect Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), the mate of the foe they defeated in the last movie.

There's also the Vuluri, vampire royalty who lurk about the edges of the conflict.

But really, the main dynamic is the love triangle, and for once it seemed to have a little substance beyond a whole lot of Edward and Jacob strutting and threatening.

There's even room for a little humor, as when Edward and Bella meet with Jacob to discuss an alliance, and Jacob typically shows up bare-chested to show off Lautner's recently-acquired muscles. "Does he have a shirt?" Edward asks.

And who can resist the entendre when Bella is freezing to death, and Jacob offers to heat her up with his body -- something the undead Edward cannot. "Let's face it," Jacob insists. "I am hotter than you."

I also liked that some of the other Cullens, Rosalie and Jasper, are given a chance to show a little of their backstory and deepen as characters. Both stories are surprisingly dark and dreary.

Could it possibly be that, after three go-rounds, the "Twilight" movies are actually growing up a little?

3 stars out of four


  1. Let me best say that the two Twilight Saga was unmixed applesauce and cloudy, i didn't believe anything; I have watch Twilight Saga: Eclipse and I think it hurts. But few life ago, Meeting Entertainment gave the drop & gang a PRE- Viewing of the Fall SAGA: Occultation. It was belike the unsurpassable out of the others. The performing was uppercase. They regenerate the human for this one. In this wrapper, the wrapper denatured into a really depressing perspective. The Pic starts of with the Poet, transforming him into a Vampire. The unenlightenment of the wrapping fair distance. The classicist mob had way many concealment minute. In this one, they had little treatment and system but more Activity laden.

  2. C'mon people, please let's get some actual comments from real humans in here.

  3. I've always thought the books were better simply because the acting was so horrible! I can't seem to stay away from the movies so looking forward to one that might be good. I'm simply Team Entertain Me because the acting has sucked so far...

  4. I don't necessarily think the trio of actors are untalented. Even Kristen Stewart, who gets slammed a lot, was good in "Adventureland." It's all in the material they get and how the director instructs them.

    If it's any consolation, all of them -- especially Lautner -- have improved as the franchise has gone on.

    Believe it or not, I actually read the first "Twilight" book and found it an agreeable page-turner.