The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third outing in the supernatural saga of high romance and higher camp, finally shows its fangs with a dazzling display of imagery to go along with a hurried sense of danger.
It’s a good thing as well, for while the first two Twilight movies (somewhat) successfully laid down the framework for the popular series, they were wanting experiences for the non Twi-hard set who are still trying to get their head around what the big fuss is.
With Eclipse the pieces have finally come together to create a fulfilling, perhaps even bloated, Gen Y romance thriller. It won’t win any awards (besides the MTV variety), but it will provide an entertaining night at the movies.
Behind the lens this time is David Slade, who directed the underrated vampire bloodbath 30 Days of Night. His decision to bring back New Moon photographer Javier Aguirresarobe was a smart one, with the crisp imagery in Eclipse the highlight.
Slade successfully balances gloom and anxiousness in his telling of the complex life choices made by Bella Swan (the eternally dour Kristen Stewart).
Her desire to become a vampire deepens the already tense love triangle with chivalrous ice cold vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and primal warm blooded wolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), adding a twist to the century’s long supernatural battle between the two sworn enemies.
To complicate matters is an army of newborn bloodsuckers led by the chisel jawed Xavier Samuel, who under the command of their master Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, an improvement over Rachel Lefevre) is out to tear Bella apart.
Both vampire and werewolf join forces to keep Bella safe, and Slade does a good job in creating frantic action sequences which finally lends a pulse to this saga of the un-dead.
Humour, too, is present with its high camp value, especially in the ham fisted acting of its vampire characters. Billy Burke’s dotting father also gets a few laughs thanks to his oblivious grasp of his daughters’ love life.
Yet what Eclipse finally brings to light (and is essentially the essence of the Twilight phenomenon), is that it’s a story about relationships, not only confined to a love triangle which has spawned a civil war amongst young teen fans, but also features those between master and slave, father and daughter, families (the Cullens) and clans (the Wolfpack).
No doubt these relationships serve themselves better on the page than on the screen, yet Eclipse bucks the trend and to a degree lives up to the hype.
As such Eclipse is a satisfying culmination of the first two films, and would have been the perfect bookend if it were a trilogy. But alas two more films remain, and if trends continue they are worth looking forward to.