Decision time for Bella (Stewart) as graduation approaches and she must confront conflicting feelings for vampire Edward (Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob (Lautner). The two rivals put aside their differences to protect their sweetheart from a vengeful Victo
Trust David Slade to bring the house down. The Hard Candy helmer has experience of blood-guzzlers, and while Stephenie Meyer’s teen-titillating romance doesn’t permit the storm of gruesomeness that rained down on 30 Days Of Night, he’s cast darkling clouds over Twilight’s once sunny horizon. There are still pretty faces, and more bare-chested bravado than a Tarzan casting session, but he’s boosted Meyer’s saccharine infusion with a dose of bitterness and, crucially, humour, irony and a sense of foreboding.
The third instalment, Eclipse is the most action-packed yet, with Victoria returning to exact revenge on Edward (Robert Pattinson) by sinking her teeth into his fragile paramour, Bella (Kristen Stewart). She engineers an army of ‘Newborns’, led by Riley (Xavier Samuel), to unleash fury in the Pacific Northwest, track Bella and destroy both mortal girl, and her immortal protectorate, the Cullens. Clairvoyant Cullen Alice (Ashley Greene) knows something is afoot but can’t identify the source: it is Victoria’s secret.
Indeed, secrets are bubbling to the surface in Eclipse. The Volturi are up to no good, and there’s dark revelation in two lively back stories (for Nikki Reed’s Rosalie and Jackson Rathbone’s Jasper). Elsewhere, Jacob confesses his passions for Bella (“Doesn’t he own a shirt?” asks Edward at one point) and steals a kiss, which earns him a punch in the mush, while Ed asks for Bella’s hand in marriage. Choices, both good and bad, inform the entire series, and Bella must now decide whether to admit she loves Jacob as well as Edward. Or should she give herself fully to Edward, whom she loves most? Also, she’s feeling frisky: should she finally get laid? It’s tough being a teen.
All three corners of the love triangle look sharper than before: the most accomplished actor, Stewart, still lip-biting, Lautner still pec-flexing, and Pattinson not fully shaking that fiery-eyed pout. But all have grown into their roles, cutting loose in a film that (thankfully) sidesteps the melodrama of its prequels. Edward and Jacob must pull together to protect Bella, and Slade jives with their wiseacre conversation: as Bella freezes in the snow, Jacob’s naked torso offers radiation, and the wry line that, after all, he is the “hotter” of the two.
The fan base will enjoy the maturation of characters and plot, while Slade brings great energy to the climactic battle between the Newborns and the Cullen-Wolf Pack alliance. Under his guidance, the series has evolved into something most unlikely: Twilight is in danger of becoming cool.
By far the best Twilight film to date, Slade should satisfy the fan base while opening up the series to more sceptical viewers