I can’t speak for the series’ entirity (because I refuse to waste six hours of my life on this crap) but Eclipse, the newest cinematic adaptation from director David Slade, feels like a B-movie hodgepodge of scenes cobbled together from an emo band’s music videos and some uninspired shots of an old-timey village recreating the Antebellum south. All the thrilling highlights of vampire/werewolf fiction are hit; Edward gets engaged to Bella, bracelet charms are exchanged, poetry is read in fields, and there’s even some generic piano to spice everything up—and I do mean everything. If you’re ever unsure of what to feel, just listen to the obnoxiously obvious background music for a pointer. If you manage to struggle to the end without falling asleep there’s a vampire on vampire battle with a couple of werewolves thrown in for good measure, but even that can’t redeem this defanged snoozefest.
Having never read the books or seen the previous movies, I was a little worried there may be a complex backstory I’d be unable to catch up with; luckily the Twilight series has a retardedly basic narrative. Thanks to masterful exposition like “You want to kill her so I will feel same pain you felt when I killed your boyfriend!” and extensive flashbacks detailing the origins of every minor character, you’ll never feel completely out of the loop. From what I can gather, Edward Cullen, the series’ resident lovechild vampire, murdered Victoria’s boyfriend in a previous film, leaving her on an AWOL quest to assemble a vampire army so that she could do away with the entire Cullen family. You would think this would spell disaster for Edward’s clan since they already have a natural enemy in the local Indian werewolf people, but rather than assist their enemies’ destruction, the werewolves team up with the Cullens and there’s a big smash-heavy vampire battle that punctuates the film. Sounds kind of badass, right? Unfortunately, that’s only twenty minutes of this two hour mess. The rest of its runtime is filled with torrid scenes of teenagers reading Robert Frost poetry in fields of lilac, explaining their virginity to comically overprotective father figures, and worrying about each other for no reason and to no end. An entire drinking game could be founded around the many times Edward spouts “I was worried about you!”. There are also several flashbacks with people in goofy hats and huge period-mustaches detailing the histories of some side-vampires and the origin of the eternal Forks county werewolf/vampire feud, as well as some shots of “The Volturi”, some kind of vampire mafia. None of these figure into the main narrative, or even the side narrative, so there’s no real need to discuss them. In an especially metatextual moment after the climactic battle ends and the Volturi show up, Bella says “You could have done your job if you were thirty minutes earlier”. If only everything in this movie were thirty minutes earlier, perhaps it would feel less unnecessary.
It’s been said that Twilight is the female equivelant of dumb Hollywood action flicks like Die Hard and Transformers, and during a scene where the eternally shirtless Jacob is taunted by each of his brothers about his concern over calling Bella back or not, I almost believed it. Men certainly don’t behave this way, and I hope with every inch and fiber of my being that Bella, and more broadly the entirity of Eclipse, reflects nothing about women. Critics aren’t exagerrating when they say she’s a husk of human existence—she says nothing entertaining whatsoever. Short of some terrifying secret from her past like a gangbang or systematic family homicide, there’s no excuse for the straight-up lack of charisma this girl displays. It’s shameful. But so is this entire mess of a movie. With dialogue that would make George Lucas cringe, a narrative that would fit pretty poorly on the Syfy network, and a vampire battle that will eventually find its way to Youtube, there’s no need to see this movie, but you probably already knew that.