I took myself and family off to see Eclipse, the third instalment of The Twilight Saga, last night and what a disappointment after the first two were so good.
The central narrative of Eclipse has Bella (Kristen Stewart) desperately trying to choose between two men she loves — the vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) — her decision potentially igniting the endless tensions between the vampire and werewolf. The backdrop to this emotional struggle is a series of killings that plague Seattle and Bella’s fast-approaching graduation after which she has decided to decide whether she is going to live the life of a vampire or not.
There is obviously plenty of fodder for a good movie. But Eclipse is plagued by poor performances, insipidly clichéd dialogue, and special effects that don’t quite live up to the action sequences they portray. There are a few moral overtones such as waiting until one is married before losing one’s virginity. But the moments of dialogue that even hint at significant issues are so cheesy they lose their effectiveness.
It’s unfortunate that Chris Weitz, who directed New Moon, felt unable to commit to Eclipse because of his work completing New Moon. And in my view, the current instalment suffers as a result. I thought New Moon was actually better than Twilight and I am disappointed he wasn’t able to follow through on this one.
If you are one of those people who are following the story or are desperate to see Jacob without a shirt, then you will obviously want to go and see this latest offering. But prepare to be disappointed and hope the next one returns to the quality we have come to expect. Of course, if you are addicted to the series, you will easily delete any flaws from your mind. It is interesting to note that, on IMDB, nearly 14,000 voters have rated this one very low indeed. Make of that what you will.
I love Roger Ebert’s summary of this franchise:
The “Twilight” movies are chaste eroticism to fuel adolescent dreams, and are really about Bella being attracted and titillated and aroused and tempted up to the … very … brink! … of surrender, and then, well, no, no, she shouldn’t.
That about says it all…
‘The story, at heart, is earnest and humorless teen romantic glop, but its feelings aren't fake, and the movie is compulsively watchable; it has a passionflower intensity.’ – Owen Gleiberman/Entertainment Weekly
‘You brace for a certain amount of hand-wringing, lip-biting and pinup posing aimed at middle-schoolers; given the way that Eclipse initially suggests a potential for reaching beyond a preteen audience, you just wish the beefcake and cheese didn’t eventually overshadow its better qualities.’ – Time Out New York
intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality