When Jacob 'Eclipsed' Edward

By Tracy Lum

Editor-in-Chief

“Eclipse” is a battle between fire and ice. And fire definitely wins.

In the film, the third installment of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, the love triangle linking Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) heats up as the deadline for Bella’s transformation into a vampire nears.

While both stunning men vie for Bella’s unsteady heart, tensions between the Cullens and the wolves escalate as red-headed villainess Victoria, along with naïve lackey Riley, create a vampire army to exact revenge on Edward by killing Bella. According to Meyer’s lore, infant vampires are more powerful and blood-thirsty than the average vampire.

To fight for their territory and for Bella’s safety, the sworn enemies, Team Edward and Team Jacob, form a temporary alliance. But making matters worse, the cruel Volturi (the vampire overlords fresh off their stint in “New Moon”) lurk in the background, waiting for the opportune moment to pounce and destroy the Cullen coven.

That alone seems enough to make “Eclipse” the most intense film of the series. Accompanied by flashes into Jasper’s and Rosalie’s histories and glimpses into the Quileute legends, the movie is more thorough and complex than its predecessors. Yet it also manages to stay grounded as Bella contends with graduation and with the mixed emotions regarding her impending metamorphosis.

And then there’s the heat that draws not only from Jacob Black’s seldom-clad form, but also the action-packed battle sequences. The Cullens zip through forests at lightning speed while the still imperfect CGI wolves leap and bound with ferocity. Vampire limbs crack like marble and fly everywhere, obscuring the screen in a sea of white. The best part? The complete absence of gorethe vampires have no blood of their own.

Stewart has finally lost the stutter, completing her immersion into the role of love-torn damsel-in-distress. She no longer merely plays the part, but actually becomes Bella as she grows more confident and comfortable in her relationship with Edward.

Pattinson and Lautner meanwhile provide the Twihards with adequate eyecandy, though Edward’s character has become more subdued while Jacob seems to steal the show. “Don’t you own a shirt?” Edward asks Jacob. While trying to convince Edward that he can provide for Bella, he asserts, “I am hotter than you,” which, in a literal sense, he is.

At times the film is self-critical and even unintentionally hilarious, as when the Volturis simultaneously and over-dramatically flip back their hoods. But overall, director David Slade’s work has given the fans everything they could want from this installment of “Twilight.”

Eclipse

Directed by David Slade

Release date: June 30, 2010

4 out of 5 stars

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