The “Twilight” phenomenon continued on June 30 with the release of “Eclipse,” the saga’s newest installment, prompting many to consider the question “Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?”
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) once again faces supernatural drama when an evil vampire army, created by the wicked redhead Victoria (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), plans to kill Bella, her broody vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the rest of the Cullen clan.
Filled with fury, Victoria turns normal pedestrians into bloodsucking new recruits for a new-born vampire army. She hopes to employ them to avenge the death of her lover James, killed by Edward in the first Twilight movie.
Aware of the vampire army charging toward Forks, Wash., the Cullen family – over the objections of Edward – enlists the help of the local werewolves, led by Jacob Black (Taylor Launter). To Edward’s dismay, the erstwhile rivals join to fight the new enemy.
Drama reigns both on and off the battlefield. Love triangles, sacrifice and revenge are common themes throughout the movie, in particular the triangle of Bella, her dreamy vampire boyfriend Edward and her hot werewolf best friend Jacob. Throughout the film, Bella is tugged back and forth between accepting Edward’s marriage proposal and admitting her feelings for her somehow-always-shirtless best friend. Poor Bella has a hard time deciding between frequently brooding Edward and Jacob of the six-pack abs.
Director David Slade takes on the challenge of intertwining violence, vendettas and vampires in the film and falls unfortunately short. Although the fighting scenes are impressive, the film is filled with repetitive and unnecessary scenes. The competent soundtrack does not relieve viewers of the burden of watching a slow and predictable plot.
Besides the action scenes, the best moments come from “Twilight” newcomers Howard and Samuel. Ms. Howard, replacing Rachelle Lafevre as Victoria, gives a memorable performance despite little screen time. She shows a new and vulnerable side to her character, while Mr. Samuel has a stand-out performance in an otherwise awkward cast of actors. Anna Kendrick, who plays Bella’s human friend Jessica, gives a refreshing performance by bringing normalcy to the film, despite her unfortunately small role.
Though the film is filled with predictable and awkward moments, “Eclipse” is definitely the best installment in the Twilight saga so far. Viewers will enjoy the swamp scene in which the newborns rise out of the water to attack Bella and the Cullen family and the fight scene among Riley (Victoria’s second-in-command, played by Xavier Samuel), Victoria and Edward. Flashbacks of how Edwards’ siblings Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) were turned into vampires are also satisfying. Expect a brief chuckle when Jacob (referring to body temperature, naturally), says to Edward, “I’m hotter than you.”
When it comes to choosing between vampire Edward or werewolf Jacob, this reviewer is Team Jacob – the gorgeous underdog (so to speak) – all the way.
Runs 2 hours, 4 minutes PG-13 (intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality)