Monday, July 12, 2010

Playing Catch Up! Twilight Saga: Eclipse

As tensions grow between the Cullens and the Werewolf pack, an unknown mastermind plots for all out war against both.

"...A huge step up from god awful- which is exactly what the first movie was. I will say this: if the third movie improves on the second as much as the second improved on the first, then I might actually find myself looking forward to the fourth." This was how I ended my review New Moon, the second (and previous) installment in the Twilight Saga. I had walked out of the theater impressed at such an about-face in the space of one episode. I don't care how much you may hate Twilight's approximation of Nosferatu- that's an impressive feat.

Unfortunately, Eclipse ensures that there will be no streak. It's no better than New Moon. It's no worse than New Moon. To be honest, I'm not sure it wasn't New Moon. Eclipse is the cinematic equivalent of left-over night. Despite the flash and exposition, I could not be fooled out of seeing that the movie had been running at 60 mph hour, but the overall story had only moved inches. Every major arc returns exactly where it left off and proceeds to take all the steps we saw it walk in the first two movies again.

Jacob continues to pine after Bella giving speech after speech about how he'll change her mind. Bella continues to lead him on through a series of overt actions given perfunctory explanation in hopes of keeping the audience from realizing how contrived they all are. The Cullen's chase Victoria through the woods, and we are reminded that the Volturi are bad. And of course, Bella continues to follow her man's will, defying Edward only when it comes to seeking Jacob. At one point the two of them have a conversation in which they all but decide Bella's life (and death) for her. That she's sleeping in this scene is fitting, as they talk about her as though she's not even in the room.

Director David Slade's dark accolades don't do much to save the day here. In the end, this is still a majorly bloodless vampire movie. Open discussion of the fact that the Cullen's actually do hunt (wildlife) is the closest we come to any real horror. The battle scenes are all kept chaste by the fact that the vampire's all seem to be made of solid pewter. Even the most "gruesome" "deaths" are completely bloodless.

Following the lead of Harry Potter, the Twilight movies have split their last installment, making five movies out of four books. It seems to me that they could have saved themselves the extension by combining this newest episode and the last, since the former is more a less a repeat of the latter. I say, as a fan of neither franchise, that what Twilight could really learn from Harry Potter is to attempt to craft better films- even at the cost of the higher ticket sales awarded when your willing to crank out mediocre movies while your audience is still craving more teen-titillation. It seems that Twilight is happy to thrive in the box office and languish everywhere else.

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