It’s always been a gripe of mine that when a movie with a lot of hype behind it makes it into the cinemas, it sucks up all the screens, leaving not a lot of room for other movies trying to put bums on seats. While this didn’t seem such a problem during Avatar days – this film did merit more than one viewing and, besides it was Christmas and there was Sherlock Holmes for a little 2D distraction – it is a problem when the dominant movie is not up to much.
It is true that Eclipse, the third of the Twilight movies, is not aimed at me. But, as someone pointed out to me, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be good. If a film’s good, whatever its genre, whatever its style, whatever its story, it will be enjoyable. I am quick to judge a movie and so I wanted to give Eclipse the benefit of the doubt and actually see it before I got at it. We went in the afternoon, hoping that this would make for a quieter viewing. However, I’d not reckoned on the scores of language students who frequent the cinemas of Oxford in the daytime. We woud be treated to occasional gasps and giggles in Spanish and Italian.
My friend was not the only man there. I assured him there was another a few rows down accumulating huge quantities of brownie points while looking pained. But we’d had a pint, we were fortified, we could withstand whatever Eclipse through at us. Afterall, I know about vampire movies – I saw Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the Vampire… Admittedly, I have not seen any of the True Bloods, Buffys and Angels that have followed. Which brings me to a question – can you outgrow vampires? Are you only susceptible when you haven’t got a mortgage?
Back to Eclipse – it disappointed. I could almost forgive the interminable and repetitive exchanges between Edward and Bella, Bella and Jacob, Bella and Edward, Jacob and Bella, and Jacob and Edward, but what I couldn’t forgive were these diamond-boned vampires, trying to live as normal a life as possible, while fitting in discreet, out-of-camera hunting and being a little distrustful of their furry neighbours. I had seen Twilight and in that film I had quite enjoyed the few moments when the force of the Cullens emerged and they threw themselves through forests and over mountains, truly conquering that tremendous Alaskan scenery. There was none of that in Eclipse.
Here was a group of vampires that had an eternity to live and every minute of it would be suffered. I think that Vampires should be bad – they should be like Lestat and Louis and Armand. I don’t need them to sparkle in the sun. There is no blood and fire in the veins of these icey Twilight vampires so why do they need to consume blood?
From the trailers of Eclipse, I imagined a great battle, but what we had was a bunch of about five pale vampires, a small pack of werewolves, and a bedraggled buch of not very hard to fight new blood vampires. But that’s because our attention was supposed to be directed to The Tent scene, where Bella has to be warmed by the barechest of her hot-blooded werewolf Jacob while her cold-blooded Edward looks on mildly perturbed.
At the end I was left with quite a few questions – why do werewolves not need shirts in human form? This Alaskan town has to be the most cliquey community on the planet and yet newcomer Bella was favourited by werewolves and vampires alike, so much so they all want to die and kill for her (albeit a little half-heartedly) – why? The whole story for me could have been a projection from the head of this rather dull, hunched and inward-looking teenage girl. She says that she is out of step and has no place and yet what about her mother and father? Their love for her is clear throughout the film and she hardly gives them a moment’s thought – a brief visit to say goodbye to mum in Florida and jokes at the expense of long-suffering dad, who no doubt will give his daughter away in marriage on the day she dies to him.
Listening to the crowd outside the screening, it was clear that the main verdict was about how hot Jacob or Edward were. There wasn’t much more to it than that. I can’t imagine that this is a film many would see more than once and so hopefully the number of screenings will diminish very quickly so that we and the cinemas can get back to what really matters this month – Inception!