Not a Meyer fan? Beware the 'Eclipse'

Posted: Thursday, July 08, 2010

First, I must apologize to my little sister, whom I dragged to "Eclipse" this week. She is in town visiting for a few days and I just figured I could treat her to a flick on the big screen. She agreed to come along, perhaps because her two pals had just left town and she had no other options, and she was truly amazed by "Eclipse." She was amazed by a lot, really, judging from the ranting in the car on the way home. What seemed to amaze her most - she repeated this one several times - was how all of the bad actors and writers and producers were going to make a bunch of money of such an awful movie.

I am paraphrasing, but that is pretty close.

I am sorry, little sister, for subjecting you to that. Watching my sister squirm and fidget as "Eclipse" ran the course of its two-hour running time did confirm a theory of mine, though. If you have not read the books by Stephenie Meyer, you will not enjoy the movies based on them. There are plenty of subcategories here, of course. Obviously, teenage girls are probably going to like both the books and the movies regardless of the cheesiness. Conversely, adults that aren't as easily wrapped up in the werewolves-vampires-teenage-love-story angle as I am will find the books silly and the movies unbearable. I suspected all of this before I convinced my sister to come with me to "Eclipse"; I know it now.

Sorry, Sis.

For the fans of Meyer's books, "Eclipse" is right on par with the first two adaptations. Robert Pattison (Edward Cullen) manages to pull off the modern vampire look (pale skin, amber eyes, hair ruffled just right) and girls in the audience on Team Edward swoon. Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) is buffed up, no doubt, and likewise makes the girls in the audience on Team Jacob giddy. Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan) continues to mope around, scoff a lot and look semi-uncomfortable. The Cullen vampires do their thing and the tribe of werewolves does their thing. In other words, the movie follows the book fairly closely.

At this point, the people that fall into my sister's camp don't care about the story's details. "Stupid," "annoying," and "cheesy" are words she used a lot to describe "Eclipse." All true. The thing with these stories, though, is that it doesn't matter to the fans. I am perfectly aware that "Eclipse" is goofy; I still love it. I am simply no longer under the illusion that the movies are going to convert anybody. Fans will watch. Non-fans won't (unless they get dragged along by their older brother). In the end, none of that even matters to Summit Entertainment. All they need is for the book's fans to turn out - and so far, so good.

Without worrying about the story, I do have some major quips with "Eclipse," however. Well, one major quip, anyway. Lautner proved he can change his body-type (supposedly why he was almost fired after "Twilight"). Unfortunately, the dude cannot act.

Unfortunately for everyone that sees "Eclipse," Lautner tries to make up for his lack of talent by over-acting. That, he can do. That, he does! I alternated wanting to punch him in the face and simply being embarrassed for him. He seems to be on the set of "General Hospital," except for that whole turning into a werewolf whenever he feels like it thing.

He's bad. He's really, really bad. I was thinking two stars (my sister was campaigning for a single star rating), but Lautner is too awful for two stars. A compromise with my little sister is only fair.

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