The Twilight Saga: EclipseBy Karen Wilson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality
Release Date: June 30, 2010
Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes
Plot Synopsis: A series of mysterious murders is plaguing Seattle, not far from Forks, WA where Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen live. They're about to graduate from high school and Bella wants Edward to turn her into a vampire while Edward wants Bella to be his wife. Bella renews her friendship with the werewolf Jacob Black and Jacob tells Bella he loves her. Edward and his vampire family discover that the killings are actually their nemesis Victoria creating an army of young vampires. The Cullens declare a truce with Jacob and his werewolf pack, and they all band together to fight the young vampire army and protect Bella.
Sex/Nudity: Bella and Edward make out a number of times, including in a bed he installs in his room just for her. Bella would like to have sex, and even starts to take off her top in one scene, but Edward stops her saying he won't have sex until they're married. Bella's dad asks her if she's having sex with Edward, but she tells him she's a virgin. Jacob kisses Bella twice, the second time only when she asks him to, right before the vampire battle. Victoria tells Riley she loves him but she's clearly manipulating him.
Violence/Gore: A young man is assaulted on the street in Seattle and falls to the ground screaming in pain. The Cullens and the werewolves chase Victoria through the forest trying to capture her. The werewolf chief tells the story of their history with the vampires they call The Cold Ones which involve battles and bloodshed. When Jacob kisses Bella for the first time, she punches him in the face. Rosalie tells the story of how she was turned into a vampire and it involves the implication of gang rape. The Cullens and the werewolves train with Jasper to learn to kill young vampires. During the battle, Riley and Victoria discover Bella and Edward's hiding place. They all fight with Edward finally decapitating Victoria after Bella distracts her by cutting herself. All of the young vampires are dead except for one, Bree Tanner, when the Volturi arrive on the scene. We hear Bree scream as one of the Volturi kills her.
Profanity: Jacob tells Bella he is sorry for being "an ass."
Which Kids Will Like It? As was the case with the first two Twilight films, Eclipse is targeted at teenage girls, particularly obsessive fans of the novels. Other age groups and genders will be bored by the movie.
Will Parents Like It? Adults who have been following along on the plot of the series with their kids should be pleased by this new installment, which follows the third book's plot line so devotedly.
Kaboose Review: The plot thickens and the love triangle deepens as we embark on the third installment of Stephanie Meyers's best-selling vampire series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Our heroine Bella Swan wants more than ever to become a vampire like her boyfriend Edward Cullen, while Edward and his rival Jacob only want to protect Bella from harm, in the form of a newly formed army of young vampires. It's a simple, almost elemental story, where everyone's motivations are crystal clear and the cast sells it like it was great drama. For long time fans, this third film will only reaffirm their loyalty to the franchise. Its fidelity to the novel hits all the major pleasure points for Twihards. But if the allure of sparkling vampires and cuddly werewolves has had no pull up until now, Eclipsewon't be the movie that converts you.
After two movies, the cast and the audience wear the tropes of Twilight like an old comfortable sweatshirt. After a creepy opening sequence where a teenager is brutally attacked on the supposedly mean streets of Seattle by a lightening quick assailant, we come upon Bella and Edward lounging in their secret flower field reading poetry aloud, gazing into each other eyes, and having the inane conversations of teenage lovers. The tableau is so familiar it's almost like comfort food. Except instead of worrying about going to college, a plot against Bella by a vengeful vampire and Bella's own desire to be turned into a vampire is what occupies most of the action.
Fortunately, there are a few moments of levity where the movie briefly punctures its bubble of self-importance. Much has been made of actor Taylor Lautner's impressive stomach muscles and his bare-chested look as the werewolf Jacob, so when Edward wonders aloud if the guy owns a shirt, the audience laughs. Then late in the movie when our love triangle is camped out in a tent during a snowstorm, the warm-blooded Jacob offers to cuddle with Bella in order to keep her from freezing. "Face it, I'm hotter than you," Jacob taunts Edward as he looks on. When the movie tacitly acknowledges the fans in the audience, who are wriggling with pleasure at the idea of the threesome spending the night in a tiny tent, Eclipse actually seems like fun.
If only the rest of this dour film wasn't hamstrung by Meyers' half-baked novels. The way she depicts romantic love, as a test of chaste fidelity that borders on emotionally abusive manipulation, is seriously troubling. You want to reach through the screen and throttle Bella, telling her that perfect love isn't about losing yourself in someone else and accepting their conditional marriage proposal at the age of 18. But there's no convincing Bella, or her devoted young fans, to get out there and find some more varied life experiences or less clichéd dialogue. Like when werewolves fall in love, they've "imprinted" on the Twilight brand of romance and there's no turning back.
Directed by: David Slade
Cast: Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black), Xavier Samuel (Riley), Bryce Dallas Howard (Victoria), Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen), Billy Burke (Charlie Swan), Nikki Reed (Rosalie Cullen)
Movie poster courtesy of Summit Entertainment.
Karen Wilson is a freelance writer living in New York City.