The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Info SidebarHere is a movie I do not understand. Two tall, strapping studs — who are handsome enough to draw in a castle of vestal virgins — are bickering over a stubborn teenage girl named Isabella Swan, who contains the charm of a corpse (ironic, maybe). A redheaded vampiress from the earlier movies is back again, still seeking vengeance for her fallen lover. A newly created vampire gathers an army of other newly created vampires in preparation for an attack on Bella. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the first time we are seeing this new boy? What does he have against Bella? How, for that matter, does he even know her? All this because Bella’s cadaverous charm is driving her two suitors mad beyond hope, almost to the point of cracking smiles.

Because heaven forbid that Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) or Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) should smile in the face of serious drama. To them, their world is absolute. They question nothing outside it, only what is within. I struggle to comprehend their love for Bella (Kristen Stewart), just as they struggle to comprehend each other’s. All The Twilight Saga: Eclipse crumbles down to, by the time its climax arrives, is a weak love triangle between two kids and a vampire who have no real idea of what love might possibly be.

Strangely, this idea is what fuels this inexhaustible series. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that keeps these movies popular. It is not the dialogue. It is not the acting. It is the representation of love. A love that is so wholesome and unbreakable that every young girl in the audience has to swoon each time Edward brushes Bella’s hair behind her ear. We all want that, don’t we? Or maybe it’s just the vampires. I don’t know.

The plot this time revolves around the vampiress Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard). She has curly red hair and skin as white as snow. In another movie she’d be a very attractive lady. Here, though, she is a victim of her own desires. She heads a vampire army — made up of newborn vampires, or Newbies — and sways a vamp named Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel) to lead it into battle. Off in the distance members of the Volturi observe like grotesques, forever stationed in sight, but just out of reach.

The real story is not here; it is the love triangle. It has been so ever since the first movie, and it will continue to be so till the very end. Eclipse, the third movie in this franchise, advances Bella’s and Edward’s relationship, but only by an inch or two. Our young players spend most of their time either in each other’s embrace, walking, staring, glowering, or running. When they’re not doing any of these, they’re talking, usually in simple English disguised as philosophical proclamations. Their words twist themselves around each other with the hope that someone will make some meaning out of them. And then Jacob enters the picture again, and the cycle starts over.

Too much time is given to whether Bella will choose Edward or Jacob. To me, the choice is simple. I’d rather be with the person who’s alive. But see, this is where that wholesome love comes into play again. For reasons unknown and never fully explained, Bella loves Edward so goddamn much that she wants, more than anything, to become a vampire and live out the rest of her infinite days staring into his cold contact lenses. And Edward loves Bella so goddamn much that I shudder to think what his past 109 years of undead living must’ve been like. After all this time of waiting, is she the best he has?

What Eclipse does give us, though, is a battle sequence, dominated by visual effects and some very large but otherwise very questionable werewolves. Jacob’s pack — always topless and always so sweetly tanned — is roped in alongside its cold-blooded archenemies to fight Bella’s battle. Naturally, the pack obliges. What’s good for Jacob must be good for us! Here is where I learnt that the vampires in this series are made of porcelain — this explains their glittering. And the werewolves may look strong, but the effects do them so little justice that they seem weightless. Indeed, even the vamps come close to crushing their bones. The fight should be one-sided, but because Bella, Edward, and Jacob have retreated to the cold mountaintop to wait out the storm, the fight comes to them. By the end of it all, after the deaths have been counted and the cold wind has settled, we’re back to square one.


Best Moment | Nope.

Worst Moment | The heart-to-heart talk between Jacob and Edward in the tent is quite repulsive. Would’ve been more interesting had they seen Brokeback Mountain beforehand.

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