Back to Seattle to see some more newborn vampire destruction. This time we see the Volturi- and no, Aro isn't here so it sucks- watching them. And that's the scene. I should note Dakota Fanning looks SO BORED, and boy do I feel her pain. We go to the Forks High School Graduation, where Jessica is giving the valedictorian speech. Wait, JESSICA? The character who's been portrayed as an absolute rambling airhead for the past three movies? As opposed to Angela, who has always been super intelligent and very eloquent?
The post-graduation party is held at the Cullens', which gets crashed by Jacob and his friends. Bella immediately asks him to leave, y'know, cos of all the date rape stuff but he apologizes because he didn't REALLY mean to do it so it's all okay! And just to show that he's really really sorry, he gives her a bracelet he made which she gushes over because it so SHINY AND PRETTY! All is instantly forgiven! I really hope all you ladies are taking notes, a guy can touch you against your will all he wants but as long as he says he was sorry and gives you a gift, it's all TOTALLY OKAY. Thanks Stephenie Meyer!
Alice gets a vision that Riley and his gang are going to attack them, so the Cullens and the wolves meet up to discuss their options. They recognize Riley from some missing posters his parents put up of him, but they know there's no way he's behind something this big. Everyone sits around and tries to puzzle who in the world could be behind this and is EVERYONE COMPLETELY BRAINDEAD IN THIS MOVIE?!?
That question applies to the people who made this as well as the characters, as I genuinely think they wanted this to be a mystery. We never see Victoria having any interaction whatsoever with Riley, but I mean... come on... this is like The-Plot-Twist-Of-M.-Night-Shymalan's-The-Village-Levels of obvious what's going on here. And there is still a freaking HOUR of this movie to go! How can Twilight make two hours feel like an eternity? Better question, how can people bottle this technology for their leisure time?
Jasper decides it's time to train everyone in advanced battle techniques, as he is said to have a history of fighting newborns. Everyone heads out to a big empty field as we learn WHY newborns are more badass than regular vampires: “because their own human blood still lingers in their tissues”. Hmm... wouldn't that mean they'd be weaker since human flesh is much weaker than when it's full on vampire? This leads to a TRAINING MONTAGE as the Cullens spar while the wolves watch. It's oddly set to “With You In My Head” by Unkle, which isn't exactly a song that gets the action pumping. Twilight has a really weird issue with putting inappropriate songs on during its action moments.
After the session ends, Bella asks Jasper if there's anything she can do to help in the upcoming battle. He replies that just her presence with be enough, as her scent will distract the newborns and Good Lord they're BRINGING BELLA ALONG for the fight?! I thought Jasper was this battle hardened master tactician and strategist, instead he's obviously a graduate of the Qui-Gon Jinn Academy of Combat Strategy. Lesson One: ALWAYS bring the most vulnerable and weak person right into the heart of the fight!
She asks how he knows so much about battling newborns, as we get HIS flashback origin now. He was a major in the... Confederate army? Oh, that's unfortunate. At least this DOES explain why Jasper suddenly has a Southern accent, whereas in the previous two movies he didn't. Hell, you might as well just call Jasper an entirely new character here as he bears NO resemblance to the way he originally was. He's a lot more lively and animated, even has completely different hair. This is the part where I'd speculate on vampire hair growth, but we still have an hour left and I want to finish this review sometime this month.
He got sired by a vampire named Maria, who wanted his help in creating her own army for battling the various vampire gangs in the South, which apparently was a big thing back in the day. He fought and killed and fought and killed until he met Alice, who showed him a better life. Huh. Damn you Rosalie for using up all the awesome flashbacks! That night Bella dreams of Victoria telling Jasper to kill her, which somehow makes Bella realize Victoria is behind everything. For once Edward's over-protectiveness is actually warranted as he no longer wants Bella on the battlefield. Of course she throws a fit over this, so he agrees he'll stay out of the battle and protect her. They craft a plan where Jacob will carry Bella away to a hiding place, as his wolf scent will mask her human scent from the newborns and I just want this done with.
