(2010) director David Slade
The third segment of the “Twilight Saga,” after Twilight (2008) and New Moon (2009), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the worst yet from a series of teenage vampire/werewolf books and movies that I’ve been following on their DVD releases. While these stories of teen angst, love, and sexual repression have never been all that enthralling, the latest film is beyond a bore and slips into idiocy and inanity.
Each of the films have had a different director. Catherine Hardwicke directed Twilight and Chris Weitz directed New Moon. Eclipse is directed by David Slade (Hard Candy (2005) & 30 Days of Night (2007)). The films have a consistent look and feel to them: muted palettes, dreamy Pacific Northwest landscapes, broody young adults, bad special effects. But for some reason, some combination of bad story and bad storytelling perhaps, this one is out and out awful.
This time around there is a vampire who is recruiting a lot of newbie vampires in Seattle to create an “army” of newbie vampires (who are stronger and more out of control than seasoned, older ones) in order to attack Bella (Kristen Stewart) to kill her, which the vampire seeks to do to get revenge on Edward (Robert Pattinson), who killed her life-long love. So, Edward’s clan of good guy vampires has to team up with their rival werewolf clan (ancient enemies that they are) to protect Bella from the bad vampires. And then there is also a group of vampires from the “vampire Vatican” from the last film that are going around doing nothing in particular as well.
Bella wants to be a vampire, so that she can be with Edward forever. But there is Jake (Taylor Lautner), the hunky werewolf boy who loves her, who wants her to want him. And Bella is supposedly torn between the two. Except she’s not. She clearly prefers Edward to Jake, even if loving Jake means not having to die and become a vampire. So, there’s drama…except there’s not.
And that’s the biggest thing about the film. All these would be passionate yearnings are passionless and not really yearnings. The whole thing is a love triangle without the drama. And it’s BORING!
I was struck by one aspect of this relationship between Bella and Edward. She’s about to turn 18, about to graduate school. Her father doesn’t like Edward (not because he’s a vampire; he doesn’t know that), but just because their relationship is so intense and that spooks him. He wants her to play the field and not settle down.
And like a lot of young love, Bella and Edward think that their love is for the ages, that they will pretty much die if they can’t be together, and that while she’s waiting to turn 18 and graduate, she’s hovering above the big decision. Edward wants her to marry him. She wants him to turn her into a vampire. She also wants him to have sex with her while she’s still human.
There is a metaphor here for all young love and lust. The big decisions, to have sex, to marry, to dedicate one’s life to another at a very young age and to be utterly unquestioning about it. Of course, sex, marriage, even getting pregnant, aren’t quite the same as the virtual suicide of dying for one’s love and becoming an eternal vampire, but there is this sensibility about love and sex and youth that plays out here.
Maybe it will all make sense in the end. I doubt it. I’ll hang on for the final installment, since I’ve gone this far with this series of films. I might as well get the closure when it comes out on DVD next fall. But I won’t be looking forward to it.