New Twilight shines in its “Eclipse”
Summer films are typically filled with explosions, car chases, espionage thrillers – mostly action, not much thinking or talking. “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” fancies itself to be an action film, but cannot stray far from its intuitive roots. The film does a fine job as it searches to find middle ground between action and dialogue.
In the quiet town of Forks, Washington, everyone’s favorite vampire-human couple discusses the pros and cons of the coming decisions they must make. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is adamant in her decision that she wants to become a vampire in order to stay with her undead beau forever.
However, the brooding vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), though he loves Bella, cannot bring himself to willingly change her into a monster; he believes that in addition to robbing her of a full life, he will be destroying her soul. Edward also won’t have sex with Bella unless she marries him first.
Adding to all this drama are the buried feelings between Bella and her werewolf friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Pattinson and Lautner enjoy several testosterone-fueled argumentative scenes, much to the dismay of Bella.
But what is love without war: an army of vampires is headed to attack Bella and the Cullen clan. Edward and Jacob realize that they must tolerate each other in order to both protect the girl they love.
The film is the third in the series based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novels. David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) steps up to the director’s plate and takes an interesting swing at the adaptation: his is a no-nonsense drive through the two-hour film.
The pace of the film, at least compared to the previous two, flows easily, with the right amount of action balancing out the inevitable over-contemplation of feelings from each character.
Just as Slade has made considerable strides from the previous films, so does his cast. Kristen Stewart is modest in her portrayal of Bella: she brings more maturity and strength to her character than she has before. Pattinson, too, has grown; his Edward is more down-to-earth. Lautner somehow manages to embody both the rugged American cowboy type and a young boy with his heart broken by his first crush.
He is perhaps the only character one can completely empathize with. All three still play suffering souls, and this is the most difficult part of the film to take. It seems that the main goal of each character is to make the others feel miserable.
Melissa Rosenberg’s dialogue is, as it has been in the previous two films, cringe-worthy at best (Jacob snidely informs Edward “I’m hotter than you”), though the actors do their best. It is interesting to note that Kristen Stewart, so often berated by bloodthirsty Twihards as being awkward, shines in a moment where her character shies away from “the talk” from her father Charlie (played by the fantastically gruff Billy Burke).
The special effects are (once again) a step above the previous films. The final battle is thrilling, and will be about the only scene which non-fans will be able to follow. Howard Shore’s score reflects the plot and emotions simply and quietly without becoming a character of its own.
The films only clear triumph is in the final scene. Bella is forced to make decisions regarding her life and loves, and Stewart ably rises to the task. Watching Bella transition from wallflower to a true character after two films is rewarding.
As “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” continues to dominate theatres and break box office records, surely, one would think, the filmmakers have done something right. Though the film is not by any means great, it has eclipsed its predecessors, and to many, that is good enough.
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.