The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
(12A) 124 min
A mere eight months after the previous installment hit cinemas, Eclipse, the third episode in the teenage Twilight franchise, continues the series’ tradition of breathless, toothless romance.
After a spate of killings in Seattle, Bella (Kristen Stewart) gets word that vengeful vampire queen Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is raising an army of the undead. Previously rivals for Bella’s affections, vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) put aside their differences and vow to protect her in the oncoming rumble between vampires and werewolves.
The Twilight Saga has never rung many bells as groundbreaking cinema, but its growing momentum as a cultural phenomenon lies in Kristin Stewart’s empathetic performance as Bella, and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg’s tightly-wound emotional trajectory of the central love-triangle. It’s easy to mock the po-faced dialogue the characters spout about eternal love and fighting forever, but director David Spade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) invests the proceedings with the same trashy gravitas that infused previous episode New Moon.
Will Bella ever decide between Edward and Jacob? Will humans, werewolves and vampires ever get along? Will Jacob ever find a shirt he can wear without whipping it off? These questions may seem profoundly unimportant, but the fun of the Twilight movies is seeing them treated like they were of life-shattering importance. As always, the ending is little more than a trailer for the next episode, two-parter Breaking Dawn, but then, the alchemy of Stephanie Meyer’s books is how she makes such minor manoeuverings seem like high drama.