As I sat in Harkins Cine Capri waiting for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse to begin, the host of a local radio show asked the audience who was for Team Edward. Half the theater then erupted in applause for their darling vampire with untamable hair. When asked who was for Team Jacob, the other half of the room cheered for their beloved shirtless wolf boy. Finally, the audience was asked who was for Team Bella and all the ladies simultaneously booed for the woman attempting to steal their man. This was the high point of my evening. It was all downhill from there.
I’m not one of those people that hates this “Twilight” series simply for the sake of hating it. The truth is that I’d love nothing more than to get on board with the cultural phenomenon. Sitting among a cult of “Twilight” fanatics at the pre-screening I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if this was the movie that finally won me over.” Then Robert Pattinson showed up as the same deadpan, uninteresting vampire and my hopes were gone.
After popping the question at the end of the last movie, Edward Cullen is still waiting for Bella Swan to accept his marriage proposal. But Bella, once again played by Kristen Stewart, may be concealing secret emotions for wolf boy Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner. She’s also reluctant to marry Edward until he changes her, making her a vampire as well. All the while the evil Victoria, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is forming an army of newborn vampires to take revenge on Bella for killing her lover James in the first film. But of course all you “Twilight” readers already know the plot point by point.
Pattinson continues to sleepwalk through his role, making Hayden Christian look like a young Marlon Brando, while Stewart is confined to playing a needy and feeble heroine. The only times when “Eclipse” really takes off is when the supporting cast, which includes Billy Burke as Bella’s father, Nikki Reed as the icy Rosalie, and last year’s Best Supporting Actress nominee Anna Kendrick as Jessica, are allowed the opportunity to shine.
“Eclipse” isn’t as bad as the previous two “Twilight” chapters, which I found just horrendous. This one has a little more humor, more action, and even a speckle more of a story. There’s also more at stake this time around than whether or not Bella is going to end up with a hot vampire or a hot wolf boy. At the end of the day though, it’s still the same shallow story that’s free of any creativity whatsoever.
I’m not the right person to be reviewing these pictures. If you loved the books and last two movies, you’re going to love this one, too. But are these “Twilight” films really going to stand the test of time? In another 20 years will they be remembered as anything more than a footnote in early 21st century popular culture? Will they be re-watched and evaluated alongside recent Oscar-winners like The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country For Old Men? Certainly not. Will they still be perceived as lightweight entertainment? I certainly hope not. I like to think that our society will have evolved by then.
Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past five years, reviewing movies on his website, http://www.freewebs.com/radman_ns. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.