So, in an evening of girlie bonding my early twenties cousin and I went to see the third installment of the immensely popular Twilight series, ECLIPSE. Not that either of us could be called fan-girls. I’ve read the first book and seen the first two films: my cousin had only seen the first film. We proclaim no membership of either Team Jacob or Team Edward. But, along we went, open-minded, and if nothing else, happy to be in the lovely big Extreme screens in the Vue Westfield. Two hours later we emerged from a world of bad hair-dye, bad CGI effects and hammy dialogue. For this, my friends, is not a movie of high quality trying to appeal to the neutral movie-goer. Rather, ECLIPSE takes its audience’s buy-in for granted and delivers a workman-like condensed version of the novel, with the cheapest visual effects and wigs it can find. Seriously – the wolves bounce through the forests with little heft, much like Ang Lee’s HULK – and the crimes against hair colour perpetrated by Emmett Cullen and Rosalie Hale disgrace a big-budget film.
As the movie opens, we see our heroine Bella Swan torn between the two boys who love. The first is Edward Cullen – ancient vampire in the body of teen heart-throb – who won’t deflower her until they’re married, and for whom she would have to become a vampire. The second candidate is Jacob Black – ridiculously buff teen werewolf – who is happy to keep Bella warm (sadly, this saga being ludicrously chaste, we can read no double-entendre here) and offer her a romantic life that doesn’t involve dying. So follow two hours of hackneyed dialogue as each boy declares his love for Bella, and Bella looks sulky in response. At the end of which, she declares that the decision was never really about who she loved more but about who she wanted to be. This struck me as a rather unconvincing last minute attempt to give movie that is basically about a chick being dependent on two guys for her physical safety (evil mean red-headed vampire wants to kill her with her “new-born” vampire army) some kind of feminist cred. It would’ve bought into it more if during the course of the film, Bella had talked about this journey to self-realisation with her dad or her friends, or the two boys in her life. Overall then, I remain unconvinced by the whole Twilight phenomenon. The heroine is sulky: the vampires are unsexy: the werewolves on steroids: the CGI sucks: and basically very very little happens indeed. For the life of me I can’t figure out why David Slade, director of edgy indie hit HARD CANDY, would want to helm such a mainstream, banal movie, other than, of course, for the paycheque.
Additional tags: Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Elizabeth Reaser
TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE is on global release.