The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Review
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It’s been just over seven months since Summit released New Moon, the second film in the wildly popular Twilight saga. But with teenage girls growing up so fast—and with another Harry Potter movie hitting theaters in November—the studio chose to strike while Rob Pattinson’s still hot and rush the follow-up into theaters this summer. But while the franchise’s third installment is sure to eclipse everything else at the box office this weekend, anyone with a low tolerance for teen angst will want to steer clear.

After her risky run-in with the Volturi in New Moon, Bella (Kristen Stewart) is now under constant supervision. Her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), keeps her close to home. Edward (Pattinson), meanwhile, watches her every move to make sure that nothing happens to her.

  
 
Graduation is approaching—and, soon after that, Bella intends to become a vampire, so she and Edward can be together forever. But as Edward warns her about the sacrifices she’ll be forced to make when she’s immortal, Bella struggles to separate herself from the human world—from her family, her friends, and, especially, from Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

As Jacob and Edward continue to compete for Bella’s love, word begins to spread about a series of brutal murders in Seattle, and the Cullens fear that someone’s building an army of newborn vampires. The only way for the Cullens to defeat them is to join with their enemies, the werewolf pack.

There’s so much about the latest Twilight installment that could have made for a gripping film. Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas Howard) continues to stalk Bella, waiting to get her revenge on Edward for killing her mate—and ravenous new vampires are heading toward Forks. This could be suspenseful stuff—and, at times, it is. Though the story is loaded with maddening plot holes, director David Slade (who last directed the dark, dismal vampire thriller 30 Days of Night) still does a decent job of building tension and developing characters. At times, he even gives audiences a much-needed break from the series’ excessive moodiness while he temporarily turns his attention to the action.

Unfortunately, though, the action and suspense are once again kept to a bare minimum. After all, the millions of teenage Twi-hards—and their creepy, pedophilic Twi-moms—who spend millions of dollars on movie tickets and T-shirts and other Twilight swag (and who shriek whenever shirtless Jacob shows up on-screen) couldn’t care less about some silly vampire war. They just want to see a muscular, under-age werewolf and a pasty vampire fighting over a moody teenage girl who’s done absolutely nothing to deserve their obsessive, undying love.

So instead of developing action and plot, Eclipse focuses on the increasingly nauseating love triangle. As Lautner’s Jacob becomes more tortured, struggling to convince Bella that he’s exactly the kind of monster that she needs, Edward becomes more possessive (to the point that, if I were Bella, I would have stopped returning his calls and started calling him “Stalker” or “Psycho” long ago). Both make frequent melodramatic professions of their undying love. Neither one can go on without Bella—and they’ll do anything to win her once and for all.

Apparently, such persistent declarations of love and such testosterone-fueled duels for a lady’s hand are supposed to send women into a swoon—and, in small doses, I might even fall for it. But after a while, all but the most fanatical of Twi-hards will just want to slap them across the face and tell them to man up and move on—preferably with someone who isn’t constantly putting their lives at risk.

Fortunately, Slade does manage to inject a bit of life into the third installment of the moody, melodramatic Twilight franchise, making Eclipse not entirely unbearable for non-Twi-hards. Still, it’s probably just best to leave this one to the screaming teenage girls and their even louder (and shriller) middle-aged mothers.


Blu-ray Review:
Whether you’re a casual viewer or a devoted Twi-hard, when it comes to picking up your very own copy of Eclipse, you’ve got plenty of options.

If you want just the movie and nothing else, there’s the single-disc movie-only edition, which comes with just one featureless Blu-ray disc (which is the one that I ended up getting). For just a few bucks more, you can get the double-sided DVD/Blu-ray disc, which includes both versions of the film, along with all kinds of extras. Or, finally, if you still want nothing to do with Blu-ray, you can pick up the film and the features on the two-disc DVD release.

For most viewers, just a single disc will suffice. But if you’re a serious Twi-hard, I recommend adding the double-sided disc to your wish list.

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