I feel a certain weight of responsibility in reviewing the much maligned Eclipse, the third offering from the Twilight series that has unleashed on us the term, Twi-hards. But it is not the Twi-hards or their Twi-moms I fear, or the critics who panned the film despite adding “it’s a little bit better than the previous one”, or the next slew of critics who came in to slam the critics for panning the film and don’t even get me started on the feminists. It’s this whole lot of them who can’t seem to accept that someone could dislike the film and not be a hater, pretentious git or defender of the abstinence programme (the logic goes that I hate the film because Bella won’t put out).
Other film franchises have met similar fates — more recently the maelstrom that fell upon Sex and the City 2 almost had one feeling sorry for the ladies — but Twilight seems to elicit a whole other category of spite, the most notable of which has come from feminists. Their disdain is for Bella (Kristen Stewart), an insecure teenager who allows two men to decide what’s best for her as they fight it out amongst themselves. The rebuttal from the creator of the series, Stephanie Meyer — “in my opinion, the foundation of feminism is being able to choose” — added fuel to the fire because, let’s face it, her definition is fairly meaningless. And what choice does Bella have to make? Between two men who don’t treat her as an equal, who fight over her future while she sleeps soundly in a tent? Or, as we saw in New Moon when Edward leaves Bella, so distraught is she that she chooses extreme sport-like scenarios because she can’t live without him. Some choice.
Eclipse is not as fun to watch as Twilight. It is slightly more painful than the New Moon because now, in Eclipse, we want something to happen between Bella and Edward (Robert Pattinson) or Bella and Jacob (Taylor Latner) — and the something does not refer to the unlocking of the chastity belt. Instead we seem to be stuck in the same place we left off in New Moon: Bella hasn’t decided which non-human path she will embark on, with the pasty one (ancient, hot looking vampire) or the shirtless one (young, hot werewolf). This angst is stretched over two hours, in between which, sub-plots of a new serial vampire killer in town, out to get Bella, Edward, Jacob, other uninteresting characters, are thrown in for some measure. Then there is the tension amongst Edward and Jacob, vying for Bella’s affection — why there is any doubt that her heart lies with Edward is baffling — that adds to the seemingly unending movie.
The only constants in the film are the stunning scenery of northwest America, decapitations and dismemberments, wondering why Dakota Fanning signed on and “the earnest solemnity” according to one Guardian critic. The bad news is that there are two films left before Bella will give herself to her true love. It’s enough to make you want to slay something.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2010.
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