The first thing to remember is that the whole Twilight Series is written for teenaged girls. However, for every teenage girl that wants to see Eclipse, a teenage boy will want to take her. For every teenage girl without a boyfriend and without a driver’s license, there are the girl’s parents to take her and family to see Eclipse. So right away, you can see how the ticket sales multiply in this fashion. Knowing this bit of information, at least sets one’s expectations for Eclipse in the right place. Of The Twilight Saga’s three different directors, David Slade (30 Days of Night) may be the best yet. Returning to her role as Bella Swan is the ever-dark Kristen Stewart, and reprising his James Dean looking character is ever quiet Robert Pattinson as Edward the vampire. Bringing heat and passion to the cold northwest is Taylor Lautner as the shape-shifting werewolf, Jacob Black. Once again set in the cold dreary rural outskirts of Seattle, in the little town of Forks Washington, Eclipse brings a less depressing Bella and a more entertaining story to Twilight fans everywhere.
Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) are making plans for graduation and potential plans for Bella’s change into a vampire afterwards. Edward is proposing marriage; however, Bella just wants to turn. In the seedy areas of rainy, wet, Seattle, there is a series of murders taking place by newbie vampires who are without the boundaries that all good little vampires need. You know, “spare the rod spoil the vampire.” An old enemy from the past is creating a vampire army to take on the Cullens and specifically Edward and Bella. Much of the movie revolves around the teen posturing that you usually find on a high school campus. For any one who has attended high school, the scenes in Eclipse will bring back memories, either fond ones or not so fond memories of those good old school days. Staying away for the first part of the film is Taylor Lautner, as he was rejected by Bella in the last movie, New Moon, or he was still in shock from the reviews. Returning to the screen the shirtless wonder and with his wide smile, Lautner brings the heat and warmth that the cold Edward lacks. Bella, ever in a state of confusion, is more cheerful and active than she was in New Moon. While lounging in the tall summer grass, Bella quotes to Edward from Robert Frost’s poem Fire and Ice,
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
Bella hints to the audience which boyfriend she plans to choose with this poem. Warned by the psychic Alice (Ashley Greene), that she and Edward are being hunted by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), Bella comes out of her shell and wants to help. Joining the cast as this episode’s list of enemies, is actor Xavier Samuel as Riley, a young man who went missing about a year ago and has since started building a vampire army. Eclipse presents the viewers with the best of all situations for the teenaged audience, two guys as a love interest both fighting over you and protecting you. Both Edward and Jacob, in trying to protect Bella from the Vampire Army, and the freezing cold, have a long wordy male bonding session in a tent while a storm howls outside. What they say is not important, what is important to the viewer is that the two work together. What Bella doesn’t realize is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, or maybe you can. Dealing with subject of becoming a vampire and the subject of marriage in the same scene, harkens back to the days of gothic horror. Bella begging for penetration of one kind or another, author Stephanie Meyers through the character of Edward firmly say no. Becoming a vampire has always been a metaphor of casting aside society’s conventions and releasing to your inner passions, and Eclipse dances around this very well. Add some well placed comedy, and director David Slade turned what could easily be a very bad movie into something more enjoyable than New Moon.
The young actors, under Slade’s direction, enrich their characters this time around. The script is too wordy for an adult audience, but I think screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, and director Slade chose to keep in the explanations, making it easier for the teen audience and those new to the Twilight series to catch on. In the last film, New Moon, I felt too much was left unsaid, and have not read the book, the film didn’t stand on its own. Being more active in Eclipse, Stewart whose past roles include a suicidal teen in 2007’s The Messengers, frozen through most of Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and a depressed rape victim in Speak (2004) provided her with the background for angst ridden teens. Eclipse gives her an opportunity to show some acting growth, and hopefully she will show us more in Breaking Dawn films. Pattison bares his fangs from time to time and plays his part very subtly, however Lautner, reacts to Stewart’s chemistry like a wolf in heat, pun intended. Eclipse does stand on it’s on as a complete story while leaving the audience wanting more. Howard Shore’s compositions for Eclipses score were appropriate and not overbearing nor pretentious. The effects seemed a little sloppy, but happen so fast that most teenagers or adults will notice if they are paying attention to the live actors and the story. In this case, it Slades’ direction to his visual effects group was that he wanted the effects to help tell the story and not be the story. In that, I do applaud the 30 Days of Night director for keeping the attention focused on the story. Not many actual shape-shifting scenes to distract the audience with, Slade keeps the audience focused on his three lead characters and the story. Mixing the cold blues of the Northwest sky with glowing, warm scenes of Edward and Bella, or scenes with Bella and Jacob walking in the sun keep away the gloom. Eclipse is well paced, too wordy at times, but overall a fun movie to watch with your teenaged daughter. The bottom line is, take your kids if they have to see it, otherwise wait for the DVD.
Robert Frost: Fire and Ice