"I'm going to fight for you, until your heart stops beating."
When we last saw our favourite angst-ridden teens, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) wanted to be turned into a member of the immortal Cullen's. Edward (Robert Pattinson) has agreed--but only if they're married. Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) on the other hand has embraced his new life as a recent addition to the werewolf clan. Still, he harbors deep-rooted feelings for Bella and longs for her to choose him over his undead counterpart.
The soap opera that is THE TWILIGHT SAGA continues with the third installment, ECLIPSE. At the beginning, long-standing antagonist Victoria (Bryce Dallas-Howard) returns to create an army of vampires to take down the Cullen clan, and more importantly Bella, for their involvement in the death of her lover James. There are many things wrong with ECLIPSE. First and foremost is the character of Bella. Quite frankly, she's the worst female in the history of cinema, and the fact that she is adored by young girls is mind-numbing.
She painstakingly spends the entire two hour film juggling Edward and Jacob, expressing her love to both. She initially chooses the former, even going so far as to agree to marry him (spurred by her desire to be turned into a vampire). Yet, when she sees that Jacob is upset over her decision, perhaps fearing abandonment, she cries out with internal anguish, pleading for him to kiss her. They share a passionate embrace, and after she returns to Edward mere moments later, she justifies her decision with, "But, I love you more."
Bella is far from the only problem. Robert Pattinson by all accounts seems to be a nice guy, but seriously, what is the big deal? For most of the film, Edward alternates between pathetic, puppy dog gazes to Bella, and smoldering, testosterone laden looks to his rival Jacob. And the wolfman himself, along with his pack, walk around in human form wearing nothing but shorts, to show off their ironically hairless bodies.
ECLIPSE culminates in a battle which pits the Cullen's and werewolves against Victoria's new brood. Apparently, these 'new-bloods' as they're called, are stronger than regular vampires due to the lingering effects of their human blood still coursing through their veins. Then, this revelation is completely disregarded when the new-bloods are dispatched as easily as stepping on a swarm of cockroaches. This is of course is attributed to Jasper Cullen's (Jackson Rathbone) superior hand-to-hand fighting technique; something he passes on to his family and even the werewolves. Yes, you read that right.
If it's any consolation, this film surpasses its earlier parts. Be it more action, or slightly less schmaltz, ECLIPSE is better, but barely. Too much we are supposed to just go along with. At one point, Jacob reads Bella's mind and says matter-of-factly, "wolf telepathy, remember?" Or the Cullen's, a family of vampires whose very existence is secret, host a graduation party for the entire high school. Or the night before the battle royale, where lives could be lost, Edward and Bella share a romantic evening at his home, smiling and laughing. I could continue.
Sadly, these films have, and will continue to find an audience. Shirtless heartthrobs, and pouty leading ladies are catnip for pubescent teens, but, the story and character development is tepid at best. At the end of the day, THE TWILIGHT SAGA exists in a world where the vampires don't kill by biting, but by smashing heads off and bear hugs; a world where they sparkle like diamonds in direct sunlight, and the werewolves emerge to the size of Volkswagen's, and strangely, it all amounts to a tiresome and lifeless affair.