Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eclipse: Painful to Watch

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

I love going to movies. I especially love going to movies in the Valley of Hell during the summer months because it is so nice to sit in a dark, cool, theatre for a couple of hours - even for a movie that may somewhat less than Academy Award material. But after seeing Eclipse this morning, the current installment of the Twilight saga, I can honestly say that my time would have been better spent sitting out on the curb, in the Arizona heat, than suffering through this dog of a movie. Bring on the freakin' heat!

Where to begin?

The plot (if you can call it that) was damned near incomprehensible. It was the sad result of poor writing being over-layed with abominable direction. Bella (Kristen Stewart), the focal character, is a senior in high school who plans to give up life as a human after graduation and become a vampire like her boyfriend, Edward (Robert Pattinson). But she is also being pursued by a handsome American Indian, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who just happens to belong to a tribe of werewolves - mortal enemies of the vampire and his "family."

There is lots of room in this movie for some really great triangular tension with an exploration of strife between species - but director David Slade seems hellbent on missing anything that would even remotely explain the need to put this mishmash of crap on the screen.

The conflict in Eclipse was murky and confusing. Edward and Jacob both want Bella, of course, but it never becomes clear why she chooses the vampire over the werewolf. There is also a battle with the "newborns," recently bitten baby vampires, which is heavy on action and light on resolution. At the end of the epic battle, it remains unclear as to what happened.

There were two funny lines in Eclipse, and both could have been - and possibly were - written by junior high school students. Jacob, the Indian/werewolf, is clothing-challenged and only dons a shirt once in the movie - and then briefly. When Edward and Bella suddenly come upon the bare-chested Jacob, Edward asks her, rather nonchantly, "Doesn't he even own a shirt?" Yuk, yuk.

The second humor line comes when Edward and Bella are camped in the mountains hiding from the newborns. It is snowing and bitterly cold. Bella is wrapped in a sleeping bag literally freezing to death, and Edward can't help because he lacks body warmth. At that point Jacob enters their tent, shirtless of course, and crawls into the sleeping bag with Bella - telling Edward, "I'm hotter than you." Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

If movies were animals, Eclipse would be a big, old, three-legged, mangy dog! Get thee to the pound!

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