Also complicating matters is a series of murders and disappearances in nearby Seattle. Edward's clan recognizes the signs of someone building a vampire army, and it's no stretch to figure out that the vampire behind it all is Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), who seeks revenge against Edward for the death of her boyfriend in Twilight. Victoria recruits a local teen named Riley (Xavier Samuel) to gather and train the new vamps for an attack on the Cullens. To protect Bella, Edward and Jacob have to put aside their differences and gather both clans in a fight to the death with the invading army.
The End Result
David Slade's presence as director doesn't make much of a mark on the vampire-themed Harlequin romance formula. Despite his track record for edgy fare (not only 30 Days of Night, but also the revenge thriller Hard Candy), every potential moment for gore or traditional horror scares is consciously dulled. The opening scene of a victim being stalked by an unseen vampire echoes moments from 30 Days of Night, but it lacks any of that film's vicious energy and plays out like a pedestrian opening to an episode of CSI. The climactic battle, meanwhile, has all the edge of a Narnia film. (To avoid any blood, the vampires this time around appear to be made of porcelain.)
So maybe edge isn't what Eclipse is about. Its crux is, after all, the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle. For fans of the series, this is a great thing. Since Jacob was largely absent from Twilight and Edward vanished in New Moon, this is the eagerly anticipated culmination of a long-gestating tension. For those just trying to get into the series, though, the trio is hardly engaging, cycling repeatedly through exaggerated moments of love, anger and heartache. The three main actors just go through the motions, Stewart and Pattinson in particular seeming to be embarrassed that they're still playing in this big-screen soap opera.
The most interesting characters in Eclipse, in fact, are the ancillary roles. In particular, the brief flashbacks into the previous lives of Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and the history of the vampire-werewolf rivalry are immeasurably more intriguing than the adolescent love triangle. If only this were a prequel instead of a sequel.
- Acting: C (The three leads strain to deliver believable emotions. Bryce Dallas Howard is wasted in such a small role.)
- Direction: C+ (Bland, as if Slade wore his PG-13 shackles too tightly.)
- Script: C+ (Doesn't spend enough time on the more interesting supporting characters.)
- Gore/Effects: C (No gore whatsoever, with an overdose of so-so CGI effects.)
- Overall: C+ (Delivers what the diehard fans want, but for the rest, it's a tame, sentimental soap opera.)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is directed by David Slade and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality. Release date: June 30, 2010.