The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is better than the last film in the vampire/werewolf/teenager franchise. That said, The Lost Boys could kick these guys' asses seven ways to Sunday. I mention this because a colleague of mine referenced the movie after the Eclipse screening and all I could think about on the drive home was how much I enjoyed The Lost Boys and how much I barely enjoyed this.
Yeah, yeah, I know it wasn't made for me - the series is wildly popular with young people, mostly female - but here's what I figure: Not one teenage girl on Earth is going to decide whether or not to see the movie by checking this review. Some might read it after noticing I gave the film only 2.5 stars, a few might fire off emails, but for the most part, I'm writing only for my regular readers here, so I can relax, kick my shoes off, and just shoot the breeze for a while. I might even include my recipe for a healthier version of the delicious Indian dish Nav Ratan Korma. I've always wanted to include a recipe in a piece about a ho-hum film.
Judging from the squeals and screams of delight from the girls at the screening Monday night, by the way, this thing is going to be a massive hit. Damn, you should have heard them when young Taylor Lautner popped up without a shirt for the first time. I haven't heard that kind of sound since my son discovered lesbian porn.
For those of you who have paid even less attention to the books and movie adaptations of the franchise than I have, here's what I've sorted out. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is a mopey young woman deeply in love with sullen vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). She wants to be with him so bad that she's planning on having him make her a vampire right after graduation. Grrr, kids these days...
Bella wants to have romance-novel sex with Edward, but he's an old-old-old-fashioned guy who insists they wait until they're married. Complicating matters is werewolf Jacob Black (Lautner), who worked-out a whole lot between the first and second movies and now spends most of his time with his shirt off. Jacob really has the hots for Bella and she - wait, I don't want to include any spoilers here. On second thought, sure I do: Bella loves him too, just not as much as Edward. Um, RETROACTIVE SPOILER ALERT.
Gosh, this is fun to write.
Anyhoo, in addition to this gripping love triangle, there is more trouble on the horizon. A band of freshly-turned vampire twerps is killing people like crazy and they're heading for town, apparently because Bella's scent is irresistible. So the local vampires and werewolves - mortal enemies usually - elect to team up to save the town, and more importantly, Bella. I'm not sure why everybody goes so crazy over her - all she does is hang around and be a buzz-kill. She must really smell incredible.
There's yet another group of vampires, who show up late in this installment. They wear a mix of Victorian and Goth clothing and most of them have particularly silly haircuts. But they've got considerable clout at Vampire Central or something, so they matter.
There's more action in this film than the last one, and Edward is more active (in the last one he was either absent or staggeringly dull). Bella is as angsty as usual. Jacob is the most interesting. Besides his nifty torso, he has a certain caveman slant around his brow that makes him look feral - well, as feral as a dreamboat can look. He also has a scene where he forces a kiss on Bella, creating a bit of actual dramatic tension, just like in a real movie!
Everything builds to a big fight scene between the touring vampires and the townie vampire/werewolf alliance that is fun to watch. There's a lot of scenery too. Oh hell, I've gone past my word count limit for the print edition of the paper. No Nav Ratan Korma recipe for you this week, I'm afraid. Sorry.
Summing up the review portion of the essay, the first Twilight Saga movie was wretched, the second one was barely watchable and this one is ... (a drumroll, please) ... mostly watchable. Wouldn't it be cool if the studio used that quote in their ads when Eclipse comes out on DVD?