FILM REVIEW: New 'Twilight' Entry Eclipses Predecessors

After seeing the third entry in the popular “Twilight” series, there's good news for non-fans. This movie is almost watchable. Unlike the first film, which suffers from bland characters and a lame plot; and the second, which suffers from melodrama and a lead character who's always half-naked for no logical reason, number three is a serious improvement. However, there are still numerous and obvious weaknesses that detract and make it unworthy of a ticket purchase.

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Bella (Kristen Stewart) continues to push Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), her vampire boyfriend, into turning her into a vampire. A bit of time has passed since the events of “New Moon” transpired and Bella’s friendship with her other beau, Jacob the werewolf (Taylor Lautner), has suffered since he fell in love with her. In the meantime, an army of vampires is being formed by the villainous Victoria, who still wants Bella dead because she blames Bella for the death of her boyfriend.

The love triangle is more prominent here than it was in the first two films because the three main characters are together more often throughout (unlike the second chapter where Edward disappears for a long periods of time). In the beginning of this film, Bella decides to visit Jacob, who has not been returning her calls. Edward, who continues to be creepy in his affection for Bella, prevents Bella from going but she eventually does go and this allows Jacob to reveal his long-held affection for her. Eventually, Edward and his team of vampires and Jacob and his team of werewolves have to work together to protect Bella from Victoria. Both sides will ultimately battle.

In many ways, this film is much better than the first two. A lot of the things I criticized about those are less prominent here. First, the characters have more depth. The dialogue between the three main characters is still over the top and self-indulgent at times, but they are better developed. Also, this entry is less melodramatic than its predecessors and there's less focus on the shirtless teen wolves (though it's still over-the-top). Even Edward makes a crack about how Jacob doesn’t seem to own any shirts. (Team Edward earns a point for that.)

***SOME SPOILERS AHEAD***

For some weird reason, though, we get back-stories of two minor characters and of Jacob’s tribe. These are interesting but feel out of place in a third chapter. One of my biggest issues is that the ending is extremely anti-climactic. In movies such as this, viewers may already know the end even before entering the theater, but even so the story can still build tension and suspense. That is not the case here.

In terms of the love triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward, which is a prominent part of the story, there is little suspense. It’s less a love triangle than it is a story of a couple and the werewolf who tries to break them up. There's no doubting what the outcome will be.

A lot focus is put on the war between the new vampires and the Cullens. The alliance between the Cullen camp and the werewolves is highlighted and there's even a training scene where both receive instructions on how to fight these new vampires. But the big, final battle is a huge disappointment. There's very little tension and what we're told is going to be pretty major ends within a couple of minutes with none of the heroes ever seeming at risk.

There are some positives, including the seriousness with which the plot handles the issue of sex before marriage (something that Edward opposes). However, that can't overcome all the silly, adolescent moments, bad dialogue and lack of a satisfying climax.

It isn’t a good movie but there are pieces of one in there.

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