So, how did we get here?
Let’s track back a few months to the Big Gold Statue Watching Party. TerrorScribes like me are generally not allowed anywhere near polite company so I was relegated to working sound in the projection booth. All in all, it wasn’t a bad gig and I was able to jack into someone’s WiFi and chat with people about the broadcast. It was all pretty mellow until they got to the part of the show where they did a tribute to horror movies.
Then, shit got real.
Instead of having genre legend, Roger Corman – who happened to be sitting in the front row – introduce the segment, “Twilight” stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner shamble out to and present the tribute that included clips from “Twilight”. Now, even the most addled horror fan – or movie fan for that matter – will tell you that the Twilight series is NOT horror. Still, the studio tries to marry it to the genre despite the fact that it bares almost no resemblance to its genre pseudo-brethren. And that’s how we got here or at least me.
Now, for the past two weeks I’ve been kicking the first two movies in the series and this week marks the release of “Eclipse”, the latest installment in the Twilight series. It’s almost redundant to say that it fails as a horror movie. The only people who will find this scary are children younger than eight or pedophilic middle-aged women who hate seeing their favorite piece of eye candy get hurt. The most graphic wound you get to see is a very seriously pricked finger, though Bella does cut her arm in a way that is discreetly covered but still bleeds profusely. Way to save that PG-13!
As for sex – you wish.
Though, once you get away from judging it as a horror movie, “Eclipse” is a slightly better film than its two predecessors, but that’s not saying a whole lot. In the very least, it is inoffensive. Director David Slade (“30 Days of Night”), I think, has a more stylized touch than Catherine Hardwicke or Chris Weitz but somehow it feels a bit wasted on a film that is essentially like a comic book filled with talking heads. And since the dialogue is a mostly rehash of things we’ve heard from the first two movies, tedium sets in quickly.
“Eclipse”, so you don’t get it confused with its siblings is the movie where Bella teases Edward mercilessly, can’t decided between him and Jacob, is sullen and bratty and then, is placed in mortal danger by other vampires. I hope that cleared things up.
One positive thing though – I thought there were flashes where Bella actually seemed like a human being and not some brooding bat-shit crazy automaton: props to Kristen Stewart for that. In fact, there was a noticeable addition of humanity to the characters which, after suffering through the plaster cast façade performances in “Twilight” and “New Moon”, I found it refreshing. I also enjoyed the look into the past of some of the other characters and also getting a glimpse of the werewolf clan’s history. I found the strength of these two elements easily raised “Eclipse” above it the previous movies, but dammit, there just wasn’t enough of it. Just when we got interesting little character tidbits, we had to go back to Bella and Edward or Bella and Jacob or Bella and Alice or Bella and someone just to remind us that this movie is centered around a monumentally flawed character. Or rather one that’s not flawed enough seeing how not a one of the other characters stands up to her and says, “No.” From mere mortal dad to supernatural creatures who are at least a century old, eighteen year old Bella apparently knows what’s best and can do no wrong and so everyone else is just left to suck up to her. Additionally, of all the characters in the series, she is the only one who experiences no positive growth. Bella’s journey as a human is stuck in neutral while the rest of the characters mature around her.
“Eclipse” plays out yet another tired refrain of “Twilight” nonsensical tune. It is a tale of sound and fury, signifying stupid. I guess I should find solace in the fact that there are only two of these left and that maybe by then, the studio execs will stop trying to stuff this into my favorite genre.