First Night Flicks: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Directed By: David Slade
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Based on the novel of the same name by Stephanie Meyer
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality.

They are among us, and they are everywhere. You cannot spot one on sight. They look like you and me. They could be your mother, brother, teacher or boss. Everywhere you turn, you are beset by their kind. Pray they don’t notice you are not one of them, for their wrath is great and their determination to convert you intense.

I speak, of course, of Twihards, those obsessive fans of Stephanie Meyer’s tale of “vampires,” werewolves and teenage love triangles. The screening I attended was 500 strong with their kind, and I have never felt more uneasy in a movie theatre waiting for a film to begin.

Then the film began, and the uneasiness continued.

I noted last weekend, when watching the first two films in the series, that the films tend to end on odd notes that feel like they should be followed by a cut to black and the words “To be continued…” Eclipse starts on such an odd note that if it weren’t for the Summit logo I would not have known the film had begun. That was the moment I realized that these films were never intended to reach beyond the books’ loyal readership, which is sad. Film is a stand-alone medium; any film based on a previously published work should be able to entertain without having read/watched/ heard the source material. It’s a stand I’ve noted previously on this site and one I stand by without question.

Eclipse continues the story of Bella Swan (Stewart) who is in love with the vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) while living in the small town of Forks, WA. This film focuses more on Bella’s choices with regards to her future and her relationships, not only with Edward and his family, but with her family and with her childhood friend, Jacob (Lautner), who also happens to be in love with her. Her father (Billy Burke) prefers Jacob to Edward, but I wonder if that’s because he doesn’t know about Jacob’s lycanthropic tendencies.

An army of newborn vampires is being raised in nearby Seattle. Who is gathering such an army? Why? Why have the Volturi not stepped in despite all the attention the newborns are calling to themselves? What will happen if the Volturi do arrive in Seattle, decide to visit Forks and notice that Bella is still human? How can the Cullen family protect Bella against the revenge-obsessed Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), the newborn army, and, if necessary, the Volturi? These are the basic questions of the film aside from the overreaching query: “Who will Bella choose?”  Most of these questions are answered in the course of the film.

Of course, the last question, supposedly the largest question of the series, has been repeatedly answered by Bella. There were two films before this, and by the end of the second film Bella has not only made her choice, she’s made it clear to both Edward and Jacob. I don’t understand why anyone needed to sit through another two hours of Bella being asked to choose, even though her mind was made up.

Once again, there is no heat between either Bella and Edward or Bella and Jacob. For all the kissing and professions of love included in this film, I never once believed that any of these kids were eternally devoted to anyone. The only moment of real romance during the film is between Alice (Ashley Greene) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone). In fact, there was a moment in the film where I began to hope both Edward and Jacob would give up on Bella and start dating each other. Maybe then, both of them could stop being such abusive stalkers.

Therein lies my main problem with Eclipse, and the Twilight saga as a whole. Bella is being asked to choose between two men, neither of whom treat her with any respect. They both seem to be following the lessons they learned in Abusive Boyfriend Training 101 (tm Jill) and they use her as a pawn in their never-ending feud. For a film that is supposedly a Girl Power phenomenon, the girl has surprisingly little power.

I saw Eclipse because I felt it was responsible journalism. My eyes and ears still haven’t forgiven me.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jillers and Lyssa Spero. Lyssa Spero said: Finally posted my Eclipse review @geekingoutabout […]

  2. Written by Jillers
    on 2010-07-09 at 04:32

    Wait, there was KISSING in Eclipse? Really?

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