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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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Gregory the Great: Coming events cast their shadows before: Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. 
<p>Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope's seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome. </p><p>He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of "Gregorian" chant is disputed. </p><p>Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king. </p><p>An Anglican historian has written: "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great." </p><p>His book, <i>Pastoral Care</i>, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called "the Great," Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Loving trust and total surrender made Our Lady say yes to the message of the angel, and cheerfulness made her run in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. So much in our lives, too, is saying yes to Jesus, and running haste to serve him in the poorest of the poor.  –Mother Theresa

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