I, along with thousands of over people went last Tuesday at midnight to see the latest (and greatest) installment in the filmic adaptations of The Twilight Saga. As I was settling myself in, amid the safety of my Team Mike shirted friends I, as usual, wondered why we were there. As it turns out, I think I was there because like it does for many people Twilight exerts a mysterious power over me. I am unable to figure out whether it’s the sweeping beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the ever present possibility of seeing Robert Pattinson sparkling, the overwhelming eye-candy, or perhaps because anything with vampires has a certain magic for me. Either way, there I was.
I have taken the time to read the entirety of The Twilight Saga (despite finding it to be not a Saga at all, but then I suppose, The Twilight Melodrama has a mildly negative connotation.) Of all four books I find Eclipse to be the most dull. It’s one of those books where characters putter about a lot and talk about how they feel, kind of like in The Two Towers, or the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (not further comparisons between Rowling, Tolkien or Meyer will EVER be made by me.) I wasn’t really sure how they were going to make all that puttering into a watchable film.
Somehow they managed quite nicely. The quick and dirty of it is as follows, be wary if you haven’t seen/read it, and don’t want it spoiled.
The film begins with Bella and Edward reunited and snoogling in a field after the hysterical break-up of New Moon. At this point the true thrust of the story appears and he begins badgering her to marry him as she begins badgering him to make her a vampire. The pair continue to badger each other over this issue until Bella begins badgering Edward to have sex with her, at which point he explains the importance of female virtue to her as if she were a corrupted lady of the night. Naturally, his skillful manipulation of language and clever rhetorical tricks floor the poor, simple-minded Bella and she caves, agrees to marry him and the badgering pauses…briefly…until he begins badgering her to wear her ugly engagement ring and tell Jacob.
In the background of this fundamentally nonviable relationship between a wet flannel and a stalker, there are all sorts of nasty, hungry, uncontrolled new born vampires popping up all over Seattle. They spend most of their time tipping cars over (yah!), killing people (rock on!) and generally upsetting the delicate balance of vampiric secrecy (stick it to secrecy!) They are lead by Riley who, thankfully doesn’t last the film, because he has the jawline of an underwear model and the demeanor of a lemon. This narrative revolves around the apparently very bored vampire, Victoria who continues to attempt to kill Bella to punish Edward for killing her mate, James (who tried to kill Bella because he was pretty bored and thought it would be fun.) Yeah, you remember that whole “bad vampires” narrative in Twilight that wasn’t interesting and didn’t really matter so long as Edward kept the smolder going? Anyway, Victoria gets a pretty good idea that the Cullen’s are a bunch of future-seeing, mind-reading freaks and using Riley as a conduit to conduct her malevolent plot and “use the blind spots in Alice’s vision”. Riley thinks Victoria is in love with him, what a tool.
In the mean time, Charlie (Bella’s awesome moustachioed dad) decides he’s none to keen on this Edward chap and begins encouraging his little girl to spend more time with Jacob. Eventually, after a particularly chilling moment where Edward disables Bella’s truck to prevent her from leaving to see Jacob, they begin hanging out. Oh, but remember Jacob’s a big, smelly werewolf so Edward hates him, it probably doesn’t help that Jacob also has a stomach on which cheese could be grated, and rides a motorcycle, and has a tattoo…
But through Bella’s skillful diplomatic efforts the Cullen Clan and the Wolf Pack join hesitant forces to protect little, weak Bella from Victoria, who is perceived as a mega-threat by all. At some point in all of this it becomes absolutely 100% necessary for Bella and Edward to go and sit in the mountains in a badly constructed all-weather tent, without appropriate provisions or clothing during a snow storm, while everyone else gets ready to go all out on Riley and Victoria’s “army” of new born vampires. Lucky for Edward his bride avoids being a real life ice queen because, surprise, there’s this toasty, sexy werewolf to snuggle up to her. Edward and Jacob have a little heart to heart while Bella sleeps. It’s probably the highlight of the book, and also the movie. Edward laments his coldness, how he’s worried about Bella, how he has to protect her, how he knows Jacob can protect her, how he wishes she didn’t want to be a vampire etc. etc. while Jacob thinks about doing Bella, and freaks Edward out (because he’s a child of Victorian morality and the thought of sex abhors him!) Eventually, Edward confesses that under different circumstances he might quite fancy Jacob, I mean, might want to be friends. This adorable advance is pretty much shut down by Jacob.
I should also mention that Eclipse is the film in which Jacob and Bella kiss. The first time it’s in the bumbling, oversexed manner that most 17 year old boys go about kisses. Jacob assumes the words “I don’t feel like that about you” mean “take me in your strong arms and kiss me.” Bella punches him in the face and breaks her hand. Now, I have to say, this kiss is weird and awkward, and a only a little hot, but I liked it. I liked it because Bella gets pissed off, and punches him. Bella never gets pissed off at Edward and I can’t imagine her punching him in the face. This is the moment that demonstrates that Bella isn’t in awe of Jacob, she doesn’t adore him, worship him – he’s a real person, someone she cares for, maybe even loves, but won’t allow to treat her in a way she doesn’t want. Imagine if she’d punched Edward in the face at the hospital in Twilight when he told her “no one will believe you anyway…”. What a totally different Saga it would be.
The second kiss occurs because Jacob tells Bella no more kisses until she asks. When he finds out she’s marrying Edward, she asks for the kiss in an attempt to get him to stay and not behave like an irrational 17 year old werewolf. This kiss is epic. I don’t want to describe it, because it’s that awesome. It was better than the first Bella/Edward kiss (which I also loved).
Overall, it’s a good film – some awesome angry vampires being turned into…rock candy? lots of teenage angst, melodrama and moments of channeling conservative Mormon sexual ideals into the brains of teenage girls.
Really, what more could you want?
well, you can have that too, Jacob is shirtless for 70% of the film.