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“Eclipse” shines bright for vampire-series fans

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If you are feeling a bit “once bitten, twice shy” about seeing the third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster vampire tale come to the big screen, you can let that go.

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is a finer outing than 2009’s “New Moon.” Managing to be both sulky and cheesy, that second film was a sequel only fans could love.

While the new “Eclipse” remains foremost a flick for devotees, it has sturdier pleasures and takes on its emotional ambitions with renewed dedication.

Themes so deliciously part of the vampire ouvre — the anguish and longing, the hunger and thirst — are handled well by returning screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and new director David Slade (“30 Days of Night” and “Hard Candy”). So are the tentative promise and burgeoning burdens of growing up and taking responsibility for one’s decisions.

Kristen Stewart returns as Bella, the human in love with the decent vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and in deep friendship with the Native American werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

When last we left the trio, a vampire high council, called the Volturi, demanded that the Cullens make Bella a vampire.

Edward has a deep reluctance to inflict that eternal nibble on his beloved. But the bill is coming due and “Eclipse” takes place in the space of a month.

The sequel uses the resonant deadline of Bella’s high- school graduation. Will Edward deliver Bella the bite she craves? Will she, as Edward requires, marry him first? And what about Naomi, er, Jacob?

Loss and revenge course through “Eclipse.” The auburn-haired vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, who is new in the role) drafts Forks native Riley (Xavier Samuel) as leader of a ravenous army of freshly bitten Newborns to battle the Cullens. Bella is her true target.

The action is vigorous; the acting is not. If the leads fear being forever linked to their “Twilight” roles, perhaps they should. Stewart and Pattinson in particular have been confined and are quickly becoming defined by the brooding glances of their characters. Those from the old school recognize the aesthetic well. And if “Twilight” were true to its soap-opera tradition, Bella and Edward would have a theme song like Luke and Laura, like Bo and Hope.

Still, there is great fun seeing the Cullen clan aligned in battle. And there’s nothing quite so retro-Tiger-Beat as watching Jacob’s Wolf Pack brethren bound out of a cabin on the Quileute reservation in their aerobicized human form, shirtless to a man.

Most winning are Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone as the young — all right, very, very old — vampire loves Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale.

There’s joy and friskiness in their eternal affection that even at the end of “Eclipse” — but hardly the finale of “Twilight” — eludes Bella and Edward. Stay tuned.

-Lisa Kennedy

So, let’s hear it: who is dying to see Eclipse and who could not care less?!

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson June 30, 2010

    I’m definitely in! But I will definitely wait a couple of weeks until the hype..and crowds die down before I go see it.

  • comment avatar Kristi C June 30, 2010

    I’m in. I’m 40 & have read all the books. I plan on seeing all the movies. I try not to read too much into it, just sit back & enjoy. I also have teenagers….we bought the tickets on Fandango…I don’t wait in line. Hope you enjoy the movie & don’t let others ruin it for you. 🙂

  • comment avatar TIna K June 30, 2010

    Oops, I guess I live under a rock. I knew it was coming out soon but had no clue when. I’ll just wait for the dollar theater or maybe even DVD. 🙂

  • comment avatar Suzanne Bastien June 30, 2010

    Hmmm.. I really don’t care. I haven’t seen the second one yet. However, if we were talking about Harry Potter, I’m like a little girl at a NKOTB concert. So…. I get it! 🙂

  • comment avatar Christine H June 30, 2010

    I’m in the couldn’t care less camp.

  • comment avatar happyhourmary June 30, 2010

    Was there last night at a pre-screening (9pm) and it was better than New Moon (not hard) but not even close to the book!! Good review!

  • comment avatar Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck June 30, 2010

    Jealous you got to go! New Moon was my least favorite book but I thought the movie was much better done than Twilight. I really liked Eclipse so I have high-expectations all around. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amy C June 30, 2010

    I loved regressing to 14 years old while reading the books and I will see each movie no matter how bad I know it will be 🙂

  • comment avatar Louise B June 30, 2010

    Team Couldn’t Care Less. 🙂

  • comment avatar Mommylebron July 1, 2010

    Great post!I can’t wait to see this one! I’m a mom of 3 and a Twi-hard! lol

  • comment avatar Lynn Kristle July 9, 2010

    I only say this movie because it was the only one playing on the big Imax screen. It was okay. I think the fight scenes were pretty awesome. I might even watch the other Twilight movies now, just to get the rest of the story.

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