- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Summit Entertainment
Reviewed by David Medsker
clipse” is easily the most action-packed of the “Twilight” movies to date, but as the series goes on, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to care one way or the other what happens to any of these people. The actual amount of story contained within each movie is shockingly small – seriously, how are these movies all two hours long? – and each story requires a group of smart people to all act pretty dumb in order to work. They are, as Roger Ebert so eloquently described them, Idiot Plots. That doesn’t change here.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is about to graduate from high school, and all she wants is to become undead like her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). He’ll only “turn” her if she marries him, but she doesn’t really believe in marriage. Meanwhile, in nearby Seattle, Victoria is building an army of the undead in an attempt to ambush the Cullens and kill Bella in order to exact revenge on Edward for killing her mate. The Cullens know they’re outnumbered, so they form a reluctant truce with their arch enemies the werewolves in order to protect Bella and set the stage for many an argument by werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) for why Bella should choose him over Edward.
It’s tempting to blame the three leads for the movie’s lack of emotional heft since they’re the least interesting part of the story, but in truth it has little to do with them. At least the male leads, anyway. Lautner acts exactly like an 18-year-old would (impatient, petulant) and Pattinson acts exactly like one would expect a 110-year-old vampire to act (calm, confident). Stewart, on the other hand, acts like no human female teenager I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes, but again, that’s not her fault, either. As the brilliant editor-in-chief for The Oatmeal wryly observed, the Bella character is just a pair of pants, one that fits every teenager on the planet. And when you’re just like everyone, you don’t resemble anyone. That makes it difficult to relate to her or her painfully manufactured boy trouble.
On the plus side, director David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) assembled a couple of fun fight scenes. You’d think the battle royale in Act III would be the winner here, but in truth it’s the scene where the previously quiet Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) shares his experience as both a feral vampire and a Confederate soldier – a couple of the Cullens finally get back story, which is both overdue and gratuitous – in order to prepare all concerned for what’s coming. Curiously, the vampires are much more breakable than they were in the first book. In “Twilight," it took the entire Cullen clan to take down James; in this one, they all appear to be made of porcelain. The story also dares to bring up the idea of sex between a human and a vampire. Considering that vampires are dead and have no blood or fluids inside them, that seems physically impossible.
Technically, “Eclipse” is the best of the “Twilight” movies, but after watching six hours of the “Twilight” series and absorbing roughly three hours of story, the gang from Forks has officially run out of whatever goodwill they had when the series started. These movies have more padding than a mattress factory, and it’s still unclear what Edward or Jacob see in Bella, since she still hasn’t shown an ounce of personality. If you want to see a truly gripping movie about young love and vampires, skip this and rent “Let the Right One In” instead.
Special Edition Blu-Ray Review:
Twihards are going to squeal with glee over the two-disc set for "Eclipse." The making-of featurettes are nearly 90 minutes in length, but are very entertaining (six words: Taylor Lautner, long distance grape catcher), and the bonus disc also includes the music videos for tracks by Muse and Metric. The one bit that is really a stroke of genius is the ability to watch the movie in Edward mode or Jacob mode, where the film is distilled down to solely their scenes (though Team Edward gets the edge in screen time by 15 minutes). Lastly, there are two audio commentaries, one by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and another by director David Slade and producer Wyck Godfrey. Good stuff, across the board.