Journalism Lesson 101 — film reviews are not designed to persuade.
They are the opinion of a single person about a given movie. In an ideal world, they create thought that leads to dialogue and a deeper appreciation of the reader’s view of a particular movie and the art of filmmaking.
Glassy-eyed The Twilight Saga fans don’t really care about what a critic thinks. Any attempt at serious critique of the series quality is met with two words: “You moron.”
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Further comments on a critic’s credibility are usually unprintable.
This review will be scrutinized by Twilighters, Twi-hards, Twi-heads or whatever they call themselves and ignored. Some will attack. Others will let it go. So this review is more for the non-fan than the fan. And as you have already likely noted, I am not a fan.
The premise is silly. Edward Cullen — a vampire who is approximately 109 years old — is in love with Bella, a 17-year old living with her dad in Forks, Wash. What does a 109-year old man possibly have in common with someone 17?
No need to go there.
Edward has been in high school since 1918. That’s even more unbelievable. Most of us can’t stand the four years required to graduate. No one would stay in high school for 92 years.
There is good news for non-fans forced to accompany someone to the series’ third film. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is better than the first two.
Better — of course — is a relative term. It’s still an angst-filled, teen-focused, eternal triangle love story that interchanges vampires and werewolves with mere mortals as the rivals for the hand of the lovely young maiden.
Picking up where New Moon left off, Bella and vampire Edward Cullen are reunited, but werewolf Jacob Black won’t give up on his passionate pursuit of her love and affection. At one point, Jacob notes that Robert Pattinson’s Edward isn’t even alive.
It’s easy to mistake the line for a commentary on Pattinson’s lifeless acting. If it is, actor Taylor Lautner — who plays Jacob — has little room to criticize.
But acting isn’t the Twilight Saga attraction. It’s the story.
The villainous Victoria continues to seek revenge for the death of her lover at the hands of Edward. She builds a vampire army to attack the Cullen family and kill Bella. Vampires and werewolves have a sometimes violent rivalry and an uneasy truce. They must temporarily work together to fend off the attack.
This is where Eclipse eclipses its two predecessors. Something actually happens that isn’t sulking, pouting or moping over longed for love or lost love. There is a battle to the death. It’s the 90 minutes it takes to get to that action that's painful. Bella’s yes-I-love-you, but-I-love-him, too act continues. She’s loyal to Edward but doesn’t want to lose Jacob.
The two guys do the machismo thing and a bit of testosterone flies. As she approaches high school graduation, Bella is considering two big steps: losing her virginity and becoming a vampire. It’s way too much information and given way too slowly.
Once the series’ third director David Spade — of the dreadful and “real” vampire movie 30 Days of Night — gets to the decently done life and death battle, his movie has pretty much slowed to a such a crawl that you’d swear reading the 600-plus page book would be quicker.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence. It opens Wednesday, June 30 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.