Riley (Xavier Samuel) exits a Seattle bar and begins making his way home one night, but something happens that causes rumblings across the vampire world, as he is not the only one in the city to have been attacked, with the police thinking there is a serial killer wandering about and picking off the citizens. However, what is happening is that Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) is starting her coven of vampire newborns, and she means business, which should be of great concern to Bella (Kristen Stewart), a human, and Edward (Robert Pattinson), a bloodsucker who she loves...
Eclipse was the third in the Twilight series of novels from Stephenie Meyer, and she had made a packet out of them thanks to their popularity with a younger readership, so the films that were adapted from them were very much tailored to appeal to that audience. So what, you could have asked, most of the mainstream stuff coming out of Hollywood was aimed at teenagers so why should this be any exception? But the producers of these efforts were careful to target these movies to teenage girls, of which there was a significant fanbase, meaning anyone else who latched onto them was a bonus in the filmmakers' eyes.
Naturally, this did mean the popular opinion on these was split right down the middle, with Meyer's themes coming in for criticism from those who saw them as anti-feminist, as Bella tends to define herself by her relationship to the men in her life, as all the while they were embraced by those viewers who simply thought the idea of being fought over by two big strong chaps was the best thing ever. Certainly by the time Eclipse was released, there was no attempt to win over the unbelievers, taking it for granted that this would make money from the millions who had read the books or seen the previous two instalments, or indeed both. So if you were unconverted, was there anything to appeal about this?
Dedicated horror fans lean towards cynicism when the subject of PG-13 fright films out of Hollywood raises its head, but here was a series that explicitly went all out to live up to all that rating promised: nothing too scary, nothing too violent, and for all the talk of romance, nothing too sexual either. So if you did not want anything that would elicit anything stronger than a flutter of the heart when a handsome actor hoved into view, then Eclipse was only too happy to provide that stimulation - but nothing more intense. For this reason, most of the story was taken up with acres of talk, and very little action, with Bella indulging in conversations that went nowhere fast about her feelings.
She is torn between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), both belonging to rival clans of supernatural beings who find they have to team up when Victoria gets her plans into gear. Except she does that very slowly, so that nothing in particular occurs until the very end, where there's a big fight with stuntmen flying around the screen, but no blood. It was broodingly shot mostly in picturesque woodland under glowering skies, and an element of camp in the werewolf gang livens things up a touch as they all dress in gold hotpants and nothing else - well, if they don't they look as if they'd like to. The vampires, none of whom are ever seen doing much vampiric, prefer to keep their clothes on, and when you see how chilly it looks they might have the right idea. Not that there was much of a distinction between the creatures of the night - they don't even confine themselves to hours of darkness - and the uninitiated would be less interested in who gets who and more likely to say they were all welcome to each other. True Blood on the small screen was a lot more fun. Music by Howard Shore.
[The DVD has a load of featurettes and deleted scenes to keep the fans happy.]