No sign of a popularity “Eclipse” despite this Twilight’s bad glare
An unflattering review from a movie critic won’t do anything to put a dent in the fury and phenomenon that is the Twilight movie series. Granted, most critics aren’t anywhere close to the target audience for these movies, which is to say, young, female and having read all of author Stephanie Meyer’s books. But here goes anyway: The third installment, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” might be the best of the three films-but that is really no compliment.
Before you can say, “You have to read the books!” it should be reiterated that a movie must stand on its own as a piece of entertainment. It doesn’t require a visit to Giverny, or a study of Monet’s life to appreciate “Water Lilies,” though it certainly might help. Is it too much to ask that a movie should be executed well enough to prompt an interest in its source material as opposed to requiring pre-screening due diligence?
More action, more characters, a tad more humor and some interesting backstories help “Eclipse,” but do nothing to improve upon the series’ fatal flaws. We’ll start with Bella (Kristen Stewart), the self-absorbed Seattle teenager who longs for brooding vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) but can’t seem to completely rebuff the advances of hunky werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).
Why either of these suitors would desire Bella as portrayed by Stewart as a confused, petulant bore has never been really explained in any of the three films. In fact, it could be argued that any of the other females in “Eclipse” are far more interesting, including scheming vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), beating victim turned vampire Rosalie (Nikki Reed), Bella’s friend and valedictorian Jessica (Anna Kendrick), and even Jane (Dakota Fanning) the creepy leader of the royal Volturi-who all have small but significant roles in “Eclipse.”
This third chapter moves, albeit ponderously, toward a climatic but rather truncated battle between an army of “Newborns” (newly turned bloodsuckers) and the Cullen clan (Edward’s family) who recruit none other than the Quileute tribe (Jacob’s werewolf allies), normally the sworn enemies of all things vampire.
The film’s best scenes involve a Father/Daughter heart to heart-Billy Burke is particularly grounded as Bella’s concerned but glib papa and a refreshingly tense scene that finds the ever shirtless Jacob and constantly jealous Edward sharing a tent with Bella. Extra props for Edward being that rare male creature with marriage on his mind; he actually resists his honey’s sexual overtures.
With absurdly maudlin dialogue that occasionally provokes unintentional laughter (“I’m going to fight for you until my heart stops beating…and maybe beyond”) “Eclipse” can’t help but draw comparisons to daytime soaps and Harlequin romances.
Still, the attraction is understandable-the virginal Bella is being hotly pursued by not one, but a pair of obviously infatuated and eager desirables.
And perhaps that is enough. It certainly it is for Twilight’s legion of fans.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence and some sensuality.