"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Bottom Line: The teen vampire series finally hits its stride with an entertaining mix of romance and action fantasy.
">It took three films, but "The Twilight Saga" finally nails just the right tone in "Eclipse," a film that neatly balances the teenage operatic passions from Stephenie Meyer's novels with the movies' supernatural trappings.
Where the first film leaned heavily on camp and the second faltered through caution and slickness, "Eclipse" moves confidently into the heart of the matter -- a love triangle that causes a young woman to realize choices lead to consequences that cannot be reversed.
With the momentum of a movie series that sees installments arriving like clockwork every year, "Eclipse" looks primed to be the most successful film yet in Summit Entertainment's franchise. The action is pretty much relegated to the climax, but it's nifty enough that young men may get into the series too even if "Eclipse" isn't their first choice on a Friday night. (Read about the fan frenzy surrounding the premiere here
, and check out photos of the Thursday night event at L.A. Live here.
The film starts a little slowly with its classic reintroduction of its main characters, heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), more determined than ever to go vampire for her undead boyfriend; the gloomy dreamboat Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), an ancient being who still hasn't graduated high school; and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a perennially bare-chested Native American who shape-shifts into a wolf at a moment's notice.
Even here the film doesn't mind kidding itself. Edward takes one look at Jacob and complains to Bella, "Doesn't he own a shirt?" The script by Melissa Rosenberg offers a few more opportunities like this that wink at its own silliness.
Things pick up rapidly once intros are done, with the ramifications of the girl/vampire/werewolf triangle becoming increasingly intense for all parties while an outside threat looms over them all.
A crime wave has hit Seattle, a few leagues from the bucolic Washington town that shelters so many supernatural creatures apparently without any townspeople catching on. A series of vicious killings and disappearances tip off the Cullen clan that a vampire is creating an army of newborns -- newly turned vampires whose ravenous thirst makes them stronger and more deadly than "old" vampires.
This army recruiter is red-headed Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, the epitome of sensual, feline cunning), who, in seeking revenge against the Cullens and Edward in particular, means to destroy Bella. Which causes Edward and Jacob to contemplate the unthinkable, a temporary alliance to protect the girl they both love.
It's like the uneasy partnership between lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday against the Clanton clan at the O.K. Corral in "My Darling Clementine." Well, why not a Western? "The Twilight Saga" already mixes together high school melodrama, outsider fiction and teen romance into a mishmash of sci-fi and horror genres. (Check out video of the "Eclipse" stars talking to THR on the red carpet of the film's premiere here
.) Read more here