Dinca: Surveying Art and Culture

Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Too much talking.

by Jack Kentala

I always make this mental comparison between Twilight and Harry Potter. Whereas the latter mostly concerns itself with an often-overwhelming (for the movie adaptations, at least) combination of wizardry and secrets, the back end of the movies have this little concern about Harry Potter growing up and falling in love and all that. Twilight takes the opposite route: there are vampires and werewolves, sure, but it all hangs in the balance of a very poorly construct human-vampire-werewolf love triangle.

And that’s what ultimately makes any Twilight film seem a bit flat for those outside the tween-girl demographic. The love triangle is pure nonsense because Werewolf Jacob really has nothing on Vampire Edward. If anyone who has any inkling of the series can’t just guess what’ll happen with the love interest(s) has a serious problem analyzing movie posters and seeing that most promotional material has helpless Bella absolutely smitten with Edward and flatly saying she loves Jacob, too, but a bit less.

One aspect about the series that, given it’s the year 2010, really grinds me is the puritanical stance related to sex. Yeah, there’s plenty of lip-locking time with Edward and, briefly, Jacob, but it’s almost stated as a given that Bella doesn’t want to have sex until she’s married. And it just so happens that she’s going to get married when she’s 17; that’s what age my grandmother was when she married, and even back then it was young by most standards, and that, too, was a no-sex-before-marriage sort of thing. So Eclipse takes the odd stance of allowing marital sex, but it doesn’t matter if you get that free pass because you’re married at a freakishly young age.

I guess a bonus point can be given for a very brief conversation in which Bella’s dad gives sideways permission for her and Edward to have sex as long as they use condoms, but the way Bella dismisses it is like she’s the one with this whitewashed, not-realistic-these-days stance. I know it’s been a criticism lobbied at Twilight and other inavoidable zeitgeists, like the Jonas Brothers and their Promise Rings, and how it’s an easy way to sell sex under the guise that it’s “safe” because there’s no explicit sex and there are silly rings and all that. (I won’t even get into the subconscious insanity of last year’s Jonas Brothers concert stunt of spraying hot semen foam out of cannons onto their audience.)

But back to, you know, the movie, it gets into a talky dead zone that drags out the time to the mildly-enjoyable vampire-werewolf brawl climax. Film is visual, so you want to show things, but the way Eclipse is set up, it’s really hard to show the love that everyone keeps talking about. It only comes close when Bella is out camping, gets really cold, and shirtless Jacob has her cuddle up to him to get warm. But there’s no risk for Jacob, so that doesn’t go far showing that he does it because he loves her. Most of the movie is a lot of talk about love that goes in circles. Again, I have no inner tween to summon to come up with a defense of this.

The first Twilight worked pretty good. Like any superhero or supernatural saga, the origin story is always the best. There are the setup and the mysteries (and, in the first Twilight, a lot of sparkly vampires and vampire baseball). Then came the dragged-out, Romeo and Juliet-obsessed New Moon, and Eclipse straddles an uncomfortable line by killing off a villain that’s been dogging the vampires of the Pacific Northwest for the first three films and sort of shrugging its shoulders in a Now What? fashion before the probably-bloated two-part finale set to release far too soon.

13 Comments

  • Jonas Bros. have promise rings for sex?

  • Jack says:

    Did I phrase that odd? I meant their Promise Rings mean they won’t have sex until they get married. Thus, it’s okay for Disney to sell sex because the Promise Rings are a sort of disclaimer.

  • Jone Bros should be in the next twilight 3d movie. Producers: Can you make this happen?

  • Jack says:

    Jonas Brother are so old, dude. It’s Bieber Nation now.

  • Did you catch that lightning bolt show? I’m trying to catch them here at Pitchfork, but tickets are overpriced and they’re one of the few I want to watch. I live a five min bike ride away.

    Should I dig under the gate?

  • I hear pitchfork police and the fashion police will be there, so it might be a little risky to dig under the gate and get my clothes dirty.

  • Jack says:

    I see Lightning Bolt on Thursday at a small venue in MPLS. Very excited. I also will bring earplugs plus earphones because I heard it was the loudest thing in the history of sound. Last weekend I was shooting off live rounds for my movie and went about 85% deaf, so I definitely want to protect my hearing this time.

  • Instead of wearing the plugs, you should opt for the safety-orange-colored chainsaw protective-muffs.

    What size rounds? I saw some of the photos on FB.

  • Jack says:

    I was shooting live 30-06 rounds (7.62mm in NATO standards, whatever the hell that is; the U.S. Army uses 5.56mm by comparison), live 9mm, and some blank 9mm. Blanks must be underpowered or something, because there’s no recoil.

    I actually have protective earphones, but unfortunately they’re merely blue.

  • That poster art is distractingly shitty.

  • none says:

    glad you guys took the time to review this important film.

  • Jack says:

    You’re welcome. I figure if the zeitgeist is for some bullshit, I might as well take a look at some bullshit. As much as you hate it, you can’t ignore popular culture.

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