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Eclipse: For Twihards only!

By Sukanya Verma
July 30, 2010 10:15 IST
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Sukanya Verma reviews Eclipse.

"This wasn't a choice between you and Jacob. It is a choice between about who I should be and who I am."

Seriously Bella (Kristen Stewart), who are you kidding?

It's like the ultimate girl fantasy -- two gorgeous boys warring for her affections while she gets to be in love with both. Guilt-free, no less.

The only real dilemma posed before her is to pick between the chiseled good looks of pretty vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a daredevil werewolf with abs that could put CK models to shame.

Frankly, life could not be any better for this otherwise painfully passive resident of an equally sleepy town called Forks.

If Twilight established a wispy enigma around the irresistible attractions of a nervous, smitten Bella and a curiously handsome Edward, New Moon challenged this peculiar alliance whilst laying the foundation for a niggling triangle through Jacob's unexpected, consuming obsession for Ms Swann.

The saga of conveying eternal desire by means of overwhelming looks, quivering lips and picture-perfect kisses continues in Eclipse, the third edition of the Twilight mania.

The deal with Eclipse is simple. A vicious Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), with her erratic army of reckless newborns wants to avenge her mate's slaying while her unsuspecting victim, Bella oscillates between a Let's-get-married and I'd-like-to-be-more-than-friends scenario.

While Eclipse cannot recover the sublime charm of the first one, it sure wins back all the absconding fans since the god-awful mush overload witnessed in New Moon.

Even though Stephenie Meyer's best-selling fantasy runs on spectacularly-staged implausibility and unusually naive characters, it packs in enough ardour to evoke giddy sighs and intense appeal among those it's intended for die-hard romantics, better acquainted as Twihards.

Like most silly albeit comforting fairy tales, Twilight, in spite of its dark undertones that oversimplify death in the face of exaggerated romance, works well on a teenybopper audience willing to submit themselves to its surreal notions and glamourised approach.

Admittedly, Meyer's books are no literary accomplishment but the written material and its understanding of an adolescent's eager yearnings is keenly played out through her vivid, page-turner prose.

Needless to say, like most book-to-movie adaptations, Eclipse, too, skips a lot of portions of its source to accommodate the overwhelming number of protagonists old and new. Only some, like the Cullens Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) nab a few exclusive seconds but the awkwardly introduced flashbacks do little to make them any more significant.

This is a running flaw in the Twilight movies; the narrative is unnecessarily crammed with surplus characters who hardly contribute any perspective or layers to the proceedings. What's worse they're played by a set of genuinely bad, uncharismatic performers.

Ah, acting. Now that's definitely not the high points of this brand. Stewart is credible as the lip-biting, love-struck damsel; but cannot hide her intelligent aura behind Bella's absurdities. On the contrary, it becomes even more conspicuous next to the compelling but cosmetic Pattinson and consistently unimpressive Lautner.

Director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) is more concerned with building an attractive (at times even humorous) sexual rivalry between the entangled troika to negotiate the novel's inherent aggression or graphic nature of its combat. Instead he opts for a disappointingly bland visual representation of the same.

Fortunately, Howard Shore's resplendent score, in addition, to spunky Indie presence The Black Keys (Chop and Change) and The Dead Weather (Rolling in on a burning tire), boosted by stunning imagery, signature to Twilight franchise lends Eclipse some of that much-needed edge.

The verdict is quite simple. Twihards, this one's a keeper. Twihaters, snarky days are here again!

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai