Rating: 3 out of 5
The Twilight Saga rolls on to its third big-screen outing filled with more teen angst, shirtless beefcakes and the continuation of one of the most fan-obsessed love triangles in history. Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are no Buffy and Angel, heck they aren’t even as interesting as Sookie and Bill (from True Blood) but I think I’m finally starting to understand the fangirl following.
So what’s it going to be for our mumbly emo heroine, teen wolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) or the hundred year-old virgin? Jacob and Edward may have incredible supernatural powers but none of that holds a candle to the unique teenage girl superpower of being able to lead two guys on simultaneously.
This provides ample opportunity for both Edward and Jacob make never-ending dopey declarations of love such as, "I'm exactly right for you, Bella; it would be as easy as breathing with me." Cue swooning audience.
Bella is also still preoccupied with convincing Edward to make her a vampire, so much so that she makes it condition for their marriage. When Bella pleads, “Change me” it is of course an obvious metaphor. Indeed all vampire stories are sociological allegories; it’s just that Twilight’s isn’t as nuanced.
What Bella truly craves from Edward isn’t a preternatural transformation but a psychological one. She wants change that will take her out of her social alienation and a sexual transformation that will take her into adulthood. Whether either hero in the triangle is able to provide that is something clearly lost on her. Finally, some juicy internal conflict is introduced.
Meanwhile a new coven of baby vamps led by the revenge-driven Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard replacing Rachelle Lefevre) provides the central conflict. Victoria targets Bella as payback for Edward killing her ex-mate James in the first movie. This leads to an unlikely alliance between the werewolves and the Cullen clan (including Jacob and Edward) as they scramble to mount a force strong enough to repel the attack and protect Bella.
The build-up to this battle provides a nice sense of momentum to the film, something lacking in previous instalments. The acting is still sub-par but the three leads do seem more comfortable in their characters’ skins. A big plus that elevates Eclipse is its embrace of its own campiness, which lends more levity and self-referential humour (Edward on Jacob: “Doesn’t he own a shirt?) to the proceedings.
Most of the credit for the step up in quality goes to director David Slade. With impressive credits such as Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night, you knew Slade was going to take Twilight in an edgier and darker direction. Slade has miraculously found just the right cinematic tone and atmosphere for Meyer’s books and takes the Twilight franchise the closest it’ll ever come to fulfilling its creative potential. Quite a mean feat, too bad he won’t be around for the final two instalments.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia.
Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.