Critic-proof ‘Eclipse’ moves along the Ed­ward-Ja­cob-Bella triangle

Austin American-Statesman - - MOVIES & LIFE - By Joe Gross

A young man walks out of a bar into the rain, the sort that looks like it would chill you to the core. Some­thing whooshes by him. His fear in­creases. An­other whoosh and he’s slammed against a wall. He’s pan­ick­ing. An­other whoosh and his hand runs red with blood. He is scream­ing in agony.

Then the logo for “Eclipse,” the third movie in the ever-critic-proof “Twi­light” fran­chise. It’s a jar­ringly ex­cel­lent open­ing, per­haps promis­ing some true chills in­ter­spersed into the saga of 17-year-old Bella Swan of Forks, Wash., and the su­per­nat­u­ral love triangle by which she loves to be ex­hausted.

But no, sadly. By far the most plot-ser­vic­ing of the three movies, “Eclipse” is all con­nec­tive tis­sue. All of the ma­jor char­ac­ters are in place. The first movie in­tro­duced Bella (Kris­ten Ste­wart, the luck­i­est medi­ocre ac­tress in the world) and her im­mor­tal beloved, Ed­ward Cullen (Robert Pat­tin­son and his world-his­tor­i­cal cheek­bones), the sparkly vam­pire who adores her.

The sec­ond movie, “New Moon,” rounded out Amer­i­can-In­dian were­wolf Ja­cob (Tay­lor Laut­ner, glow­er­ing as al­ways), who loves Bella nearly too well for his own good.

So the third moves things along, aided by di­rec­tor David Slade’s hand­held cam­era-work.

There are more vam­pire-vs.-were­wolf throw­downs, which feel ever more like gothy-mods-- vs.-earthy-rock­ers tantrums as flame-haired Vic­to­ria (Bryce Dal­las Howard, re­plac­ing the far creepier Rachelle Le­fevre) builds a vam­pire army to avenge her­self upon the Cul­lens.

There’s more Bella-on-Ed­ward or Bella-on-- Ja­cob neck­ing as our hero­ine con­sid­ers her op­tions: ev­er­last­ing love with the porce­lain Ed­ward, for whom she wants to be­come a vam­pire, or warm-blooded pas­sion with the all-too-hu­man Ja­cob?

There are more shirt­less were­wolves, who still look like a hard­core punk band about to play a mati­nee gig some­where.

There are a few mis­fires. Howard sells Vic­to­ria’s evil about as well as her fa­ther could sell deca­dence — it’s just not in her skill set (yet?). And “Eclipse” makes even fewer con­ces­sions to the ca­sual viewer than the sec­ond film. Com­ing into it cold is com­pa­ra­ble to wan­der­ing into a third-sea­son episode of “Lost.”

Speak­ing of the small screen, “Eclipse” feels less like a ma­jor mo­tion pic­ture and more like Night Three of an es­pe­cially big-bud­get TV minis­eries. This isn’t even re­ally a knock. Slade knows that, how­ever good the box of­fice is, the movie houses are es­sen­tially a pre­view for the home video mar­ket, where the pre­vi­ous in­stall­ments moved mil­lions of DVDs in their open­ing weeks alone. This is melo­drama de­signed for end­less re­watch­ing from the couch, where you can pledge al­le­giance to Team Ed­ward or Team Ja­cob and pause it to let the screen linger on which­ever kiss you choose. Rat­ing: PG-13 for ac­tion, vi­o­lence, sen­su­al­ity. Run­ning time: 2 hour, 4 min­utes. The­aters: Alamo Lake Creek, Alamo South, Barton Creek, Ch­est­nut Square, Cine­mark Cedar Park, Cine­mark Gal­le­ria, Cine­mark Round Rock, Cine­mark South­park Mead­ows, City Lights, Do­bie, Do­main, Gate­way, High­land, Lake­line, Starplex, Tin­sel­town Pflugerville, Tin­sel­town South, West­gate.

Jar­rad Hen­der­son

‘Twi­light’ fans wait in line to see ‘Eclipse’ dur­ing a spe­cial screen­ing of all three movies at the Alamo Draft­house. The movie opened Wed­nes­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.