REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse [2010]

Score: 4/10 | ★ ½


Rating: PG-13 | Runtime: 124 minutes | Release Date: June 30th, 2010 (USA)
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director(s): David Slade
Writer(s): Melissa Rosenberg / Stephenie Meyer (novel)

“I’d rather you be really dead than one of them”

I’m not saying Twilight was a masterpiece, but it did hold promise—promise that its successors have done little to uphold. An overly melodramatic adolescent romance, the first film knew what it was and had enough exposition and story to hold things together through the schmaltzy eye-rolling of a smitten teen finding trouble and supernatural heroes to save her. Rather than build on that premise, the sequel became an overblown epilogue to try and introduce a love triangle we already know will fail after seeing the first’s conclusion. A complete waste of time besides showing bad boy with a heart Jacob Black’s transformative powers and a red-headed vampire out for revenge, New Moon was laughably empty.

But The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is where all that changes, right? This is where Bella (Kristen Stewart) finally knows what she wants and watches her love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) once and for all claim her as his own. The fight is going to escalate as the ominous Volturi make their presence known stateside and see whether the Cullen coven is as special as they appear. Maybe we’ll even see a few clashes between werewolves and vampires; perhaps even a compromised alliance with Bella bringing Edward and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) into a truce. Eclipse should be past the triteness of blatant metaphors like fire and ice thrown at us every ten minutes and beyond our heroine’s already steadfast choice to willingly join the ranks of the undead.

Sadly it is not. It’s as though the previous film hadn’t happened. Jacob still tries in vain to steal his love from the cold dead hands of his rival and Edward continues attempt to change Bella’s mind about being turned. Why should she have a say in what happens? She’s just a girl after all; she doesn’t know what she wants. It’s kind of sad that this is the attitude author Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg create. It’s as though Bella is simply a stupid teenager—which, as written, she most certainly is—and all those around her must make the decision so she doesn’t have to. Let’s go one step further and have the entire film be a series flashbacks from pack elder Billy Black (Gil Birmingham), Rosalie (Nikki Reed), and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone). Yes, Eclipse is a public service announcement on why one should not become a vampire.

For one, they’re just so glittery. I’d be trying to wipe that stuff off continuously, or at least never go out in the sun, (which I thought they weren’t supposed to anyway). Second, they have no body temperature. This is especially troublesome when hiding out on a snowy mountain with hardly any of the necessary provisions for such inclement weather. Oh, and there is the whole bloodlust and history of killing humans for sport. Who wants to willingly be a part of that tradition? Rosalie and Jasper sure didn’t, but they’ve done well for themselves after being saved by the Cullens. So why wouldn’t Bella want to spend eternity with her love inside a coven that obviously knows what’s up? They’ve gone through the growing pains for her already. Ride those coattails to sparkly forever, girl!

Wait, now I remember the problem. The Volturi are out looking to wield their authority over other vampires and they don’t get along too well with the Cullens. Besides that, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) still wants Bella’s head after Edward decimated her boy-toy two films ago. I’d say those are a couple reasons to get out of dodge, hole up with Jacob’s warm-bodied heart-beater, and forget those creepy-eyed freaks even existed. But that would be smart and we’ve already established Bella is not. So, instead of getting on with the story, we’re made to spend two hours watching her say goodbye to the world of the living and ignore the pleas and sound advice of those who think she’s making a mistake.

It’s about as hollow as New Moon except for the fact Eclipse has some meat to showcase that the filmmakers refuse to keep onscreen for more than a blink. I can’t really blame director David Slade besides the fact he accepted the job at all—the look of the film is possibly the best yet. No, my anger must rest solely on Meyer’s shoulders for writing two books that easily could have been combined into one or possibly even cannibalized by the bookends of the series. I can only witness so much puppy love before I want to gouge my eyes out and the quota was filled during the original Twilight. We’ve known for two films already about the central love triangle, we don’t need it shoved down our throats a third time when there is actually a fight going on out of frame.

And this is what gets me the most. Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel) and other innocent victims in Seattle have been attacked and turned into the undead. An army of insanely strong and absolutely unpredictable killing machines has formed and they have their sights set on Bella. Werewolves and vampires alike have banded together to protect her and instead of show the hyper-speed carnage for longer than five minutes, we get to watch Lautner and Cullen brood and bitch-face their way through Stewart’s heart while she declares love for and sucks face with both knowing they have a psychic connection rendering stolen kisses moot. The Victoria story does come to a head, though, and we are treated to a decent fight with vampires breaking apart like stone there.

It’s amazing to realize how long Eclipse is when you look back at how little happened. Marginally better than it’s predecessor, the film still can’t be considered a complete story in my mind. Another bridge to what I hope will be an epic finale to redeem the franchise from it’s laborious middle; I’m left only with an increased vitriol towards the central trio and their childish emo tantrums. I just want to see Dakota Fanning’s Jane once and for all unleash the psychopathic tendencies she’s only teased us with thus far. Volturi versus Cullens—that’s the fight I want to see. It’s just a shame so much of the population would rather watch their genders reduced to laughable stereotypes as they put the women’s suffragist movement back decades instead.


photography:
[1] KRISTEN STEWART and ROBERT PATTINSON star in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE. Photo Credit: Kimberley French. © 2009 Summit Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
[2] XAVIER SAMUEL in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory. © 2009 Summit Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
[3] BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD stars in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE. Photo: Kimberley French. © 2010 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

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