Movie Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 8:00 am.

Summary: It’s the third time around for the werewolves and vampires of Forks, Washington. A breed of newborn blood-suckers want to destroy the vegan vampires of Forks and are out to kill Bella Swan, who is struggling with her love between Edward and Jacob. Who will Bella choose? Will she become a vampire? How many times will Taylor Lautner show his teenage abs? Does Robert Pattinson have abs and why isn’t he at least flashing a nipple? These are the deep questions The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ponders.

Review: It doesn’t matter what critics write about Twilight.   It has immunity from critics and a phenomenon never requires much work. The creators of Twilight aren’t hustling to make a movie, they aren’t concerned about a solid plot; the money was in the bank before the cameras started rolling. Like anything in life, if you know you don’t have to work for something, then you’re not going to try too hard. The only standard of this franchise is to pimp out the brown boy’s abs and give the UK dude as much screen time as possible.

That said, Eclipse is an improvement from the ho-hum New Moon. Directed by David Slade, who was behind one of my favorite recent films, Hard Candy, Eclipse was edgier, darker and smarter than the sequel — but not better than the first, which was only moderately enjoyable. Slade sprinkled some violent action with hardcore fighting scenes. Plus, the horror-ish presence of Dakota Fanning as Jane made the film a bit more sophisticated.

The most redeeming quality was giving the audience backstories for several other characters and a well-needed break from exhaustive dialogue between Bella and her supernatural love interests. We learn one vampire was forced into a life of blood cravings after being sexually assaulted, another lived during the Civil War, and we get the story of the indigenous werewolves of Washington. Finally, the wit goes beyond diary entries for a 14-year-old girl. These pieces helped make Eclipse watchable for those who aren’t “Twihards.”

Eclipse is a modest upgrade, but Robert Pattinson and especially Kristen Stewart looked bored with Edward and Bella. Stewart, who gave a memorable performance as Joan Jett in The Runaways, has true acting chops, but plays Bella like a female lead in a ’90s grunge video. She trembles her lips, tucks her hair behind one ear and gives long stares. In The Runaways or even Panic Room, Stewart was enthusiastic and clearly putting some soul into her work.  She once described acting as being a “professional liar.” Well, there are still two more Twilights to go — suck it up and act like you want to be there!

Pattinson is slightly more engaged, but from his press interviews to his performance, he seems to not really understand or care why the movie is such a huge phenomenon (I’m with you Rob!). I am sure if Pattinson wasn’t the star of Twilight he wouldn’t have watched the film. The English actor, who is six years older than Lautner, seems more fitting for artsy Guy Ritchie films than disposable teen fluff.

Taylor Lautner is the strongest of the three, maybe because he is still a teenager. Lautner successfully makes some of his cheese ball lines believable. He enjoys Jacob, but is probably confident this role will not define his entire career.

Eclipse definitely has some major holes, for example, the cheap special effects that are similar to an annoying cough that you have to live with for two hours — the lifeless werewolves are a celluloid disaster.

Don’t forget the trite, redundant dialogue mixed with the way that each scene lazily flops together.

But, the most troublesome blow is the message of Twilight. I am not one to believe that films must maintain a moral code, but this flick clearly has an effect on young girls and women. On one hand, Eclipse has a message of pro-abstinence yet endorses a girl willing to abandon everything for a boy — friends, mother, father, career and even her soul. This is a character whose only identity is her boyfriend. Again, I know this is just a film, but this is such an archaic and dangerous message conforming to the staid ’50s stereotype that a woman should stand by her man even if it comes at the price of her soul. Bella Swan is a cinematic example. When scholars critique Twilight years from now (like Disney films were critiqued) she will be the archetype for the obsessive pitfalls of love; Bella sets women in film back 50 years.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is in theaters now.

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Comments

Nico Said on

Correction: Robert Pattinson never watched Twilight–he said so himself. He said he hates the role, and only ever watched parts when he was flicking through channels and was surprised to see himself in a movie.

I can’t stand his attitude. Cry me a river, rich boy.



Jane Said on

I agree with you Clay. I am troubled by the messages the film sent out to young girls. A girl’s life should never revolve around a boy and this movie’s message is the opposite, which is troubling. I’m sure it’s a better movie than the second one New Moon, which was absolutely terrible, but the message at the center of the movie is still not great. I agree about Stewart’s acting chops, she’s a good actress. I’ve seen her in Adventureland and The Runaways and she was very good in both of those roles. I guess in Twilight she has less character development to work with, although I think she still does well. In terms of Rob Pattinson, I agree with Nico, cry me a river. He chose this role, this is the role that made him famous, so he should at least try to act in it. He was awful in the second one and given he’s paid millions for this role, he should put in a lot more effort.



Maurice Said on

it wold be pretty cool to see some of the cast on that show Minute to Win it on NBC though…



Jackie Said on

i think… tht the movie was amazing…. BUT…. bella’s a stupid player… she’s so confused… she shouldve picked jacobb !!!!!! edward is a fugly glow when the light hits him stupid blood sucking vampire…. if i was edward i would’ve said go with him… b/c 1. edward didnt want bella to become a vampire anyway… she knows she loves jacob and would probably have more fun with jacob anyway… so #*~#$ vampires… WAREWOLVES!!!!



Anna Said on

i read a review that said the first two movies were like “getting poke with dog $*~% on a stick” and that eclipse was tolerable. i am gonna have to disagree with some of this. Twilight (for what it was and how it was done) was ok.. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible. New Moon sucked (and not the good sucking) Watching New Moon was really was like getting poked with dog $*~% on a stick. The only good (and i was “good” as vaguely as possible) thing about that movie was the half naked wolfs and taylor lautner calling that guy a “marshmallow” in the theater scene (i chucked at that part). Eclipse however, was ok. Not great, not shitty, just ok. Out of the four books, i enjoyed eclipse the most. I don’t think i would willingly see it again (but knowing my obsessed friends i think i will end up seeing it at least two more time…*sigh*…). If i do end up seeing it again, i do have God to thank for creating the guy who created the itouch.



Tonya Said on

I’m trying to understand what’s the point of continuing to watch the Twilight Saga and critique it if you don’t like the other movies in the franchise. The point of this movie is to show how strong love can really be. Yes she’s giving up everything for a boy but this film also promotes waiting until marriage to have sex. As far as Kristen Stewart’s acting skills, if you read the book you would know that her character, Bella, is detached and awkward. I personally think she pulls this role off like nobody could. If you can’t understand that this movie is about the fantasy aspect of it all then why tear it down? This was made for Teens not adults trying to feel better about themselves by insulting a good movie based on a great book that they haven’t even read.



SN Said on

I am so glad there are men out there commenting on how frightening and antifeminist the Twilight franchise is!!

Me? I couldn’t keep reading beyond all the discriminatory comments about blondes. As an educated (smarter than the scary, conservative, loving of stalkers and wedding night ?~## brunette Mormon author) blonde, it annoys me to no end.

This whole phenomenon is a joke. It’s so sad that young women (and all those fifty-something groupies) are happy to settle for a ninny of a heroine who only cares about marriage and babies. What happened to feminism and careers and goals and interests?

I can’t wait for the new tween fad – it can’t be any worse than the current one.



Miriam Cullen Said on

You must remember that the Twilight Saga series is total fantasy and entertainment. Stop being so critical and enjoy it for what it is. It’s not meant to be a role model for someone’s life. It’s simply a fantasy to entertain.



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