The first Twilight film left me dazed, wondering what just happened. Vampires sparkled, Kristen Stewart bit her lip, and a bunch of wannabe California models were transported to the Pacific Northwest to “act” like teenagers. The sequel, New Moon, was actually worse. Instead of action or conflict we were treated to scene after boring scene of Jacob (Taylor Lautner) professing his love, sans shirt, to the lovesick Bella. The climax was, honest-to-god, whether or not Edward (Robert Pattinson) would take off his shirt in public.
These films are obviously not for me and Twi-hards could really care less if the movies were any good so long as they can still imagine themselves as Bella and dream of Jacob and Edward intensely swooning over them. So, you can imagine my shock to find Twilight: Eclipse a passable mess, if still completely ridiculous.
Edward still glistens in the sun. Jacob still can’t seem to find a shirt (or act). And Bella still can’t make up her mind. But this time around, there’s some real conflict.
And some real action, no doubt thanks to director David Slade (Hard Candy). It seems the hot-tempered red-head, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), is still pissed from the first film and is building a vampire army in an attempt to kill Bella. The Cullen clan and the wolf pack prepare for the vampire battle royale, while the love triangle endlessly plays out.
All the awful, stupid stuff is still here just… less so. Where before a clunky and poorly written scene would segue into another clunky and poorly written scene, now there are some action scenes sprinkled in between. The dreck is handled with more care and in half the time. Plus, there are some flashbacks to add some much needed depth to the proceedings.
When the climax is reached (Pattinson keeps his shirt on for this one), I was pretty surprised that I hadn’t fallen asleep. I was thus rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable set-piece, full of decapitations and torn limbs. There’s nothing like some good old-fashioned violence to spice up a dull romance story. I’m sure Bella will make up her mind by series end and I’m sure I won’t care who she chooses. In the meantime, Eclipse was a half-decent waste of time. I wouldn’t recommend watching the first two just to get to this one, but if for whatever reason you have to watch Twilight, perhaps there’s some comfort in knowing there’s something to kinda, sorta look forward to.