If at first you don’t succeed, Twi, Twi again

I couldn’t do this one alone. For the life of me, I cannot fathom the whole “Twilight” phenomenon, and I know it was clearly not scribbled with me in mind. I suffered the first two installments of the vampiric teen Harlequin romance films alone, but figured that instead of dumping all over the third chapter, I would enlist some members of the target demographic to walk my throuh “Twilight: Eclipse” and perhaps enlighten me on what I have been missing with the tale of lovesick Bella, her bloodsucking beau Edward and her canine companion Jacob.

“Eclipse” takes us deeper into Bella’s inner turmoil. Will she embrace fully her love for Edward by making the ultimate sacrifice of becoming a vampire herself? Will her feelings for Jacob ultimately be revealed? What’s up with this new pack of vampires terrorizing Seattle? And, most importantly for me, when will this all end?

First, allow me to introduce my resident “Eclipse” experts:

Name: Will Gallivan

Age: 18

Prior knowledge of the franchise: Crammed the first two films (“Twilight” and “Twilight: New Moon”) in an all-night marathon before viewing to be up-to-speed on all the drama.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?: Edward

Name: Robbie Gallivan

Age: 16

Prior knowledge of the franchise: Has seen both films and admits to being mildly amused by them.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?: Jacob

Name: Katie Gallivan

Age: 13

Prior knowledge of the franchise: Has read all the Stephanie Meyer novels on which the films are based, has seen both prior films in the theater and enjoyed them.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?: Edward

Name: Matthew Herceg

Age: 12

Prior knowledge of the franchise: Has seen both films and found them “OK.”

Team Jacob of Team Edward?: Edward

Name: Kyle Herceg

Age: 10

Prior knowledge of the franchise: Has liked both prior films.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?: Neither (I think his secret crush on Bella affected this).

Me: OK, guys. What did you think of “Eclipse?”

Will: “You’d think with all the money this movie made, they could have afforded a few more shirts in the wardrobe for Jacob, but it was OK.”

Robbie: It got really talky for long periods of time, but some of the fight scenes were cool.”

Katie: I liked it better than the first two, because there’s a little more going on, plot-wise.”

Me: So Katie, you mean to tell me that in this installment of the vampire film, the “stakes” were higher? (laughs at self).

Group: Utter silence. A few eye rolls.

Me: Could someone please explain to me why Bella is such a powerful force for this film series? On screen, she’s drearier than the Seattle landscape on which it’s set, and I cannot understand why someone with eternal life would want to spend eternity with such a sulky, mopey whiner, much less an entire army of vampires and werewolves risk their lives to protect her? What am I missing?

Katie: You’re just too old (laughs). She’s just an ordinary teen, that’s why people my age can relate to her. She gets caught up in things that she doesn’t really mean to. She’s someone who just blends in and that makes her normal.

Robbie: I certainly wouldn’t want to spend eternity with her.

Matthew: Much less my regular life.

Me: What about the film itself, is it better, the same or worse than the previous two films and why?

Will: Having just seen the other two, I would say this was the best of the bunch. At least it had some good battle scenes.

Kyle: Yeah, I was happy to see them. They finally all stopped talking.

Katie: This one did have a lot more dialogue, but it stayed pretty close to the book, so I liked that.

Me: What did you like most about the film?

Will: The battles. They were a little more fast-paced and intense than in the previous ones.

All the other boys: Yeah, the battles were pretty cool.

Matthew: I liked the way the bad vampires died in this (during the battles, vampires would shatter like crystal vases when defeated by other vampires).

Katie: I liked that they really showed Bella being pulled in both directions. They both had something to offer her.

Me: What didn’t you like about the film?

Robbie: Edward wasn’t sparkly enough. (In this tale, vampires do not turn to dust like in all other vampire lore, rather they turn into human disco balls, refracting the sun’s light in all directions.). Seriously, though. In the opening scene he was glittering, and in the very same scene he wasn’t. Then, at the end when he was sitting in the exact same spot with the exact same amount of sun and not only did he not sparkle, but he looked almost tan.

Katie: I thought it drug along in spots, where all they did was talk, talk, talk.

Kyle: Ugggh. I heard explosions in the next theater and I wanted to go over there to see what was happening rather than listen to them on our screen.

Me: I still cannot believe someone like Bella is to be admired? I mean, Edward is pledging eternal love for her, and not only does she snuggle with Jacob right in front of her because she’s chilly, but then she passionately kisses wolf-boy, too!? All this the day before they launch a war in her name!

Katie: Um, it’s only a movie. Get over it.

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