Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Twilight III" aka "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

Okay, Bella was not beautiful – Margaret Mitchell would have said that about her – but nevertheless she managed to have to suitors: a vampire and a werewolf. It’s not clear between Edward and Jacob who is Rhett and who is Ashley.

I’m talking about “Twilight III”, of course: that is, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” , directed by David Slade, based again on a series novel by Stephanie Meyer. The distributor, Summit Entertainment, has gone from being a little indie company to a major player in the movie world, but usually, outside of this series, it focuses on content-rich and provocative material, as one expects from independent film companies.

The movie really does focus on the “love triangle”. Let’s say that Bella (Kristen Stewart) is the third player on stage in the competition between vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). That’s referring to a theory of fiction writing that gay author Clive Barker espouses as he opens his 1991 novel Imajica, which I hope Summit is thinking about filming.

You could regard the story as a parody of the “culture wars” on marriage. Maybe two members have to be of the opposite sex – no problem here – but they both have to be homo sapiens. Edward has the edge here, if you assume that a vampire is human. Jacob arguably is a carnivore. You have to accept the idea that the smartest carnivores (of the dog or wolf and cat families) are as capable of psychologically rewarding commitments as people.

Edward, in fact, tries to be a good vampire. There is a tender scene where Bella opens him, literally, but he doesn’t want to go all the way and put her at risk until they are indeed marriage. Jacob will be a problem. But Jacob somehow seems to be the more charismatic suitor, even if not human all the time.

I saw this in an AMC Imax auditorium in Tysons Corner, only about half full on a Saturday afternoon. It seemed that there were two projectors, but the Imax print was still cropped to be shown at a full 2:35:1. The effect was, as with the movie I reviewed yesterday, just a little more clarity, rather like Todd AO or Cinerama. In some of the scenes the skin details of the characters really show up. Jacob and Edward become Jacob and Esau. (Jacob has a great line and pun in the winter pup tent: “I’m hotter than you.” Yup, Edward still looks too pale. ) The scenery of the British Columbia coast ranges is breathtaking.

The rest of the plot is a but incidental, although the movie takes an interesting turn in using CNN’s name in showing a CNN report of attacks on civilians from warring vampire and werewolf tribes. That doesn’t make the movie qualify for my “disaster movies” blog. However, sometimes body parts roll, as in a real horror film. Otherwise gentle Edward bites off a rival female vampire’s head in one battle scene.

Here’s the website for the movie.

Official Twilight Film has a YouTube featurette “New Vampire Amry” (the CNN stuff). There’s also a “Team Edward” and I guess a “Team Jacob”.

Remember that actor Taylor Lautner hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live last winter before his 18th birthday, and incredible accomplishment. How many teens are mature enough at 17 to pull that off?

Wikipedia attribution link for Strait of Georgia, near Vancouver, BC.  I visited Vancouver just once, in December 1966 as a grad student on a winter vacation.

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