Right at the beginning of ‘Eclipse’, Edward asks Bella, ‘Marry me’ while Bella replies with ‘change me’. This sets the mood for the film, which finds Bella at a crossroad where she has to make a decision that will alter the rest of her life.
Ever since ‘Twilight’ hit theatres in 2008 the series has become the most successful vampire franchisee ever. The reason is its target audience – female teenagers. Among the three films so far, ‘Eclipse’ has the most for teenage girls to swoon over.
Film: ‘Eclipse’; Director: David Slade; Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick; Rating: **1/2
And aiding her confusion are confessions of vampires about how life as a vampire sucks, the growing love of Jacob for her, her own love for both the men in her life and of course, her own doubts about the right decision.
However, while Bella is caught between the two lovers in her life, someone is raising an army of newborn vampires. And amidst this fight between vampires, a love triangle unfolds, as two lovers fight this enemy for the sake of the same woman each loves.
‘Eclipse’ has enough elements for the target teenage girl audience to swoon over – a topless Jacob, a father having the uncomfortable ‘sex’ conversation with his daughter, two hot men fighting for one woman while she conveniently vacillates between the two, the two lovers having a war of words, and some cheesy moments that cause the two men to become jealous.
Considering that most often it is females who make the decisions about which movies to watch even for their boyfriends and spouses, and also because of its successful predecessors, the stupendous success of ‘Eclipse’ is literally guaranteed.
David Slade was a good choice to direct this latest offering. While Pattinson was the hot favourite of the ladies in the previous instalments, it is Taylor Lautner, playing Jacob with a muscular body and cute, lovable mannerisms, who steals everyone’s attention and sympathies as the jilted, but never-say-die lover.
Some might find the film excessively broody, with more conversation than action. Yet, ‘Eclipse’ has more action and special effects than its predecessors and if the ending is anything to go by, more is guaranteed in the filming of the final novel, which is being done in two parts.
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The third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster vampire series is its most action packed, both in terms of fight scenes and human-vampire-werewolf lovin’. In Eclipse, the vampiric Cullen clan and the werewolves–their sworn enemies–unite against an army of “newborn” vampires, whose remnants of human blood in their veins makes them stronger and more uncontrollable, causing a string of murders in the Seattle area. They’ve been created by the vengeful vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, taking over for Rachelle Lefevre), still keen on destroying human Bella (Kristen Stewart). Thus, Bella is under careful watch, and her undead love Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf best friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) spend a lot of time arguing over who is the better man for her. (In one hilarious scene where Bella’s freezing and only Jacob has the lupine body heat to warm her, he looks over at Edward and cracks, “I am hotter than you.” Go Team Jacob!) But there’s more at the heart of the triangle than love: Bella, against Edward’s warnings, doesn’t want to grow older than him and would willingly give up contact with her parents, the chance to grow old with children, and more to be turned into a bloodthirsty vampire. (Jacob’s trump card is that Bella wouldn’t have to give up her mortality to be with him.) But the unfolding of this love triangle is even clumsier than it was on the page; you’re never really convinced Bella has romantic feelings for Jacob, even during their climactic kiss on top of the mountain. This is likely to confuse non-readers of the book series, as Stewart emotes nothing that intones there’s a real competition here (clearly, she’s Team Edward). Pattinson, on the other hand, appears to have overcome his awkwardness to become a much cooler Edward; Howard, while missing Lefevre’s mischief as Victoria, brings her own touch of soft-spoken manipulation; and Billy Burke, as Bella’s father Charlie, continues to steal every scene he’s in. The other Cullens also get far more play here, notably Rosalie (Nikki Reed), whose revealing back story is touching and tragic, and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who trains everyone in combat and who, halfway through the movie, adopts a sudden Southern accent that he didn’t have before, once it’s revealed he was a Confederate soldier (on a side note, it’s mentioned in the books that Jasper can calm the emotions of others, but that trait isn’t used in the movie). The climactic fight scene is well staged by director David Slade (30 Days of Night, Hard Candy); the violence, while not bloody, is still more abundant and disturbing than in the previous films; and the sex, while not actually happening between anyone (yet), is certainly on everyone’s mind (but Edward wants to get married first). It seems the characters, and the series, are growing up. –Ellen A. Kim