PREVIOUSLY ON ColuMn:
After checking out the first Twilight movie, Sparks was determined to watch the entire series, even though he thought the first movie wasn’t all that great. In November of 2009, Sparks attended a midnight marathon screening of Twilight and New Moon. Positively bored by the ordeal, Sparks knew that he couldn’t let down the rabid ColuMn fanbase (hi, Mom!).
Over the past few days I’ve been a robot dog divided. On the one hand, I appreciate the Twilight series for what it is: mindless teen escapism. On the other hand, while I am relatively mindless, my teenage years are now lost to the mists of time. As the deadline approached to my showing of Eclipse, I attempted to re-evaluate the reasons why I even bother checking out new installments. I like Kristen Stewart. I don’t mind Robert Pattinson. I pretty much loathe Taylor Lautner. While I didn’t want to sit through another two hours of New Moon-level angst and pouting, the early buzz was that Eclipse was the best of the Twilight films so far. In the end, it didn’t really matter what my motivation for seeing Eclipse was. I’d already purchased my ticket, and being a thrifty miser, there was just no way I wasn’t going to at least try to get my money’s worth.
So tonight I made my way to the local IMAX theater and took my place far back in line to experience the new movie. The line was, unsurprisingly, comprised mostly of teenage girls. But there was a smattering of people not only my age, but my gender. I’m not sure if it’s because most of the Twihards had already seen the movie at the earlier midnight showing or if because it was IMAX, and slightly more pricey, the teens had just decided to check it out at a regular theater, but the audience was more subdued.
We made our way into the theater and the show started. The good thing about IMAX is you don’t have to sit through 20 minutes of ads to get to the show. It starts right on time with one preview. That alone is worth the extra couple of bucks.
The movie itself was surprisingly not-terrible. There was still angst and longing gazes and awkward non-sex scenes, but there was also a plot, some suspense, and quite a bit of action. The special effects were about the same level as New Moon and the werewolves were still ridiculously over-sized, but it was good to see some on-screen violence.
The acting, while not the series’ strong point, was serviceable, with Kristen Stewart looking better than ever, if still somewhat struggling to speak the often clumsy dialogue. The Twihards barely murmured the way-too-many times Jacob was shirtless, which was perhaps the biggest surprise. Note to the producers: I knew this is beefcake for little girls, but at least give Jacob the thinnest sliver of a pretense to take off his shirt. Instead, he’d just show up sans shirt. It did provide a lot of laughs, though. Seriously. It’s ridiculous and one of the biggest weaknesses of the series. Instead of slavishly shoe-horning in ludicrous situations to patronize the target audience, it would be refreshing if they crafted some scenes to challenge expectations.
But I guess that’s not Twilight, and I’m no closer to solving my internal struggle with these movies. All in all, I was entertained, which I can’t really say for New Moon. I can’t bring myself to outright recommend it to the uninitiated, but there are worse ways to waste a couple of hours at the movies (you could go see Grown Ups).
ColuMn Rating: ★★★