But don't be mistaken: the film is still full of the flushed cheeks and bosom-heaving romance of the previous films. After a brief opening scene, the film finds Edward and Bella languishing in a meadow. Yes, a meadow. Edward and Bella whisper sweet nothings to each other while rolling around in wildflowers. This scene could have been taken directly from one of the previous Twilight films, and is chock-full of the sickeningly sweet dialogue the Twilight series is famous for.
However, where this film deviates from its predecessors is in the wry sense of humor injected into these scenes. When Edward mentions marriage to Bella- still in the meadow- she jokes that her peers will think that she's “knocked up” to be getting married so young. This is the first laugh of the film, but is far from the last. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously- as Twilight fans will sometimes do- and isn't afraid to interrupt the main characters' love-sick reverie with a joke.
The film even questions its own conventions. For instance, when Edward allows Bella on a day trip with Jacob (Edward and Jacob apparently share custody of the helpless Bella), Edward notes, sardonically, “Does he own a shirt?” Edward has a point: Jacob bares his sublime torso for most of the film. This dialogue proves that the movie is at least marginally self-aware, a characteristic that has so far escaped the series.
Another perk of the film are the occasional fight scenes between the werewolves and vampires. The scenes are well-directed, the action well-choreographed, prompting the question: why don't we see more fighting, less kissing? The action is fun, the movie enjoyable.
But before I get carried away, the film does have significant flaws. The plot of the movie is almost incomprehensible for those who have not memorized the books. There are ways to adapt 500-page novels to 90-minute films without confusing your audience, and this is not how one does it. But the screenwriting is forgivable when one considers the lightheartedness of the movie. The two previous films had the same issues of incomprehensible plots, but treated the material with a much heavier hand.
Another problem: “Eclipse” continues the tradition of laughably poor acting that was begun in the other Twilight films. This time around the worst offender is Taylor Lautner; his abdominal muscles are the only believable part of his performance as the tortured, werewolf love interest. But Lautner could spend the entire movie blasting a vuvuzuela instead of speaking dialogue and audience members wouldn't mind as long as he did so shirtless.
Indeed, these are all issues that began in the other Twilight films. There are no crimes committed by “Eclipse” that weren't perpetrated already in “Twilight” and “New Moon.” As an entry in the Twilight saga, “Eclipse” is impressive. When examined in the context of general film making, “Eclipse” is mediocre.
Eclipse is rated PG-13 and is currently playing in Calhoun and surrounding areas.