As he carries her he immediately starts trying to talk her into being with him, dropping such wise and insightful lines like “you can love more than one person at a time”. The worst part is Bella seems a bit into this, as she is STILL jerking this guy around. I honestly don't even know who I'm supposed to get behind anymore, yet again I'm reminded of Showgirls and all its gray and black morality. I really need to start watching some better movies. Jasper announces to Edward their plan to mask Bella's scent worked, as his Southern accent is growing thicker every scene. I love actors who don't give a fuck in the slightest. We now take a break from Eclipse: The Torture Never Ends to bring you Every Family Sitcom Ever, starring Charlie and Bella. They have an incredibly awkward talk about the birds and the bees, the only thing missing from this scene was a laugh track followed by an “Awwwwwwwwwwwww!”.
Bella heads over to the Cullen house to spend the night with Edward, as the rest of the family is out hunting animals. She wants to add her own condition to their “turn me vampire” deal, she wants to have sex with him while still a human. He instantly refuses because it could kill her, and she hilariously tries to seduce him into trying. Bella declares he makes her feel like some kind of villain in what is probably the most intelligent thing she's EVER said. Edward asks her to marry him AGAIN, but this time she says yes. They needed to kill that much time for THAT?
Game day. Riley and crew arrive in Forks, but are way early so they work on their best Apocalypse Now impression. This franchise sure loves its partially submerged heads in the water shots. Jacob carries Bella to the tent they have set up at the hiding place, announcing to Edward he's going to stay behind as well for extra security. However a massive rainstorm soon breaks out, Bella freezing to death in the cold wind. This is kind of weird as earlier they talked about an upcoming storm, you think that maybe they would have brought some SUPPLIES around since they had so much warning?
Luckily though Jacob has an idea! Since his body temperature happens to be 108 degrees, he'll get in the sleeping bag with Bella and keep her alive with his body heat! I think I laughed for about six minutes straight at this scene. From a practical and logical standpoint it actually makes PERFECT SENSE and I applaud Jacob for thinking of it, but from a STORYTELLING perspective this could honestly contend for the dumbest thing in the history of ever. It's like Stephenie Meyer had NO safety net whatsoever when writing this, whatever she put to page was instantly approved.
Topless Jacob cuddles up nice and close with Bella, looking up at Edward with the biggest shit eating grin and just TAUNTS THE HELL out of him. I cannot believe I'm watching this. I cannot believe I PAID to watch this. I cannot believe people paid to watch this over and over again. Edward just sits there and stares, probably keeping himself sane by counting all the ways he'll kill Jacob once this is all over.
Bella eventually falls asleep, and warm and cozy. Edward and Jacob talk forever, and it's so boring I start wondering what JACOB sees in Bella. I mean Edward loves Bella because... because... hmm. So why does Jacob love Bella so much? In New Moon she manipulated the shit out of him and led him on just so she could experience hallucinations of Edward. Since he's 16 and doesn't know any better, that's love to him. That's what our love triangle boils down to, lust and stupidity. How romantic.
Holy God are they still talking?! How in the world did this movie make $700 million dollars, because you KNOW a lot of that is repeat business! Fast forwarding... fast forwarding... fast wording... there we go, it's later. Jacob has left to go check on things while Edward and Bella discuss their upcoming nuptials. D'oh! There's Jacob. He, of course, throws a hissy fit over this news and storms off to the battle where he threatens to kill himself because he's mentally adjusted like that.
Bella stops him briefly, but he asks for one good reason why he should stay. He lists off things like how she doesn't want to lose him or whatever, but he says that's still not goo enough and keeps walking. Finally she yells out “Kiss me!” and I lose it. Oh, it feels good to laugh. Jacob spins around looking like it's his birthday and Christmas all wrapped into one, as he runs toward Bella and FINALLY kisses her after about a hundred fakeouts.
