“Eclipse” shines bright for vampire-series fans
posted by: Guest Blogger
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.
So, let’s hear it: who is dying to see Eclipse and who could not care less?!