The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Photo: Allmoviephoto.com
(Total eclipse of the heart-on.)

Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by David Slade. 124 minutes. PG

If you are a self-proclaimed Twi-hard, you probably remember Eclipse as the most action-packed and sexy installment of Stephenie Meyer's awkward-teen-girl-meets-impossibly-beautiful-vampire series. And you probably remember every single overdone line from it. And you probably recite them to a small group of friends who understand your uber-nerd-age (well, unless you're 13, in which case, you are all public and Hot Topic-y about it). However, if you're going to see the movie again (because let's face it, I totes recognize you and your Team Edward tee from the midnight screening), you better forget everything you already know about what should have been the finale of Bella and Edward's epic love story.

In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her bloodsucking beau, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) are still going strong, and it's bothering her dad (Billy Burke). A lot. So he forces her to hang out with her ridiculously ripped former BFF (and part-time wolf), Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Sparks start flying again and Edward gets mega angry (cue R. Patz' golden contacts practically flying out his eyes). But he learns to accept it, and fast because Bella, like always, is in major danger. Victoria - a.k.a. that crazy ginger vamp from the first movie - (played by a way-too-sweet-looking Bryce Dallas Howard this time around) is back and she's prepping an army of newborns (freshly turned vamps who are extra ruthless thanks to the leftover human blood in their system) to track Little Miss Swan and her plaid shirts. It's a revenge deal (Eddie killed her mate, James, in Twilight) and gingy is out to kill.

Reading that extremely vague recap back, Eclipse actually sounds kind of interesting and action-packed. But it's not. In truth, David Slade has sucked the life out of the slowly-declining series. The romantic meadow interludes, Jacob-Edward super-cock fights and mini-battles for Bella's hopelessly-torn (she's Switzerland!) still-beating heart overtake the only thing that really matters: the fight for Bella's survival. Edward proposes for what, three or four scenes, meanwhile the main battle gets like 7 CGI-fied minutes of the 2-hour run time. Perhaps the studio wanted Slade to capitalize on the screaming girls' obsession with R. Patz, K. Stew and Mr. Lautner. Or maybe he just really loves him some drawn-out cheese (although that's unlikely, considering the dude did 30 Days of Night). Either way, dude turned what could have been an awesome action-romance into Edward's superficial twin: cold, overly made-up and almost too pained to look at.

Ironically, everything seems more fake now that the movie can afford a decent budget. The lighting makes Edward and the Cullens seem like they've gone bobbing for powdered donuts. Kristen Stewart's wild-ass weave is even more distracting than her incessant hair flipping. The snowy foreground that frames the final fight seems straight out of the Ice Age (yes, the cartoon). And the wolves look disproportionally large (when he's wolfed out at one point, Jacob is the Hagrid to Bella's 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe).

Perhaps if the script was more up to the other two film's level of forgivable fluff, the overdone visuals could be overlooked. Unfortunately, Melissa Rosenberg's page-to-screen transfer neglects the best lines of the book for her own lame creations (think "Hold tight, spider monkey" times five). There's no space heater commentary and worse, no sunrise vs. eclipse metaphors. Sorry, Mel, fire and ice is too obvs, even for the tween machine. And not at all related to the title.

It's not all bad, though. Lautner is actually quite charming, and yes ripped, here (and this is coming from a strict Edward enthusiast), making Pattinson seem, well, sorta dead. His half of the big tent confrontation is hysterical, and almost enough to make a girl want to go Swiss. Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper, is similarly surprising. After spending the last two movies making constipated faces (he's supposed to be the newest vamp of the Cullen clan, and thus, uncomfortable around humans), he's been promoted to a full-speaking role and it suits him and his sassy Southern accent way well. Look for an adorable training scene between him and Alice (Ashley Greene) and a intriguing flashback into his dark past.

In the book, Jacob says he and his warm bod can't fight an eclipse (named Edward). When I read that line in the book two years back, I grinned, finally feeling the smug satisfaction that comes from seeing your long-held opinion in print. But after watching the movie, I am starting to wonder if I was wrong all along. C+

1 comment:

  1. "bobbing for powdered donuts" and "wild ass weave" indeed! couldn't have said it better myself! :)