What to make of the pasty-faced twerps from Twilight, the bland pop culture pea brains who bear more in common with K Mart models and Mills and Boon protagonists than purebred vampires of the “I vant to sark your blood” variety? What mixture of words can articulate the cultural relevance or lack thereof of these blemishes on the creative horizon, these anachronistic anomalies that take vintage vampire sexuality and plonk it inside the confines of glossy puppy dog classroom romance? I’ve been procrastinating writing this review for a while now, avoiding the kind of analysis necessary to explain that while Twilight: Eclipse is faster, flashier and more interesting than Twilight: New Moon it is nevertheless a lethargic, poorly stylised and dull as ditchwater experience, meaning the franchise has essentially lifted – perhaps momentarily – from “abysmal” to “bad,” slim are the pickings.
The story of this instalment – just like the last one – revolves around a love triangle between a human (Bella, played by Kristen Stewart), a vampire (Edward, played by Robert Pattinson) and a werewolf (Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner with scene stealing supporting performances from his chest and abs). Again the story is full of yakety yak but conspicuously bereft of action: there is much talk of warring tribes, armies, newborns, clans, bitter supernatural factions and so forth but precious few depictions of any of these things, as if the screenwriters thought they could convey action and intrigue merely by having their characters talk about it. Even on the night of the supposed big battle between the good vamps and the bad vamps, much of it is spent literally inside a tent (though it’s not in-tense, ho ho) with Bella flanked by hunky young men who exchange grimaces with each other while inane dialogue spills from their mouths.
Bella plans to “turn” after graduation, her presumably inevitable passage into vampire life stretched out for god knows how much longer. Remember when a blood sucker used to bite a chunk out of somebody’s neck and bam, a vampire is born? Those were the days. There is a slow and seedy feeling to the Twilight movies, an unwillingness to play ball, a reluctance to cater for the people who haven’t pored over the pages of Bella and Edward’s tortured – no, tortuous – romance. Listening to these so-called vampires and werewolves deliver dramatic, even histrionic lines is embarrassing for everyone, and although the cast seem a little more awake in this installment – presumably director Chris Weitz has implemented a strictly no-Valium-this-time-around policy – they still convey the blackly amusing impression of being bored by their own performances.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Australian theatrical release date: July 1, 2010.