Contributed By Wayne Chan
Living the life of Bella Swan in the Twilight saga’s latest instalment, Eclipse, must be every girl’s wildest dream come true.
Imagine two intense alpha males—one, a suave emo-rocker type vampire (the dreamy looking and impeccably stylish Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson) who believes in the sanctity of marriage; the other, a beach-boy werewolf (the taut-bodied and often shirtless Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner) who vows to protect you till even after your heart stops beating— both trying to one-up each other in a battle for your affections. Add to that a chance to snuggle up to both while keeping your chastity intact. What more can a girl ask for?
It is all about choices in this coming of age movie, with both Edward and Jacob laying out all the options and consequences for Bella, who now stands at the crossroads just before her high school graduation. Should she abandon her humanity and take the plunge into the unknown by becoming a vampire to be with Edward? Or should she continue her human existence, stay in Forks and pursue a relationship with Jacob, who can also double up as an adorable canine protector?
Directed by David Slade (known for 2005’s Hard Candy), this film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s third book has commercially eclipsed both its predecessors by setting a new box office record, but it pales in comparison to the first two Twilight films.
Apart from Kristen Stewart’s Bella, the other two main characters seem somewhat out of character. Robert Pattinson’s Edward has lost much of the intensity he displayed in the first film while Taylor Lautner’s Jacob comes across as a cocky jock, displacing a warm, softer side that made him a believable contender for Bella’s heart in New Moon. In fact, they almost look like a vampire and werewolf version of Finn Hudson and Noah “Puck” Puckerman from Glee.
Eclipse is also laced with too many lame one-liners that sometimes make the film seem more like Buffy The Vampire Slayer than an actual Hollywood blockbuster. This is on-stark display as Jacob explains to Edward that he should warm a freezing Bella up while Edward watches because, “Let’s face it—I’m hotter than you.”
And then there’s the watered down main villain. Bryce Dallas Howard dresses up her character from Lady In The Water and tries to pass it off as the vengeful Victoria, played earlier by the more convincing Rachelle Lefevre, but comes across as no more than a petulant high school girl. The heavy usage of extreme close-ups also made the film look like a typical daytime TV soap opera. How close are we talking about? So close, you could clearly see Robert Pattinson’s bad makeup and Taylor Lautner’s day-old stubble.
For all the stunning CGI invested into the werewolves, it’s odd that the filmmakers did not put more effort into the way the vampires in Eclipse are, err, disposed of. Like some B-grade slasher flick, they break and shatter like fragile ice sculptures or porcelain figurines when they’re killed. The supposedly climatic fight scene was also a letdown.
But then, that’s the grand achievement of Twilight. For all the rotten tomatoes it gets, moviegoers will flock to watch it because it’s more than a movie. It’s an event, a talking point, a cinematic party that lures even the most stoic of gatecrashers.