AWFJ Women On Film – “Twilight: Eclipse” – Review by Susan Granger

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Frenzied Twihard fans are so eagerly awaiting this third installment that it’s become Fandango and’s top advance ticket-seller of the year. And it’s certainly better than the first two.

In the tiny Washington town of Forks, there’s a volatile love triangle. Vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and hunky, perennially bare-chested Native American werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) are both besotted by Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who’s still pursued by vengeful vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard). Smitten by Edward since she first saw him and with graduation quickly approaching, Bella seems ready to relinquish her human existence for immortality.

“Eclipse” picks up where “New Moon” left off. But Bella’s decision could ignite a conflict between vampires and werewolves, affecting not only herself but her family and friends. That raises the ominous stakes. As the villainous Volturis wait for Bella to be ‘turned, mysterious killings are ravaging nearby Seattle and an unexplained force has created a Newborn Army of ravenous vampires with unquenchable bloodlust. Could rivals Edward and Jacob possibly join forces to protect the woman they both adore?

Stephanie Meyer is the new queen of vampire lore, inheriting Anne Rice’s mantle. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg reveals more about the peripheral Cullen family, like Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed), along with Jacob’s Quileute wolf pack, while the director, British David Slade (“30 Days of Night”), raises the testosterone level, mixing more feral action with the melodramatic teenage fantasy romance. The ferocious CG climactic battle is exciting; even the acting improves this time ‘round.

Trivia note: according to, actor Robert Pattinson really has a bloodline going back to Dracula and 15th century Vlad the Impaler in Transylvania. Coming up next: “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” which will be split into two movies. And Stephanie Meyer has an unfinished novel, “Midnight Sun,” telling the sane story from Edward’s perspective, along with a new project involving other mythical creatures: mermaids.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is an edgier, amped-up, supernatural 7. Expect a lot more bite.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).