After the ethical mud puddle of New Moon, I was interested to see where Eclipse was going to take me. I was surprised (truthfully, completely) to find that Eclipse is really kind of boring. It doesn’t have the horrible message of its predecessor or the campy juvenility of the first film. It’s more or less a boring love-triangle narrative that never lets its audience, even for one moment, doubt the protagonists love of the paler man.
Eclipse follows the story of Bella and her increasingly obnoxious struggle of having every attractive man around her fall totally, selflessly in love with her for no reason. I’m not saying that I find no reason to like Bella. I’m saying that nobody, at any point in any of the movies, tells Bella why they love her so much. They just do. And she gives them no reason to, either. She’s rude, selfish, manipulative, moody, and bad at everything.
Regardless of whether Bella is worthy of the admiration that she gets, she is constantly caught between two monsters who want nothing more than ownership of her. The ever-shirtless Jacob doesn’t want Edward to turn Bella into a Vampire, and the ever-brooding Edward doesn’t want Bella to be a part of a wolf pack.
Oh, and that wandering plot thread of the first two movies, Victoria, now played by a very game Bryce Dallas Howard, finally comes back to town to conveniently finish her part in the movies at the most dramatic moment possible.
Eclipse is a perfectly wound clock of plotting and marketing. Jacob just spews fan-service all day long, and Edward broods himself into a hernia. Bella three-stooges herself into all sorts of slap-dash trouble because she’s a woman who is too emotional to make any sort of important decision without men informing her of what to do.
The Team Edward / Team Jacob thing, at the time of this film’s release, was so omnipresent that I can hear thirteen year old girls screaming when I watch it, and my neighbors are octogenarians who prefer their vampires with a dash of Lugosi. And I know. Because I asked.
So instead of giving us a structure or a plot or even relatable, interesting characters, Summit Entertainment has, by the third film, left us with two versions of the perfect, doting, selfless, obsessive, violent, horny man that young girls can fight over during the movie. And as much fun as it is for me to see a 16-year-old kid with big muscles get exploited for the sexual desires of girls even younger than him, I do find it all a bit tedious.
For the first time in these movies, I truly feel like I don’t understand something. In the earlier movies I could see how the target demographic could get into it. But with this movie, I am honestly at a loss. As an Andrei Tarkovsky fan who spends most of his days writing defensively about underrated old movies, perhaps it’s completely my fault that this movie doesn’t interest me. I can take full responsibility for that.
But I also love stupid movies. I mean, really stupid movies. And this one does nothing for me. The plot is all convenient spectacle and fan-service, and when you’re not a fan, this thing can be downright sluggish.
However, like always, the photography and the soundtrack are great. And it makes my search for the demographic of this movie even harder.
I wanted to like this one. The director, David Slade (Hard Candy) is somebody that I admire, and I was hoping he’d do something similarly interesting here, but what I got was the most boring and frustrating film of the series thus far.
I wonder if Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is as hilarious and ridiculous as they say?
We’ll find out tomorrow.