Twilight: Eclipse
directed by David Slade
(Summit, 2010)

Bella's mother and father, her classmates at school, even her vampire lover all urge her to avoid making life-altering decisions when she's only 18.

So Bella, of course, decides to get married. And die. And be reborn as a vampire, so she can be a teenager forever -- which, if she's anything like her vampire lover Edward, means endlessly attending high school and pining for what she's lost.

This is so not a girl I want my daughter to emulate or admire. Take out the supernatural elements and you're left with a girl who hardly ever smiles and who is willing to put up with a great deal of deceit and distrust from her jealous, domineering and, let's face it, not-too-bright boyfriend.

Twilight: Eclipse, the third movie in the popular series of touchy-feely vampire movies, begins with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) sparkling in a meadow as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) reads poetry aloud; Edward is also repetitively asking her to marry him, while she keeps telling him no and begging him to change her into a bloodsucker. Wee.

Of course, the angst-ridden and occasionally suicidal vampire won't take no for an answer. Neither will Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the young werewolf who also is in thrall to Bella's overawing sense of personal doom. Jacob, of course, is loyal to a fault and, to any rational mind, is the superior choice -- but I don't think I ruin any surprises by saying that Bella will eventually yield to Edward's pressure.

Oh, and there's something about a vampire war and an unprecedented alliance between Edward's and Jacob's respective clans to fight off their mutual foes. Edward's big contribution to the plan is to take Bella off into the woods and hide, assuming that removing her from the protection of the powerful vampire-and-werewolf army they've assembled will assure her safety. Ha.

David Slade, who once said he wanted nothing to do with the Twilight saga but changed his mind once he was offered money to direct one, certainly ramped up the level of action for Eclipse. Unfortunately, the action scenes are all too fast or too slow for sustained visual interest.

By the way, if Edward's family offers you its protection, don't feel too secure. As one cowering girl learned in this film, if someone tells the Cullens to step aside so they can kill you, the Cullens will glower a bit, then step aside.

I have enjoyed sharing my daughter's company at each Twilight movie, and I am glad the series makes her smile. But I wish these movies didn't glorify death, ennui and bad relationship choices. Teens today deserve something better.

review by
Tom Knapp

17 July 2010

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