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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Twilight Saga: Eclipse

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With a devoted fan base of millions of teens from all over the world, the third installment of the Twilight Saga film franchise adapted from Stephanie Meyer's immensely popular series of novels is sure to be one of the biggest box office blockbusters of the summer, if not the entire year,  no matter what reviewers have to say. Personally, after seeing all three films from the franchise, I still don't get what all the fuss is about.

Eclipse follows where the last episode left off.  Brooding vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) has asked his mortal teenage love Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) to marry him.  The problem is, after graduation, she first wants to become a vampire to appease the powerful Volturi and he doesn't want her to suffer the same lingering fate as his. Nearby, hoping to win Bella's heart is the third member of the love triangle,  Native American hunk, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who can shapeshift into a humongous wolf at a moment's notice. Jacob insists Bella has strong feeling for him too, refuses to take no for an answer, and continues to compete for her affection.

Foes Edward and Jacob must  put their bad feelings for each other aside and are forced to form an alliance along with Jacob's tribe of shapeshifters and the Cullen clan to protect Bella after unexplained killings and disappearances make the news from nearby Seattle. It appears an army of  super strong newborn Vampires are responsible for the heinous crimes and are heading to Bella's home town of Forks, Washington, with her as their target.   We know that because Alice, (Ashley Greene) a member of the Cullen clan, had a vision and can see them coming.

Leading and training the army is their creator, the treacherous, vengeful driven, female vampire, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, replacing Rachell Lafevre) who is out to get even with Edward for killing her one “true” mate, James.

For the most part, Eclipse moves at a snail's pace and takes forever to get up to speed. There is too much talk, talk, talk and not enough action. Only one action scene stands out and it is at the climax when the wolves and vampires engage in a deadly fight as Bella stands on the sidelines.

The acting continues to be weak, save for Pattinson who, at times, actually shows some depth under the direction of David Slade (Hard Candy) this go around. Lautner appears shirtless most of the time, for no other reason than to show off his buff body at the delight of the young girls in the audience. As for Stewart, she barely shows any emotion or range other than the eye stare she seems to have perfected. I appreciate underplaying, but she takes it to an unacceptable level.

On a positive note, there are a few things I actually like about Eclipse including some interesting and well orchestrated flashbacks into the history of both Jasper (Jackson Rothbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) of the Cullen clan that explains what led them to change into vampires.  And, I have to say the CGI work is more believable in this third installment, especially in the seamless scene where Bella is standing next to and petting Jacob's fur during his transformation as a wolf.

Regardless of my take on Eclipse, the filmmakers know their target audience. From the reaction of those at my screening, it fits the bill as bringing to life every young girl's fantasy of having  two dreamy boys not only competing for her love but willing to fight and protect. her at all costs.

As long as that comes across, nothing else matters. Proof is in the long lines of happy fans waiting to get into the theatre. That just about sums it up.

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