THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Directed by David Slade
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
It’s been three years since moviegoers were introduced to vampire Edward Cullen (ever-brooding Robert Pattinson), human-werewolf hybrid Jacob Black (the now perpetually shirtless Taylor Lautner), and the object of their rival affections, Bella (Kristen Stewart, no longer playing with her hair).
The franchise’s third installment, Eclipse finds Bella a month shy of graduating, but with even bigger changes on the horizon: Edward’s promised to turn her into a vampire if she’ll marry him, even though he’d rather keep her soul intact. (Later in the film, “soul” becomes a euphemism for “hymen.” Enjoy.) Bella’s safety becomes the catalyst for an uneasy alliance between the werewolves and the vampires, who band together against Victoria (a newly recast Bryce Dallas Howard), who, after two movies, is still hellbent on killing Bella to avenge the death of her lover in the first Twilight movie.
To say that this movie is better than its predecessors is faint praise, but it’ll have to do. The first Twilight looked amateur and cheap, and though the script seemed to suffer from the 2007-’08 writer’s strike, the sequel, New Moon, proved films based on a poorly written book series can’t be elevated much above the source material, no matter how hugely successful they are.
With Eclipse, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg remains a faithful servant to author Stephenie Meyer’s juvenile prose. The repetitive scenes between the core three as they posture, declare their feelings, and rehash the past might please the Twihards, but anyone else will likely get a headache from all the eye-rolling. But under the hands of new director David Slade (Hard Candy), something unfathomable transpires: the movie gets interesting, exhibiting some narrative vibrancy as it attempts to throw off the shroud of terrible dialogue. As the action shifts away from ‘Who will Bella choose?’ and viewers are offered backstories as well as some fun werewolf-on-vampire fight sequences, we get the shape of something that resembles a decent film. —Andrea Warner