'Eclipse': A Sort of Romantic Kind of Fairytale

When I saw Eclipse, a gaggle of teenage girls behind me giggled, gasped and squealed their way through most of the film. Each time their hysteria erupted, it happened during a romantic scene.

Publisher: Little, Brown
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Price: $9.35
Format: Paperback
Book: Eclipse
Length: 640 pages
Publication Date: 2010-05
Director: David Slade
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli, Sarah Clarke, Elizabeth Reaser, Anna Kendrick, Xavier Samuel, Bryce Dallas Howard, Michael Welch, Christian Serrattos
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Film: Eclipse
Release Date: 2010-06-30

What is it about vampires and other supernatural beings that drives the public, particularly women, wild? Is it that pasty skin or the ability to shape shift? Is it the promise of eternal life or the capability to read minds? Is it the dark, romantic idea that one can unite with someone or something from the other side?

Like its box office predecessors, Eclipse, the third installment of the Twilight Saga, was released on 30 June to record sales. In case you haven't heard, the film is based on the bestseller by Stephanie Meyer. It's about 18-year-old Bella Swan who caught in a love triangle between handsome vampire, Edward Cullen, and hunky shape-shifting werewolf, Jacob Black.

When I saw the film, a gaggle of teenage girls behind me giggled, gasped and squealed their way through most of the film. Each time their hysteria erupted, it happened during a romantic scene. One, in particular, that really got the girls going was when Bella asks Edward to "change" her, meaning to give her eternal life. She's worried that her 19th birthday is approaching and she'll physically be older than Edward, who has been stuck at 18-years-old for the last 107 years.

In return for his gift of eternal life, he asks that she marry him, something down-to-earth tomboy, Bella, scoffs at. But Edward harkens back to a more innocent and simple time when men courted women:

"I'm from a different era, things were a lot less complicated and if I had met you back then, I would've courted you. I would've taken you to chaperoned strolls, ice tea on the porch. I may have stolen a kiss or two, but only after asking your father's permission, I would've got down on knee."

You could hear the girls gasping between suspended soda sips and choking on popcorn. Understandably so. With Meyer's Twilight Saga you get a lot of old-fashioned courting in a world of wham, bam, thank you, Ma'am. Another trait that's so appealing about her books is that the tease here isn't the woman, but the man.

Another character sneering at this marriage business is Jacob, the werewolf who has been in love with Bella since Twilight. Not only does he not want her to marry another man, but he doesn't want her to become a "bloodsucker". The tension between the three of them leads to another scene that stirred the theater pot in which we find all three characters stuck in a tent on a snow covered-mountain. While Bella tries to sleep in the biting cold, her vampiric lover can only watch her chatter away until hot, hunky Jacob comes into the tent to warm her up.

The possibilities are endless and I'm sure a scene like this wasn't lost on the porn industry, which has cashed in on the Twilight series with titles like This Isn't Twilight and This Isn't the Twilight Saga: New Moon .

Meyer's piquant material wasn't lost on Eclipse director David Slade, either. Case in point: When Jacob puts his arms around a freezing Bella, he looks at Edwards and says, "Let's face it. I'm hotter than you."

Many critics have called Eclipse the best of the Twilight series movies so far. This may be because it not only appeals to the ladies for its heavy-handed romantic thrills, but also to the guys for the electrifying action scenes.

In this installment, an army of "newborn" vampires is formed by the flame-haired vampire, Victoria, who is still pissed off at Edward for killing her lover, James. The battle scenes between the newborns and existing vampires are thrilling, but now that the werewolves are joining the Cullen clan to defend Bella, there are not only vampires fighting, but giant werewolves, too!

Pattinson is still fantastic as Edward – charismatic, ethereal, and handsome; and Lautner continues to grow up before our eyes into an even more seasoned Jacob. Stewart, as well as the rest of the cast, has staying power in her role as girl-next-door, Bella. Billy Burke is particularly good as Charlie -- Bella's grumbling, but loving father.

The only cast change in this installment is that of Victoria, who was played by Rachelle Lefevre in New Moon and is now played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The switch of actors is disappointing. Lefevre was the embodiment of the fiery villain whereas Howard comes across, not only as too sweet, but flat in comparison to her salty counterpart. Let's just say Howard doesn't have the same "bite" that Lefevre had.

Perhaps it isn't the vampires or werewolves that make Meyer's series so loved. Her romance flies in the face of more pragmatic love stories (think Lost in Translation or any Woody Allen film) that convey there is no single "right person" out there for each of us, and that love is a fickle thing. While this may be true, Meyer's story celebrates the conceits of simplicity, chastity, and the hope of finding "the one". It suggests that it's okay to dream about finding true love, and it's old fashioned in a way that is clearly popular with the reading and movie-going public -- especially the teenage girls.







The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.


John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.


Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.


Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.


Murder Is Most Factorial in 'Eighth Detective'

Mathematician Alex Pavesi's debut novel, The Eighth Detective, posits mathematical rules defining 'detective fiction'.


Eyedress Sets Emotions Against Shoegaze Backdrops on 'Let's Skip to the Wedding'

Eyedress' Let's Skip to the Wedding is a jaggedly dreamy assemblage of sounds that's both temporally compact and imaginatively expansive, all wrapped in vintage shoegaze ephemera.


Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.


Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.


Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".


The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.


The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.


Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.


​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.


John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.