Twilight: Eclipse Is Better Than the Rest (Which is Not Saying Much)

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Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Billing and Coding Online where you can find more information about a career in medical billing and coding.

The latest big screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s romance saga picks up pretty much where New Moon left off.  The tween soap opera works the love triangle between Bella (Kristin Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to a fever pitch while an army of young vampires grows in Seattle.  Throw in a compact between werewolves and vampires, a lurking gaggle of Volturi, a flouncing, bouncing redhead, and a family of vampires that has more or less embraced Bella, and you’ve got a large cast, a lot of action, and ultimately, a distraction from a story line that hasn’t changed much since the last movie and the sub-par acting skills of the feminine lead.

By now everyone knows the story.  Girl meets vampire.  Girl loses vampire.  Girl regains vampire only to wonder if maybe she shouldn’t have picked werewolf (and his super abs) instead.  Sigh…teenage romance is never easy.  As the movie opens, Bella and Edward continue their standoff: he wants marriage, she wants immortality.  They eventually come to an agreement that both will occur only after her graduation, which is swiftly approaching.  In the meantime, she resurrects her friendship with Jacob only to discover that he is deeply in love with her and plans to steal her heart away from Edward.

Despite her best efforts to assure him that her feelings for him do not go beyond friendship, he is determined to continue fighting for her until she is undead.  While the scenes between Bella and Jacob sizzle, the romance between her and Edward remains awkward and, well, cold.  His old fashioned notions of courtship fend off her best efforts to part him from his shirt (although after his torso reveal in the last movie, we should probably be thankful for that), but she accepts his ring anyway (although she refuses to wear it so as not to distract Jacob while he is protecting her).

Meanwhile, Victoria has returned to try her hand at inciting a battle between the Cullens and the Quileute, but her plan backfires when they unite to face the coming threat: an army of newborn vampires gathered in Seattle and sent to Forks to hunt and kill Bella.  The Volturi, led by Jane (an ice-cold Dakota Fanning) have been keeping an eye on the ravenous mob, but have not deigned to interfere.  Back-stories on Jasper and Rosalie provide an interesting distraction (and a couple of plot points) in an otherwise run-of-the-mill narrative.

While the acting has improved somewhat since the last film (scenes between Edward and Jacob have more juice than any that involve Bella and one of the boys), there is still a reliance on high-school angst and Bella has a hard time moving out of the awkward and into self-assuredness (despite her best efforts to take control of her life).  The new Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is just so-so, clearly relying on her beauty to distract from her one-note acting.  But Jane’s appearance, although brief, reminds us why Dakota Fanning gets beefier roles (and makes us wonder what the heck an actress of her caliber is doing in these films).  The cinematography is, as always, gorgeous, taking full advantage of the greenery and mountain vistas of the Pacific Northwest.  And the CG is surprisingly good (the werewolves look great and the fight scenes sport some neat acrobatics).

On the whole, this movie proved slightly better than the last as the young cast continues to settle into their roles.  There seems to be an easier chemistry that was missing in previous films, although Stewart continues to baffle as the vapid heroine.  There is little to endear her to the audience beyond the fact that she has somehow bewitched not one, but two supernatural beings.  However, with the franchise nearing completion and the money continuing to roll in from diehard fans, it seems a moot point.