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Could they please get David Hasselhoff for the next “Twilight” flick? They’ve already gone the way of soap opera masked as fantasy, so why not make it official and grab an actual actor who knows how to cheese it up with the professionals.
It’s not surprising that the third installment, “Eclipse”, is bad; it’s just depressing to have your pessimism confirmed. It ruins the hope in watching a trailer and thinking, “Maybe this time.”
Love triangles, adolescent self-indulgence, and a vampire army. Get ready for Summit Entertainment to cash in big as all the “Twi-hards” continue the eternal struggle over who deserves to be with our female trophy, Bella (Kristen Stewart). Will Team Edward (Robert Pattison) or Team Jacob (Taylor Lautner) win over the heart of Forks, Washington’s palest damsel? I’ll never tell. Sure, vampy Edward put his heart on the chopping board and proposed, but hunky wolf-boy Jacob has an actual beating heart—a rare commodity in foggy towns where vampires hide their glittering exterior. After an hour of awkward dialogue, we’re finally given something else to cut the sexual tension, impending doom for the Cullen clan and the local Native American werewolf tribe. Angry neck biter Riley (Xavier Samuel) has been turning the good citizens of the state of Washington into a bloodthirsty army for some time now. And behind this new character lies a hidden leader. Cue dramatic Top 40 song to let us know just how on-the-edge-of-our-seat we should be.
“Eclipse” peaks when the actors have something to do other than try to remake “Romeo and Juliet” without poetic lines or anything that resembles acting. The film’s two action scenes don’t account for enough screen time, leaving us with high school banter that feels too much like a rejected pilot for an ABC Family ‘tween drama.
Not even seasoned vampire director David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) could save this one from its incessant need to focus on pop culture’s most boring love triangle (please don’t think me an unromantic guy, I just prefer “Love Actually” and “Say Anything” when it comes to the epic nature of the “L” word). Known for his sadistic style, Slade cashes in for a guaranteed blockbuster with little concern for leaving his fingerprint on the film.
Fantasy is flourishing with “Harry Potter”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and a slew of superhero films. “Eclipse” steals from this genre in an attempt to recreate a teen drama of mythic proportions. Apparently romance films got old and the only option left was to throw in vampires and werewolves and hope people would think it’s original. I’m still convinced these films are supposed to be satires, as they create some of the most hysterically awful film moments, on par with the ‘60s “Batman” television series and “Saved by the Bell”.
These films have all the makings to be enjoyable, but so little effort is put into the quality of storytelling, special effects, acting and even the makeup. Coming out less than a year after “New Moon”, “Eclipse” is too rushed, and lacking character chemistry. Slade’s camera provides several stunning scenes, but each shot focuses on actors who desperately need to do some community theatre to learn about the importance of timing and breathing normally rather than faking asthma attacks for visual intensity.
It’s hard to watch Kristen Stewart play such a demeaning female role. The film does actually improve on the disturbing relationship Bella and Edward previously had, allowing Bella to find her identity as more than just a soul mate, but she remains a terrible character for girls and young women to follow. She’s so weak-willed, unable to make up her mind and self-involved. The “Twilight” films hate parents and, by the end of “Eclipse,” the franchise isn’t too fond of humans either. This wouldn’t be a problem in other vampire stories, but the film is clearly trying to make a statement about love—a love that’s far too isolated, blind, immature and psychologically unhealthy.
It seems like only yesterday when Edward and Bella first met in chemistry class and the mere scent of this intoxicating woman was too much for our brooding fang boy. I’d like to think there’s hope at the end of this cinematic eclipse, but sadly dawn comes next as we have two more of these films to grace an already hurting film industry. Well, at least MTV has its Best Move winner—though I gotta say, Edward is a terrible kisser, no soul (yes, pun intended).
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