In Eclipse, Bella is about to graduate high school and looking forward to life with Edward. But hot-blooded Jacob hasn't given up yet: he knows he'd be a better match for her, as she could stay a human with him. Then the Cullens and the Wolf Pack unite against a common foe: an army of "newborn" vampires that pose a particular threat to Bella.
Find out what we thought of the third film in the Twilight franchise after the jump... The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (12A)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard
Director: David Slade
Running time: 121 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here
The plot: New Moon, the previous chapter in the Twilight saga, grossed nearly $700million at cinemas worldwide when it opened last November. You might think the market would appreciate a longer pause before the next one, but the franchise's makers can't afford to dally: after all, vampires don't age. In Eclipse, Bella is about to graduate high school and looking forward to life with Edward. But hot-blooded Jacob hasn't given up yet: he knows he'd be a better match for her, as she could stay a human with him. Then the Cullens and the Wolf Pack unite against a common foe: an army of "newborn" vampires that pose a particular threat to Bella.
What's good about it? While New Moon's director Chris Weitz might be termed a safe pair of hands, honouring the work of Catherine Hardwicke in the original Twilight film rather than putting his own imprint on the franchise, here David Slade (30 Days Of Night) has his sights set on something more ambitious. Of course, he's lucky that this time all three corners of the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle are in the same place – overcoming the big structural flaw that hobbled New Moon. Slade raises the stakes for peril and action, although his camera has other distractions. It's hard to decide which is filmed more prettily: Taylor Lautner's sweaty, glistening skin or passionate kisses in stunning snowy mountains.
What's not so good? Riley (Xavier Samuel) and his newborn vampire army make a vivid impression, but the new additions to the Wolf Pack – Seth and Leah Clearwater – struggle to make a mark. Presumably pay-off on these new characters will occur next time. For non-fans, the real problem is that the story doesn't advance that much: Bella is still moping; Edward is still exercising monumental self-restraint with his virgin bride-to-be; and Jacob is still hurting inside.
Verdict: A slightly dull first hour gives way to a much better second half, which is far preferable to the other way round. There's nothing much here to change the mind of Twilight sceptics, but Twi-hards will once again be happy with their annual ration of swooning romance, hormonal angst and high-stakes peril.
Rating: 7 out of 10