They've got brooding stares, pulsating pecs and supernatural powers. That's right, ladies, the men of Twilight, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), are back at a multiplex near you. Oh, and Bella (Kristen Stewart) is back too.
The third film in the Twilight Eclipse opened yesterday -- and I'm here to give you my unvarnished, un-Buffy, un-True Blood-tainted opinion of the movie. Y'all may know I wasn't real impressed with "New Moon." I think I may have used the word "dreck" several times while describing that particularly painful experience. I'm happy to say Twilight: Eclipse is a significant improvement.
Now, that's kind of like saying that having you body sucked dry by a vampire is a significant improvement over being torn limb from limb by a werewolf, but hey, I'm telling you straight.
First, the good things about the movie. Number one: It doesn't take itself too seriously. There are a couple of great lines where the characters chuckle at the whole Twilight phenomenon. For example, after see Jacob's rippling, bare pecs just one too many times, Edward asks Bella, "Doesn't he own a shirt?"
Later, when Jacob suggests literally keeping Bella warm in a freezing tent as a jealous Edward objects, Jacob says, "Let's face it, I'm hotter than you."
See, now that's the kind of "we know this is all fluffy fun" sensibility that New Dreck, er I mean New Moon, didn't have.
The main plot is about evil vamp Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) trying to kill Bella as revenge for Edward killing her own beloved, James. She recruits an army of newborn vamps, the most dangerous of all vampires, to get the job done. This means the werewolves, and their sworn enemies, the vampires, have to work together to keep Bella safe.
Meanwhile, Bella has second thoughts about her vow to become a vampire after graduation so that she can truly be with Edward forever. Jacob tries to convince her that she'll regret giving up her human life for an undead one with Edward, and offers her a life with him instead.
The whole issue got me thinking. How many young girls decide they want to give up all of their own hopes and dreams for their high school love because they're going to be with him "forever" only to find that who and what they want changes over time?
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg's skillful introduction of that theme adds a bit more substance to the love triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob. There's a valedictory speech given by Bella's friend Jessica (Anna Kendrick) that urges the grads to explore and make mistakes before they make hard and fast and permanent decisions. That was partially directed at Bella and to the film's credit, Bella eventually addresses that dilemma.
Also back are Edward's fascinating family. We see how Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) became vamps, and Rosalie's story is especially compelling.
As for the villains, Riley (Xavier Samuel) is the leader of the newborn vamp army, and quite the eye candy himself. Bella's father, Charlie Swan (Billy Burke), who was an afterthought in New Moon, is now a sweet and loving hoot, especially when he tries to find out if she and Edward are having safe sex.
Things that the movie doesn't do so well: the lame CGI werewolves are back. And the effects showcasing the vamp's special powers are on the silly side.
And though I know the proposal scenes between Bella and Edward are supposed to be oh, so romantic, they're only saved by some decent, non-cliche dialogue. Which brings me to the weakest third off his love triangle, Bella herself. I still think she's a drip, and don't even come close to understanding what Edward and Jacob see in her. Since I haven't read the books, I might be missing some of her more scintillating qualities, but the two movies I've seen haven't done a great job of making her in any way interesting to me.
I saw the movie at a packed midnight showing. As expected, the majority of the audience were teen girls, their moms and women like me. There were also a couple of dads who looked like they'd lost the raffle to chauffeur their daughters, but about a dozen teen boys in attendance appeared to have enjoyed themselves after the lights came up.
Let's put it this way, if you're a Twihard, run, don't walk to your nearest theatre, because you'll love Twilight: Eclipse. Everybody else, if you've got nothing better to do with eleven bucks and you want to see what will surely be a blockbuster, you have my blessing and you probably won't be sorry.
When it comes to vampires, I'd still rather watch the worst Buffy or True Blood episodes, but I freely admit, I had a good time at Twilight: Eclipse.
What are other bloggers saying about Twilight: Eclipse?
Krista Sahlin of Sahlin Studio:
This movie did not disappoint, WOW!! It was really really good!! And even though I'm a Team Edward fan, after this movie.... whoa baby, I was thinking of switching to Team Jacob. He was so HAWT!! (shhh don't tell my hubbie) tee hee
Erika Olson at Red Blog:
While the dialogue and acting in Eclipse are still lacking, they’re significantly more bearable than they were in Twilight and New Moon. By far the most entertaining character this time around is Jacob. No more Mr. Nice Wolf — he’s cocky, funny, and mad as hell. He wants Edward gone, and realizes that he needs to start taking more drastic measures to make Bella see the light.
Over at Tiny Heroes, one blogger addresses some of what she feels are themes that are anti-woman:
For those in the feminist circles who love Twilight even though we know it’s bad for us will perhaps be pleased to note that the films, Eclipse in particular, have eased up on some of the nastier acts of misogyny perpetrated on the pages. Having the source material fresh in my memory, it was pleasant to avoid any on-screen images of Bella cooking for her Dad, Charlie pushing Bella towards Jacob despite her obvious disinterest, and the kidnapping of Bella by Edward and his family.
Katie S. at Written in Blood:
The battle scenes were kind of cool, but they were too quick to really appreciate. I'm not a big action buff so I'll leave comments to the audience on that one. Suffice to say I liked the wolves and they did a fair amount of vampire shredding. In-fact, I think they were the only ones who got to bite anyone. Again I say it ... This is a vampire flick. Let me see someone get bitten by a vampire. Sheesh!
Kate Erbland at Gordon and the Whale.com:
The film clocks in at just over two hours, and most of it flies by with excellent pacing. There are some wonky bits – much like in the book, Bella and Edward’s trip to Florida is a draggy misfire, one of the few parts I wished director David Slade had cut, but it’s generally evenly reeled and, in those terms, it’s certainly the best of the franchise so far.
The three leads, Lautner, Pattinson and Stewart, like the leads in the Harry Potter films, have grown as actors and do what they can to give the triangle between Bella, Ed and Jake some kind of weight and pathos. With Bryce Dallas Howard creepily smirking her way through the role of Victoria this time out, there’s plenty in this blockbuster to satiate the raving legions who worship at the altar of all things Ed and Bella.
For everyone else, this one is still a giant bust.
Have you seen Twilight: Eclipse? What did you think?
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video.. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Review.
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