I have a love/hate relationship with Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight Saga/Franchise/Terrifying Phenomenon. Last summer I was a jobless hippie with nothing much to do and even less money, so I spent 2 weeks, mostly between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am, reading the series via .pdf. I had thought about buying/renting the much sought after series but just couldn’t bring myself to walk into a bookstore, let alone a library, and seriously request copies of a middle-aged mother’s attempt at describing teenage love, death and disturbing amounts of undersexing.
Getting through her work was quite possibly the most painful process I’ve ever undertaken in my life. Her prose reads a lot like trashy drug-store lit, without the sex, and her grammar leaves much to be desired. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a writer who throws in more useless phrases or who comma splices to keep a sentence going for what seems like pages.
However, I did it. I read all 2,443 combined pages of the “saga”, stopping along the way to inform my friends of any sentences that were particularly horrible, or any plot points that were particular hilarious. I felt victorious/saddened. I had wasted my time, to be sure, but I was equipped at least with firsthand knowledge and was therefore allowed to engage any 12-45 year old in combat the next time I heard any of them say that Twilight was awe-inspiring and beautifully written.
But this review isn’t about my struggle throughout reading the Twilight Saga, it’s about the newest addition to the film family, Eclipse.
Eclipse is likely not supposed to be a funny film, but I assure you, it’s hilarious. I went opening weekend (and then again last weekend as a favour) and was surrounded by the TwiHards. This didn’t deter me from laughing like I’ve never laughed at a film before, though. I’m sure my group of 3 managed to accidentally ruin the best scenes for everyone else in the theatre, but if you can’t laugh when you think something is funny, when can you laugh.
The premise is exactly like the first book, more or less. Bella (Kristen Stewart) might get killed by Victoria (replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard) and the Cullens (various actors who should go on to do better things) and the Werewolves (a bunch of dudes who don’t own shirts and the kid from Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D) band together to stop this from happening. Along the way they come up with zany plans and look at each other sexily. Ultimately nothing really happens for 2 hours and 4 minutes, but the actors seem to be trying pretty hard to keep us entertained.
They seem to really be developing? embracing? tolerating? their roles slightly better this time out and you can tell that perhaps they have accepted that the plot will never get any better and that their characters will always be a bit too whiney. Whatever the reason that Stewart, Pattinson, Lautner et al. have, I give them credit. They are attempting to turn one woman’s terrible dream/fiction into something the slightest bit palpable for the audience. Now I’m not saying that Eclipse is a great, or even a good, movie, on the contrary, its plot is so trite that no amount of decent acting would be able to save it. What you do get, however, is a bunch of actors doing their best to make the love triangle feel slightly plausible while the supporting casts does what they are supposed to do: supporting them in their endeavour.
Without ruining (ruining is likely not the correct word here) too much of the “important” scenes, I will attempt to highlight the main problem with Eclipse. During my Twilight reading days I was most looking forward to seeing “The Tent Scene” from this particular book and it really did not disappoint. For reasons that are explained but that make little sense if you put any amount of rational thought into them, Bella, Edward and Jacob all run up a mountain and go camping.
I suppose they do this to keep Bella safe from the war that is about to be unleashed upon the Cullens through Victoria’s minions, but they bring no supplies and a sleeping bag that seems to be good for +10 °C weather. Sadly nature takes a mean turn (they knew this, they even commented that this would happen) and Bella is FREEZING due to the poor sleeping bag they chose and the lack of winter clothes outside a toque. Who goes camping in American Eagle skinny jeans, runners and a plaid shirt anyway? Part way through their fun camping trip, Jacob enters the tent to keep Bella warm which makes Edward broody and talkative. The whole scene plays out like something from a well-shot porn which never climaxes. And therein lays the problem with Eclipse. It never climaxes. Everyone in the tent, the movie and the theatre is ultimately left with metaphorical (and perhaps in the case of Jacob literal) blue-balls.
It’s very difficult to invest 2 hours into a film that leaves you unsatisfied but it is even more annoying to have to invest your time into 8 hours of film before anything happens that is worthwhile and that is what watching the Twilight Saga is like: you really want someone to do something so that everyone can finally feel the release they so desperately seek, but by the time they finally do that thing, it’s usually too late and the moment has passed.
I’ll keep seeing the Twilight movies, I guess. I have already invested a lot of time in them and am really hoping that by the time Breaking Dawn part 2 ends, I will get that to a conclusion I so desperately want. Ultimately I know the way it all ends but I can’t help but feel that sitting in that theatre on the day the last one finally comes out will be some sort of achievement, that I’ll be able to say, “see Twilight Saga, I waited long enough and you were forced to put out!”
Until then I’ll just keep laughing off their teases and come-hither looks.