Movie review: Twilight Eclipse

OK, I admit this is not the first movie I would have chosen to see.  Also, I know that this movie came out months ago, but here’s the deal.  The girl I am currently seeing more or less strong armed me into watching this opus, and given that I have picked pretty much everything else we have seen together I owed her one.

To be fair, this is a movie series I should at least be familiar with.  It has vampires and werewolves, two areas that until this series more or less was hijacked by the teeniebopper sub (sub) culture was exclusively goth nerd fare.  It is a pop culture phenomenon and if I want to keep my title as self proclaimed aficionado I need to at least watch one of them.  She originally planned to show me the first Twilight, but picked it up from a Red Box and accidentally got Eclipse.  I had nothing to do with it as I told her I would passively watch it while making snarky comments but would not personally contribute to that franchises cash flow.

First of all, it wasn’t completely painful.  I liken it more to an extended teeth cleaning by an overly enthusiastic dental technician as than the full on root canal by a marginally trained orangutan that I expected.  We’ll have to see how the stars (star?) and black holes play out, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  My friend said that the first Twilight was far worse and therefore funnier, but such as it is, this thing wasn’t actually physically painful.

First, the plot.  Bella (Kristen Stewart), the sort-of hot but painfully bland (both in looks, personality, and acting) is about to graduate from high school and as a graduation gift wants Edward (Robert Pattinson), her vampire boyfriend, to turn her into one one of the living dead.  Edward, who somehow manages to maintain a facial expression that makes him look like he is dealing with a painful bowel obstruction for the entirety of the movie no matter what he is doing, wants her to “live” a little in spite of the fact that she is still a virgin (a fact painfully and forcefully delivered in the most awkward father/daughter scene ever filmed) and seems dead on the inside.  He lives with a bunch of other vampires in some kind of club or something where they all feel the need to bleach their hair blond while maintaining massive caterpillar-like black eyebrows.  He and his buddies apparently don’t drink human blood (?), and the way you can tell is their eyes are yellow, while human blood drinkers eyes are red.  Apparently human blood comes with red colored contact lenses.  Meanwhile, Jacob, one of several hundred muscular, shirtless teenage boys who are some kind of werewolves (or maybe Native American shapeshifters.  The story seems a little vague on this) that all have matching bad fake tattoos that look they were drawn on with a Sharpie is somehow her other love interest.  From what I hear, Edward dumped Bella at some point and left her in the woods.  Jacob came through as a true friend and bailed her out.  Then, when Edward resurfaced later she gave him a classic “let’s be friend’s speech” and jumped back on board with Count Eyebrows.

For a really weak script and two dimensional story, this recount already makes it seem terribly complicated.  Anyway, Bella manages to prove herself the cruelest bitch I have ever seen by dragging both Edward and Jacobs hearts through the mud.  Some other red headed vampire chick shows up who hates Edward and Bella.  Vampire and werewolf battle hijinx ensue.  Werewolves team up with good vampires to fight bad vampires, who are for the most part innocent kids pulled into the evil vampires plot and generally slaughtered.  There are a couple scenes where the father of one of the kids shows up looking for the son that is destined to get butchered by Edward later on in the movie.  Somehow, in spite of the other vampires being stronger than the good ones not a single good vampire or werewolf manages to get killed.  In fact, the worst injury appears to be a bad bruise.  The movie ends with final resolution of any given episode of a soap opera.

OK, the stars.  The werewolves were pretty cool, in spite of mediocre CGI.  One star.  There were a couple origin story flashback that were kind of cool and broke up the brain damaged Bella/Edward/Jacob love triangle story.  One star.  The fight choreography was decent.  One star.  Hmm.  Honestly, that’s all I can think of.  Three stars total.

Now the black holes.  The story.  One black hole.  The acting.  Two black holes.  I should give it one black hole for each time they managed to find an excuse to show Jacob or his many buddies without a shirt on, but will hold myself to one black hole.  The werewolves have apparently bioengineered a strain of tree in the Pacific Northwest that grows cargo shorts that dissolve into thin air every time they transform.  One black hole.  Bella is possibly the most ineffective female lead I have ever seen in any movie ever.  She is entirely helpless and her only single act during the entirety of the movie is to cut her own arm to distract a vampire with her blood (did I mention that Bella apparently has the blood equivalent of Captain Crunch to vampires?).  She does more to damage woman’s advocacy and rights than the guy who invented the chastity belt.  Two black holes.  One black hole for each of the guys in the movie who lets her treat them like crap and totally disregard and disrespect their feelings and never calls her to account for it, so two black holes for both the sackless Edward and Jacob.  The fight scenes were shockingly hard to follow as the wardrobe director decided the thing both good and bad vampires needed to wear was black hoodies.  One black hole.  Vampires sparkling in daylight instead of burning up.  One black hole.  A movie about vampires that features less actual blood shown than a typical episode of the Bachelor (did I also mention that vampires, when injured, actually have no blood and shatter like quartz?  No joke.  Tear off a vampires head and he looks like you just dropped a ceramic vampire cookie jar).  Two black holes.  Holes in the plot that strained my suspension of disbelief like a size 2 girdle on a 400 pound man (at one point the evil vampire army goes on a killing spree through Seattle that somehow doesn’t result in 100,000 FBI agents showing up.  Things like this).  One black hole.  The wolves, while huge and cool, were completely crap CGI.  One black hole.  Total: 15 black holes.

So with that we get a total of 12 black holes.  A miserable score, but I don’t really feel like my time was TOTALLY wasted.  There is something that makes you want to watch it (kind of like slowing down to see a traffic accident).  I would probably been more generous if I were in high school and a girl.  I could understand seeing this to appease a girl you are dating and, since that is how I saw it, I still feel somewhat manly.  I also made her watch a few episodes of Firefly afterward in order to recapture some machismo.

For the who would win, aquatic wimp Aquaman versus moronic macho man Beef Supreme from Idiocracy, I think as long as it was done on dry land I would have to go with the Beefer.  Monster truck + flamethrower = win.  In water obviously Aquaman would have the advantage. (Brawndo image courtesy of the funny t shirts category)

For today I ask a simple question: who would win, Slimer from Ghostbusters versus Casper the Friendly Ghost.  Bye for now.

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