Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There's something for non-Twi-hards, too!

"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

Two and 1/2 stars

By Thomas Tracy

Finally! A “Twilight” movie you don’t have to be a 14-year-old girl with raging hormones to sink your teeth into!

By far the best of the three Stephenie Meyer teen romance novels to end up on the big screen, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” may actually disappoint some of the self-proclaimed Twi-hards hoping for two hours of conflicted, angst-ridden, lovelorn looks between an anemic vampire, a buffed-out werewolf and the pretty — and pretty conflicted — human Bella (Kristen Stewart).

Let’s be clear: There are enough doe-eyed gazes in this film to make a deer hunter go into apoplectic shock. But — thankfully — many of the unrequited love scenes are brief, or, better yet, sidelined by the simple yet entertaining story involving revenge and vampire/werewolf relations in Forks, Washington, the supernatural capital of the great Northwest.

In this installment, a series of killings in nearby Seattle are getting the Cullen vampire clan quite nervous. Someone is building an army of “newborns” — recently turned vampires — for some diabolic plot that has yet to present itself.

Meanwhile, Bella is in the middle of a monster mash-up of her own. She’s still in love with the vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), but can’t resist the puffed-out pectorals of childhood friend turned man-beast Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who fell for Bella long before Edward ever sunk his fangs into her. Of course, that’s only metaphorically speaking, as the debate over Edward turning Bella into an immortal bloodsucker so they can spend the rest of their undead life together rages on throughout the film — a sticking point (or should we say staking point) that’s straining their relationship.

To his credit, director David Slade wends these story threads around the action so the casual viewer isn’t bogged down in a love story he knows nothing about.

He also deviously builds the romantic tension to such an apex that the audience is guaranteed to laugh out loud after a snickering comment is made about which male lead has a higher body temperature. They’ll also cheer when a crucial decision is finally announced — on the top of a mountain, no less.

Out of the three leads, Stewart is the most magnetic, even when she’s in full awkward Bella mode. Lautner is also proving to be a break-out star (or male pin-up model, take your pick), often overshadowing the pale, phantom-like Pattinson continues to look like he’s in desperate need of a sandwich. Maybe by the fourth installment he’ll look more, um, alive.

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by David Slade. Running time: 124 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality. Playing at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, Cobble Hill Cinemas, Kent Theatre in Coney Island, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, and UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown.


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