4/15/10

R105 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

(2010, Horror/Romance, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

If there are any teenage girls out there who find this romantic, please seek help.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell
:

The surliest creatures of the night worship a sullen teenager with no redeeming qualities.

Summary:

When did people start confusing 'sexy' with 'bored'?We’re three deep into the series now, so if you’re not already up to speed, grab a pint of fawn's blood out of the fridge and take a look at my summaries of the previous films here and here.

Ready now? All undead, glittery and/or shirtless? Good.

The young and stammery Bella (Kristen Stewart) loves her icy vampire beau Edward (Robert Pattison) much to the consternation of her best Native American werewolf friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Bella wants to be a vampire too, but Edward doesn’t want to damn her to his endless, bloodthirsty state of unlife. She’s prevailed upon the Cullens (Edward’s vampire family) to change her anyway, but not until after high school graduation.

In nearby Seattle, vampire villainess Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) still fumes over the Edward-induced death of her mate two movies ago. She creates an army of young vampires and aims them at the Cullens. While the army slowly gathers and prepares, Bella pines, frets, stammers, blinks and mopes while Edward presses her with cold, emotionless proposals of marriage and Jacob presses her with overaggressive sexual advances. (The preceding sentence describes the film’s middle seventy percent.) Bella eventually accepts Edward’s proposal.

The army arrives. Bella, Jacob and Edward hide out on a remote mountain peak for some reason. Love triangle shenanigans ensue, culminating in an illicit kiss between Bella and Jacob. A tenuous alliance between the werewolf tribe and the Cullens brings the vampire army down. Edward kills Victoria. The Volturi (i.e. vampire government) arrives, led by Jane (Dakota Fanning). After a bit of posturing, they leave again. Bella and Edward set a date for the wedding.

Thoughts:

Almost as cute as Ewoks.The blurb on the DVD cover says “Best Twilight movie so far,” a statement I can’t honestly refute. Keep in mind, however, that Revenge of the Sith was the best Star Wars prequel and still consisted solely of equal parts tedium and pain. Eclipse is better structured and more briskly paced than its predecessors, reducing the tedium to some degree. In a way, this just makes it worse for the non-fan viewer; at times you can feel the pain portion expanding to fill the void.

What else can I say? With only one exception, every character in the entire friggin’ movie is too cool for such petty feelings as happiness and pleasure. The performances range from “emotionally sterile” to “clinically depressed” with most of them pushing the boundaries of “utterly unlikeable.” Ashley Greene as vampire sister Alice often seems as if she’s as only the person capable of joy in all of Washington State. During her appearances, I found myself wishing they’d made the movie about her instead. It’s a romance movie and she’s one of two characters who are even remotely sexy. The other is Jacob, who wields his blatant sexuality in the most disturbingly rape-ish way possible.

Do it.  Doooooo iiiiiit.And what of our central couple, Bella and Edward? They are still steadfastly, hopelessly in love. Once again, we only know this because the script has told us so. If it’s romantic chemistry you want, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

A few favorite comments: Jacob remarks how he’d rather Bella die than become a vampire, and Mike says, “It’s nice to have someone who cares enough to wish death on you.” While Edward prepares for battle, Bill notes his, um, “lean” physique with, “Even David Spade wouldn’t run away from this guy.” While Jacob continues to press himself on Bella in the creepiest, most aggressive way possible, Kevin follows one of his lines with, “I’m pretty sure that exact phrase is in a police pamphlet somewhere.” My favorite is Mike’s line near the end, quoted at the beginning of the review. “If there are any teenage girls out there who find this romantic, please seek help.” Bill adds that older women who find this romantic should seek double help. It’s a funny, expertly timed commentary, and it helps that the movie pauses after every line as if made for the purpose of mockery. If it weren’t for the pain associated with viewing, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. As it is, well, the pain is significant.