Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Last night I sat through two of the Twilight movies, New Moon and Eclipse. The DVDs were given to me by someone who was going to toss them out otherwise. I figured I’d give them a go. The first, New Moon (which was actually the second in the series), was fucking awful. You can read my review of it here. And when it was over, it was late, and I decided to pop on the other film, figuring if I didn’t get through it then I never would.

Well, Eclipse isn’t as bad. It’s still bad, mind you, just not as completely awful as New Moon.

The film opens with some guy walking through the city. It’s raining, so it must be Seattle. The guy is suddenly chased by unknown assailants. When they catch him, they cut his hand. Not off or anything. Just a cut. But this causes the guy to lie in the street, writhing and screaming. He’s a very sensitive boy.

Meanwhile, back in whatever town Bella (Kristen Stewart) lives in, she and Edward the vampire are kissing in a field. He says, “Marry me.” If you recall, the previous film ended with Edward the vampire proposing to Bella. Apparently she hadn’t yet responded in the time between the two films. But now she clearly isn’t into it. She says, “Marriage is just a piece of paper.” That’s true, and after several years you have to rip up the piece of paper and give the smaller piece to the man. But Edward says again, “Marry me.” Bella replies, “I can’t – I have to be back at four.”

Charlie (Billy Burke), Bella’s dad, would like Bella to spend less time with her vampire friend and more time with her werewolf friend, Jacob. Edward and the other vampires have returned to high school for some reason, in time for graduation. Alice wants to throw a graduation party. These vampires are quite old (Edward was 109 in the previous film), but apparently their intellectual development was halted in their teen years. Who the hell wants to go to a high school graduation ceremony? Well, Edward does. He has his robe on, but it’s unclear how he managed to graduate. Didn’t he leave town for most of the previous movie? Was he keeping up with his studies somehow?

Bella visits her mom, and her mom gives her a present. And the movie does that annoying thing that sitcoms like to do – wrapping the lid of the box separately from the box so that you can simply lift it off. I know why they do that in sitcoms – it’s so that resetting between takes is easier. But films shouldn’t do that. And really, have you ever in your life wrapped a box lid separately from the box? Of course not. It’s fucking stupid.

Meanwhile everyone is still hunting Victoria. I’m still not sure why. Bella goes on a motorcycle ride with Jacob, so apparently she’s still into that.

Someone sneaks into Bella’s house, and the werewolves and vampires argue over who gets the privilege of protecting Bella. Bella suddenly yells, “From now on, I’m Switzerland, okay?” They agree, but she then fails to make them watches or to let them open bank accounts. She still has more to say, but we get it as voice over: “Edward hated the idea, but it wasn’t about rivalry anymore. It was about my safety, and Charlie’s.” Yes, we already know that. We’ve been watching the movie. Why is she telling us this? In the previous film there was a lot of voice over, as Bella liked writing emails to Alice and reading them to us. There are no emails this time, but still there is voice over. Why? Bella continues: “In the days that followed I got them to at least try to work together.” And we see that too, making every last syllable of voice over completely pointless. Perhaps it’s simply that this film’s intended audience is made up of imbeciles who need to be told everything twice.

Bella gets invited to a werewolf tribal meeting, which gives the film a chance to tell us the whole history of the fight between werewolves and vampires. So we see lots of it, and mostly it’s shouting and crying. The leader of the werewolves tells everyone: “Something terrible is coming. And we must all be ready. All of us.” Yes, I understood the first time you said “all.” This movie loves unnecessary flashbacks. Twice we get the back stories of minor vampire characters. The first of these vampires laments her vampire life, and her point is that Bella is making a mistake by wishing to turn. She made that point in the previous film too.

Well, a vampire named Riley Biers is creating an amateur vampire army in Seattle at the behest of Victoria, or perhaps at the behest of the vampire council. It's not really clear. Alice has a vision that this vampire army is coming after Bella. So Jacob volunteers himself and the rest of the werewolves to join in the fight. He says amazing lines like, “Name the time and place.” So we then have silly training scenes, set to pop music, where the vampires and werewolves are getting ready by running into each other. And they (and we) learn brilliant strategies like, “Never turn your back on your enemy.”

Alice arranges an alibi for Bella with Bella’s dad, so that she can attend the battle. Care to hazard a guess as to what the alibi is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the same alibi all teenage girls use in every single film in which a teenage girl needs an alibi to get out of the house. Yup, Alice says Bella will be having a sleepover with her at her house. Wow, these old vampires are seriously stunted in their development.

Meanwhile, Bella wants to get laid, but Edward is an old-fashioned vampire, and doesn’t want to do it until they’re married. He proposes again, and this time presents her with jewelry, so Bella says yes.

This movie is really a teenage girl’s fantasy. At one point Bella has two men in a tent, and they’re arguing over her, each feeling that he could give her a better life. She has agreed to marry one, but then asks the other to kiss her. Oh, it’s tough being a teenager, especially when vampires are hunting you for no particular reason. After kissing Jacob, she tells Edward the vampire she doesn’t know what happened. He says, “You love him.” She says, “I love you more.” Oh boy.

And then we learn why Victoria was arranging this entire vampire army thing. It’s because Edward the vampire had killed her boyfriend a while back, and so she wants to kill Bella to make Edward suffer the same way she did. That was the whole point of this vampire army. It’s totally fucking stupid, but there is a good bit with a child vampire. The way the vampire council people deal with the child vampire is a surprisingly good moment.

Bella chooses the date for her wedding. She’s going to have it a month before her nineteenth birthday, because she doesn’t want to be another year older than Edward. That is, another year older than Edward was when he became a vampire. Why would this matter? Who knows? Bella is clearly a fucking mess. She explains her choice to become a vampire: “I have never felt normal, because I’m not normal.” And you know that totally appeals to all those awkward teenage girls who feel they don’t fit in. Solution: become a vampire. The end.

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