As graduation approaches, Bella (Stewart) persists in her attempts to persuade reluctant vampire boyfriend Edward (Pattinson) to turn her, while werewolf Jacob (Lautner) confesses his love and argues that he’s a better choice. Elsewhere, following a spate of savage killings nearby, it turns out that Victoria (Howard) is planning to return with an army of newborn (and, therefore, stronger) vampires to avenge the death of her mate by killing Bella. Putting aside their differences, rivals Edward and Jacob work together with their respective families to protect her…
Though it certainly won’t convince or convert the haters, this third instalment in the unfeasibly-popular Twilight series (sorry, saga) is undoubtedly the best yet. Before any of you get carried away, it’s still going to appeal more to teen girls and the Twi-hard, Robsessed fanbase than boyfriends who’ve been forced to watch by their other halves. That’s just the way it is. But whilst there’s still enough po-faced dialogue to have us cynics rolling our eyes, Eclipse thankfully offers less mopey melodrama than the previous two outings.
Again, the ‘teen’ romance (‘teen’ being a relative term, given how old Edward actually is) is still treated with Earth-shattering importance. This is, after all, a Twilight movie. But whilst the angsty declarations of eternal love still grate, there’s also the saga’s first glimmers of self-awareness (“Doesn’t he own a shirt?” asks Edward at one point, “I’m hotter than you” asserts Jacob later in reference to his temperature). Incoming director David Slade, who made a name for himself with Hard Candy and has vampire credentials with 30 Days Of Night, also ensures that the movie is about something beyond mere teen romance and slow-cammed swoonery – namely choice. The third person to sit in the director’s chair in three movies (following Catherine Hardwicke and Chris Weitz), Slade admirably spends time dealing with how certain decisions will inform the rest of your life (or, existence, if you become a vampire).
But while there are also welcome attempts at character depth through flashbacks to how both Nikki Reed’s Rosalie and Jackson Rathbone’s Jasper were turned, there are still notable problems. The plotting remains loose and frequently sketchy (the rules regarding what Alice can and can’t ‘see’ are all over the place), while the increasingly unlikeable of Kristen Stewart’s Bella can’t help but undermines the central love-rivalry. There’s more action, yes, but this is hardly the series’ forte. Though the CGI wolves are better they’re still far from convincing, while the occasional group shots are so obvious as trailer bait / ‘cool’ marketing shots that they haul you right out of the picture. Billy Burke is once again excellent as Bella’s world-weary father, but Anna Kendrick and new addition Bryce Dallas Howard (who replaces Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria) are sadly wasted. Of course, such gripes won’t bother teen fans much as long as they’ve got Robert Pattinson’s chiseled cheek bones and Taylor Lautner’s toned torso to stare at. This is, after all, a Twilight movie.
Though it certainly won’t convince or convert the haters, this third instalment in the unfeasibly-popular Twilight saga is undoubtedly the best yet. Sure, it’ll still appeal more to teen girls and the Twi-hard, Robsessed fanbase than boyfriends who’ve been forced to watch by their other halves, but thankfully there’s less mopey melodrama.