"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

I have seen the first two "Twilight saga" movies, and while I really liked the first one ("Twilight"), I was a little disappointed by the second ("New Moon"). I have also read all four of the original books by Stephenie Meyer, but I try to treat the movies as separate entities from the books; after all, they are "based" on the books, not 100% the same as them. Going into "Eclipse," then, I was expecting a lot, because this is the first book in the series that really delves deeper into the characters. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Bella (Kristen Stewart, "The Runaways) is on the cusp of graduating from Forks High School, and she wants Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, "Remember Me") to turn her into a vampire after graduation. Edward, however, wants Bella to marry him first. Meanwhile, a vampire army is assembling in Seattle, led by the evil Victoria (a casting change - now played by Bryce Dallas Howard, "Spider-Man 3"), who wants to enact revenge on the Cullens, specifically Edward, for killing her mate, James. The werewolves, especially Jacob (Taylor Lautner, "Valentine's Day") and the vampires must unite for Bella's safety, and battle the vampire army together.

One of the things I really liked about this movie was that it delved into the Cullens' backgrounds. We learn that Rosalie (Nikki Reed, "New Moon") never actually chose to become a vampire, and she wants Bella to have that choice. Also, Jasper (Jackson Rathbone, "The Last Airbender") used to be a soldier in the Civil War, before a woman vampire "turned him." Rosalie and Jasper were vampires that, until this "Twilight" installment, had never had many scenes, and it was interesting to learn more about their past. There is also a decent helping of Taylor Lautner shirtless—the first time such instance elicited squeals and claps from the mostly female audience. There are a lot of action scenes, and I was actually surprised by how violent the film was for a PG-13-rated movie.

I would say Yes, see this movie—if and only if you've seen the first two movies or have read the books. "Eclipse" doesn't explain or recap the first two movies, so it would be confusing for if you came in cold. Guys will like the action scenes between the werewolves, Cullens, and the vampire army, so for them I give this movie a "Maybe"; and for those that are definitely not "Twihards," I would say don't see it—or, if you want to, watch "Twilight" and "New Moon" first. My overall rating is a "Yes," however, because I greatly enjoyed "Eclipse," and it might actually be my favorite out of the three "Twilight" movies that have been released so far.

"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" will be released in theaters on June 30th.

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