By William Johnson
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner return for the third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight series, Eclipse.
After a string of killings in nearby Seattle threatens to implicate the Cullen family, the werewolves and vampires form an uneasy truce to combat a new threat. In the midst of the external conflict, the love triangle with Bella, Edward, and Jacob continues to serve as a distraction. Also, Bella must deal with her high school graduation and what she will decide to do with her life afterwards.
Despite the animosity directed at it from disgruntled fans of the books or those in complete opposition of anything mainstream, this film delivers exactly what it’s audience wants. Director David Slade ( 30 Days of Night) designed a two hour fantasy soap opera that works. By injecting actions sequences throughout the film, Slade is able to both grab and hold on to the attention of movie goers. Intense chases and acrobatic lunges fill this epic with enough energy to keep those who aren’t as concerned with the drama content.
Kristen Stewart gets plenty of practice with her “I’m unsure of what to say” look in scenes with both Pattinson and Lautner, although this can run on a bit too long in some parts. Sometimes the film lagged on in scenes that seemed too long for the point they were trying to make. Also, the muscial score by Howard (Lord of the Rings) Shore did seem unnecessarily cheesy at times.
None of this hurt the movie too bad as it did contain sporadic bits of comic relief sprinkled about in the form of Bella’s father, Charlie. Played by Billy Burke (24), Charlie serves as the Chief of Police for the town of Forks, and as the un approving dad. His blatant dislike of Edward, favoritism towards Jacob, and attempts to make awkward conversation with Bella add some realism to this fantasy story. One liners from Lautner, Burke, other cast members had audience members laughing and cheering in their seats.
As far as the story goes, Eclipse is more of a stand alone tale that doesn’t particularly move the saga any further than New Moon did, aside from the werewolf-vampire alliance. All of the characters stay the same, including Taylor Lautner’s character, Jacob, who refuses to wear a shirt for the majority of the movie.
As the best movie in the series so far, Eclipse is a solid movie that better blends action, romance, and a hint of comedy than it’s predecessors. While there isn’t anything particularly new added to series, this incarnation improves upon a working formula.