Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
9Dec/101

Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

ANDREW LIKEI'm thinking of making a placard I can point to anytime I say I enjoy the Twilight movies.  Any time I've said this, I'm greeted with a set of bemused and alarmed eyes that wonder if I've gone completely crazy or if they'll ever be able to trust my opinion on anything ever again.  After watching the third film, Eclipse, I can safely assume that if you can't find some way of enjoying an epic battle between vampires and werewolves that isn't clad in Underworld-style blue then there's no hope.

Granted, there's a lot more to the film than those amazing ten minutes toward the end.  We still have to slog through several other rounds of Edward and Bella (Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) covering each other in doe-eyed restraint and making feverish promises of romance to one another.  For those of you joining in and need cliff notes, we'll take a quick trip around the world of Twilight.

Edward is a vampire, Bella is a human, Edward and Bella are in love and Bella wants to become a vampire (or if you need subtext spelled out, have sex) but Edward is still hesitant because that would require turning her into a vampire.  Complicating this arrangement is Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a werewolf, who is also in love with Bella.  This is problematic because the vampires hate the werewolves and have a very shaky truce that keeps them from being at war all the time.

So Bella is caught between those two, but is also in the cross-hairs of the vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard).  In an earlier film, Edward killed Victoria's mate, and now she's birthing an army of vampires so that she can take revenge on Edward by killing Bella.  There's also a powerful vampire organization, a clan of wolves that are keepers of the ancient werewolf lore, high school graduation, and so many other plot distractions that you need a fan of the series to keep up.

Director David Slade finds a number of beautiful locations for the lovers to frolic in. Bare minimum, it makes for great eye candy.

Or you could just watch the rest of the films, which I am now advocating folks do if they're in the mood for delightfully done trashy melodrama.  Make no mistake about it, the books are horrible because they are atrociously written and Stephanie Meyer has no sense of pacing or restraint.  But in the hands of the filmmakers that have brought us each Twilight film they grow more and more interesting as great trash.  It's not quite elevated to the level of high-art, but it's good fun.

Eclipse's dullest moments are easily the romance scenes between Bella and Edward.  We've seen this kind of restrained passion before, and despite how good each of them is in their respective roles they just can't bring anything new to an overstuffed table.  But add a little Jacob to the mix and you have a ton of sparks flying off the screen.  Taylor Lautner has a pretty intense screen presence, and his chemistry with Kristin Stewart is the stuff bodice-ripping novels get their reputation for.  So toss the increasingly passionate romance of Edward and Bella into the mix, and you have an array of confrontations that spark throughout the film.

There are a lot of nice little touches that have carried over through each film, and in some they are positive, others negative.  I've always liked the relationship between Bella and her father Charlie (Billy Burke), and they get to have some nice moments together.  The high school stuff always felt like a bit of a distraction and an unnecessary anchor to prove that these films take place in some kind of "real" world, and here they're no different.  They don't grind things to a halt the same way Edward/Bella alone time does, but they never escape the feeling of being padding.

Strange I'd be contemplating the phrase "ten minutes of general badassery" when reviewing a Twilight film - but there you have it.

The high points of the film deal with the final battle when Victoria and her fresh army come after Bella, and the subsequent arrival of the dangerous Volturi vampire clan.  The battle at the end is just a magnificently handled bit of excitement that is astonishingly violent, magnificently stylized and contains fresh eye for detail that director David Slade brings to the table.  It's a high pitched, wonderfully sustained action scene that made me happy that I watched the film.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the implied menace of the Volturi clan.  I like the fact that I'm in the dark as to why everyone is so scared of them.  We're told that they've been around for over 3000 years, but not why the sheer numbers of Edward's clan can't seem to take them on.  It's all implied that they're capable of much more than any other vampire, and the brief appearance that they have in Eclipse gives them just enough time to threaten everyone then scamper back off to Italy.  It's a nice touch, and Slade pulls it off with just the right amount of menace and fun.

This is actually the first Twilight film that I can actually recommend to people that weren't already fans of Twilight.  This is with the caveat that you have a healthy interest in melodrama, but if you do you're in for a treat.  Just go into it with an open mind, and a willingness to have the severed limbs of vampires chucked off to the side of the screen every so often.

Eclipse (2010)
Directed by David Slade.
Written by Melissa Rosenberg.
Based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. I’m guessing what you consider to be the sexiest part wasn’t the gang rape. And whatever Stockholmy syndrome thing that happened to you to make you enjoy the ‘action’ scene at the end frightens and confuses me.


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