Taking up residence on Cloud 9 after that kiss, Jacob heads off for the battle where he promises he'll be back. Bella returns to Edward and gives him back his engagement ring, as she can no longer marry him in good conscience now that he's kissed another man. Ha hah yeah right, she goes back to Edward and is all “I love you!”. How can ANYONE say Bella isn't the Big Bag of Twilight after that is beyond me. Hey remember that battle they've been building up to all movie? It's finally started, and it's every bit as lame and CGI-looking as you'd expect. Numerous newborns shatter into glass as they get hit, so maybe that's just a newborn thing and they turn into flesh later on? There's probably as much flying glass here as the first Robocop movie!
Shock of shocks though, the WHOLE BATTLE WAS A DIVERSION so Victoria and Riley could sneak up on Edward and Bella. They beat down Edward and are about to kill him when Bella grabs a rock and KILLS HERSELF WITH IT! Oh my bad, that was my wishful thinking. Proving once and for all Bella does NOT listen, Bella takes the rock and cuts her arm open with it instead of killing herself like she totally should have. What are the odds that story she heard in the beginning of the film would come up again? The release of her blood distracts the two vampires and leads to their deaths, like there was ever a nanosecond of doubt. Victoria also shatters like glass, which ruins my newborns are glass theory. So all vampires actually are made out of stone then? How the hell do they move?! Edward takes out a lighter and throws it on Victoria's body, and she INSTANTLY erupts into flames. Geez, you think Edward would have smelled her a lot sooner since she obviously douses her clothes in gasoline.
The other battle ends right after, Jacob getting grievously injured. The Shirtless carry him off just in time for the Volturi to arrive, because the royal vampires wouldn't honour any kind of truces with their sworn enemies. We see Bree is still alive, the Cullens offering her asylum in exchange for surrendering. Jane's all “Fuck that!” and has Felix kill her. Well, thanks for stopping by Bree. At the reservation Carlisle treats Jacob, earning the respect of the Shirtless in the process. Billy Black even shakes his hand to add a cherry to the top of all this. Bella goes in to see ol' Jakey, as he pretty much waives the white flag of surrender in this whole ridiculous love triangle. Seeing as how there's still TWO movies of this abomination to go I'm guessing this won't be a permanent decision.
We join Edward and Bella back in the meadow this movie opened in, as they (gasp!) talk about her becoming a vampire. Two hours (felt like two millennium) later and we are EXACTLY back where we started. That is... that is special. Did ANYTHING actually happen in this movie? I KNOW I say this a lot, but this just might be the most pointless movie of all time.
Cue the credits, set to Metric's awesome song “Eclipse (All Yours)”.
The Good: Not counting the bizarre choice of song during the training montage, this movie had a great soundtrack. Killer cuts from Muse and Vampire Weekend round out some really strong selection.
The Bad: Everything else from the story to the acting to the special effects, fucking name it, it was bad.
The Ugly: That nappy ass wig they stuck Bryce Dallas Howard in. Also, everything else... did I mention that already?
I mean EVERYTHING. In my last review I talked about how New Moon wasn't really a movie but just a Greatest Hits collection of scenes from the book spliced together. While Eclipse is slightly more cohesive, it is NOT a movie. Thus, I can't say this is one of the worst movies I've ever seen but it is one of the worst THINGS I've ever seen.
There is such a dark and disturbing undercurrent to all of this, like it was written by a very disturbed person. Sociopathic self-centered characters manipulate each other with no regards for feelings, all kinds of pro-stalker and codependent themes, rape overtones, justification for horrible behaviour with hollow gestures... and these are all from the HEROES. It's really hard to feel anything against Victoria or Riley when they aren't even on the same field of evil as the “good guys”.
The first Twilight had these elements, but the were very toned down and instead the whole thing played out like the ultimate wish fulfillment from someone who wasn't very popular in high school. New Moon went berserk with it all for a two hour tale that was just jaw-droppingly bad, but Eclipse... Eclipse TOPPED IT. I think it was around the point Jacob wished Bella was dead I stopped viewing this as entertainment and more as a psychological excursion into the depths of madness. And it just kept going deeper and deeper down the tunnel, until I wound up watching Bella make out with another man atop Mount Scenic while her fiance was a few yards down the way.
I no longer have ANY idea what's going on in this series anymore, what the point is, what anyone's motivation is. But hey, at least we're now over the halfway point of the series and it's all downhill from here!