Somewhere out there, Nosferatu and Dracula are sharing drinks over their troubles. What has brought these beloved and infamous vampire legends together? Stephenie Meyer, author of the wildly popular “Twilight” series. Meyer has done all she could to turn the vampire mythos into a laughingstock clearly seen in “Eclipse,” the pre-teen exploiting cash cow directed by David Slade.
“Eclipse” is the third installment of the mind-numbingly dull story of the plainest of Mary Sues (Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart) as she struggles to choose between pedophilic necrophilia and bestiality. When we last saw Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella in “New Moon,” he was sparkling somewhere in Italy as a part of a suicide attempt and she was cliff-diving the pain of separation away. What a great picture of a healthy relationship!
Sometime after all this, “Eclipse” begins like a bad episode of CSI – a new character who is never introduced formally, the opening strains to a trendy post-rock score, atmosphere setting rain and an attack. The movie then segues to dopey heroine Bella reading “Romeo and Juliet” in a field while her beau, the ubiquitous Edward Cullen, makes out with the side of her face. Ah yes, it’s going to be one of those movies. We are treated to a close-up of them sucking face no more than three minutes in.
Now, if the two opening scenes feel choppy, get used to it. “Eclipse” blunders from scene to scene, offering little to no explanation but plenty of teenage angst and sexual tension so thick you couldn’t even cut it with a butcher knife.
Perhaps the only moment of real logic and clarity in the entire movie comes very early on from Charlie Swan, Bella’s bedraggled father played by Billy Burke, one of the few actors worth their salt in this franchise. Dad wants his obsessive daughter to “get some separation” from her stalker boyfriend. He even suspends her grounding on the condition that she “see[s] some of [her] other friends” – like Jacob Black (played by Twi-mom jailbait Taylor Lautner). Oh here we go.
“Eclipse” is full of poorly-written dialogue, longing stares, poorly framed close-ups, making out, angst and people being too close to other people’s faces. Like, way too close. (Jake, I know she’s with the biggest creeper on the planet, but you need to give her some personal space.) However, “Eclipse” isn’t all bad. Taylor Lautner’s abs are fantastic and he’s half-naked in nearly every single shot of the movie, despite the weather. Also, Robert Pattinson keeps his shirt on in this one, which is both good and bad. On one hand, we are spared from makeup musculature. On the other, the sparkle quotient is unfortunately on the low side. Abs, or lack thereof, aside, the CGI wolf pack and painted landscapes are so bad they’re laughable, and who doesn’t love to laugh?
The plot meanders, feeling as though it reaches its climax when the haphazard trio is hiding out from the big vampire battle going on. Jake is nestled up to sleeping Bella to keep her warm in the snow while he and Edward eke it out like adults, vampire to werewolf. For the fangirls, I’m sure this is the only climax that matters. Oh, and yeah, that is the first time I’ve mentioned the vampire battle. The real action of the plot, presumably the big fight brewing, is completely lost in between Jake’s yearning for Bella, Bella’s yearning for sex and Edward’s stifling jealousy. What was the battle fought over? Bella. Why? Wikipedia probably knows.
In all seriousness, “Eclipse” isn’t the worst film of all time. It’s perhaps no worse than the first two in the “saga.” The acting across the board is flat and the story is lacking and boring, but at least it fits well with the other movies. It’s not even as unintentionally funny as its predecessors (which is disappointing for me, but a welcome improvement for others). The best part of “Eclipse” is knowing that these movies are almost over. Nosferatu, Dracula, this round’s on me.