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Twilight Eclipse First Decent Movie From Twilight Series Thanks to New Director

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New film benefits from a better director and a more secure handle on all the silly, sparkly vampire melodrama Twiglight Eclipse

Well it only took 2 years: Dozens of shiny, sparkly vampires, a million shots of Kristen Stewart’s glowing scowl, and more Taylor Lautner abs than you count on two hands. However, with Eclipse, the Twilight series has finally churned out something that can be considered a cohesive film. This is no faint praise, but for the target audience, Eclipse may just be the money maker to beat this summer.

Stephanie Myer’s corny vampire soap opera is, in pretty much all ways, the antithesis of vampire lore. The tension is almost nonexistent, the eroticism lacking, and most importantly the blood is nowhere to be found. Still, the films, and in particular Eclipse, do find a pulse in the area of an intense romantic triangle between the leads. This triangle was established in the dull New Moon, and here it flourishes, adding interesting layers the simply weren’t present before. In this outing, Bella (Stewart) reveals that she may actually have a soft spot for the intense Jacob (Lautner), who will stop at nothing until she breaks down and admits her repressed feelings for him. Meanwhile, Edward (Robert Pattinson) deals with several escalating problems, one being a horny Bella who wants her virginity to be taken while she’s still human. This would be fine, if the act didn’t pose as a possible ignition to his insatiable bloodlust.

Eclipse has recruited a new director David Slade this time around, and is all the better for it. Using a far more washed out palette ( Director Chris Weitz painted New Moon in glossy vibrance), Slade’s overall take is perhaps the darkest of the three films, and thus at least there is a sense of danger that hangs over moments, including a dare I say, thrilling climax. The film does cave from the same awful dialogue and bad melodrama, but his attempts at character are much more successful than the last film. Main leads aside, the Cullen clan is given some interesting back stories, especially Rosalie (Nikki Reed), who bears a brief, heartbreaking moment later in the film.

The acting in Eclipse is also the best of the lot, though again that’s not saying much. Kristen Stewart still looks miserable, and Robert Pattinson might very well be a vampire in real life with his blank take on the character. Maybe it’s not his fault, though. Putting up the wooden actor against the powerful screen presence of Taylor Lautner isn’t exactly a fair fight. Lautner literally lights up the screen, both physically and performance wise. His angsty, lovesick Jacob injects some much needed passion and romance into the triangle between Bella and Edward.

When the credit rolled for Eclipse, the screening audience (mostly 12 year old girls and gay men), broke out into applause. This alone is a good indication that this film has satisfied its rabid, undemanding teenage fan base.

This also means we will absolutely be seeing the next Twilight film sooner than later. That’s all fine and good, but if the wedding of Bella and Edward ends up in 3-D, I may need to stage some sort of protest.

Eclipse Photos from Summit Entertainment

Contact Jim Teti at jteti@philly2philly.com