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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner star in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse."
Though it sticks to a tried-and-true recipe that will undoubtedly delight the legions of enthusiastic followers who have made the franchise it extends a box-office blockbuster, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (Summit) may strike less-committed viewers as occasionally over-familiar.

On the plus side, director David Slade's third installment in the hugely popular Gothic romance series -- based on the best-selling novels of Stephenie Meyer—draws, like its predecessors, on self-referential humor to leaven its potentially ridiculous proceedings. And, while Melissa Rosenberg's script ramps up the mostly bloodless battling among its supernatural characters, it also shifts the basis of its main couple's chaste interaction from a matter of constraint to one of choice.

Said couple is, of course, composed of well-behaved vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)—who preserves the appearance of a high-schooler, despite being more than 100 years old—and teen mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Their romance, typified by an early scene in which Bella reads poetry to Edward amid the blooming flowers of an idyllic rural glade, is currently complicated by a number of factors, some old and some new.

As in the previous episode of their story, 2009's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," Bella is determined, despite Edward's many objections, to become a vampire herself to remain with him permanently. Equally opposed to this change is Bella's friend, and would-be love interest, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Despite being a werewolf—what's a girl to do?—Jacob offers Bella the prospect of a somewhat normal life.
Edward and Jacob's antipathy is more than personal, since, according to Meyer's mythos, vampires and werewolves are long-standing instinctual enemies. But with Bella's life threatened by villainous bloodsucker Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard)— out for revenge against Edward for the death of her own true love, James, and busy assembling an army of plasma-hungry minions to advance her schemes—the rivals must unite to protect the object of their conflicting affections.

The climactic battle includes scenes of wounding and mutilation. However, since vampires are shown to be made of ice on the inside, there is only a bit of bloodletting among the human characters.

Though Bella is anxious to consummate her love for Edward, their brief, fully clothed bedroom encounter terminates in his refusal to do more than kiss and caress her. But while his restraint was previously motivated by the fear that passion might drive him to put his fangs into Bella, Edward now takes a stand on principle, resolving to uphold Bella's virtue until the two are married.

When Edward acknowledges that such values-driven behavior isn't "modern," Bella perhaps says more than she knows when she responds, "Not modern; it's ancient!"
The film contains considerable stylized violence, an off-screen rape, a scene of nongraphic sensuality, a birth control reference and a few mildly crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II— adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
*******
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Apollonia: The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned. 
<p>While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.</p><p>There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.</p> American Catholic Blog We can find Christ among the despised, voiceless, and forgotten of the world. We have to move beyond that which we wish to ignore and forget about: embrace the seemingly un-embraceable, love the unlovable, and dare to know what we most fear and wish to leave unknowable.

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