It’s been a week since the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and the movie hasn’t left the top of the box office charts. But beyond the fact that it’s become the highest-grossing film of the year so far (until It was surpassed by The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2), there’s a lot more going on with this Twilight movie than meets the eye.

Breaking Dawn

When we last left off with Robert Pattinson and his wolf friend, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), as they were running from Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire cronies, our intrepid couple had ducked into a cave just as a swarm of vampire mosquitoes (or, more accurately, werewolves) descended on them. While the mosquito bites weren’t too terrible (apart from one rather large and angry spider bite), this was certainly not the situation that Robert Pattinson had in mind when he signed on to play Edward Cullen, the pale, broody vampire who eventually becomes the mate of Bella.


So, what is it about Eclipse that has made it such a phenomenon? Well, for one thing, the film is more or less entirely comprised of three act-breaks (“acts” in theater parlance). These are sections of a play or movie where the action temporarily pauses while the lights change, a song plays, or a scene is blacked out — in this case, for a lengthy nap by Bella. In true Twilight fashion, these breaks are used to establish a dream sequence or a flashback narrative that will in some way elucidate the current situation. (If you’ve never seen or read Twilight, the best thing to do would be to rent the movie and read along as you watch.)

While these dream sequences and flashbacks aren’t anything new to film or literature (think Casper and his friends come to life in Little Nightmares or The Wizard of Oz), what is new and exciting is the way that director David Slade and screenwriter Billy Ray work their magic and integrate this storytelling device into the fabric of the film. The result is a highly immersive experience that draws the audience into the action and suspends their disbelief for the duration of the experience.

New Moon

Eclipse is the first film in The Twilight Saga, but it was followed by a rather lackluster effort titled New Moon. (Yes, we know that Stephenie Meyer re-edited the second book and changed its title to Eclipse to avoid any confusion with another film adaptation that was in the works. However, this was still the work of the same screenwriter, David Slade, and the same director, David Slade, and it still feels as though they don’t quite get it right.)

When we last saw our favorite vampire-werewolf couple, they were preparing to welcome a newborn into the world. Unbeknownst to Alice (Taylor Lautner), who is eight months pregnant at the time, her baby has extraordinary abilities and was actually conceived during one of the couple’s “blood-sucking” sessions. To make matters worse, the entire experience is marred by the presence of a certain Volturi Prince (Richard Madden), who is also eager to devour the child once it is born.

Even worse, when our heroes finally make it back to Forks — the titular “twilight” town, whose residents have taken a shine to the black-and-white duo — they find that the entire town has been swept up in a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet. (Yes, it really is as bad as it sounds.) Their reunion with the family and friends they’ve left behind is bittersweet, as they have to say goodbye to little Mary Margaret (Rose McIver), their daughter, whom they’ve unexpectedly raised without the benefit of a father. The film ends with the couple packing up and heading back to Vancouver to be with their respective families, having learned a valuable lesson — that love doesn’t conquer all. (You may have to watch Eclipse again to see how this one turns out.)

The Interview

It’s funny how the way you act can sometimes speak more volumes than the words you say. Just ask Robert Pattinson. After he took a shine to Twilight and ended up playing the beloved Edward Cullen, he was soon inundated with interview requests from the press. But this was no ordinary interview. No, it was an “interview” where members of the press had actually been sent to interview the character they were playing, and not the actor who was playing the character. This distinction is what made it different. It had been so long since Edward Cullen had been interviewed, and fans were starting to wonder if he even remembered how to talk. Little did they know that he was merely putting on a facade, for the cameras and for the interviewers. The whole thing was a performance — and it was an important one. For some reason, the character of Edward Cullen needed to project an image of someone who was a bit unworldly and maybe even a little bit “in” the clouds. Who knows? Maybe this was just the type of person that Edward Cullen was before he started hanging out with Bella. (Did I mention that Rob is a really good actor? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the best in the whole cast.)

The point is, there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface of The Twilight Saga than the typical fare of geeks galore and their girl geek sidekick. The whole thing is steeped in an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy and romance. In an interview with Digital Spy, Pattinson confessed that he was more attracted to the material because of its depth than its surface appearance. “I had never read anything like it,” he said. “It is so dark, and it is so sad, and the characters are so three-dimensional.” Like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, The Twilight Saga is a story of star-crossed lovers whose passionate affair is doomed to end in tragedy — but this time it’s the tragedy of a nearly forgotten tribe, the thelusca-trontula, whose members can transform into water creatures and hunt game on the water’s surface. It is, in short, a story about the nature of love and its impermanence.

The above is a guest post by Emily. She is a staff writer at GeekMom. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family and has two dogs, Bella and Niko. She grew up on a dairy farm and now works there part-time. When she is not writing or editing, you can find her reading, drawing, or spending time with her family. She is very passionate about animals and has had a lot of experience working with rescue animals. Most notably, she has worked with a tiger named Amby, a polar bear named Ollie, and a lion named Mowgli. You can follow her on Twitter @EmilyG_Hubbard.