REVIEW: Eclipse (David Slade, 2010)

Initially, "The Twilight Saga" handled as a mere framework of relationships between ambiguous characters painted thinner than their own pale skin. Recognizing sudden popularity, it soon became a fan-service machine of angst and abs. Somewhere between then and now, someone must have decided it was time for substance. This latest installment opens strong with validation for its questionable promotion at the Academy Awards where it was billed as horror. Within minutes, the ground meandered over by two hours of "New Moon" is competently tackled, practically negating that predecessor's existence. The quality maintains throughout, building excitement before a tense climax. It is as if director David Slade is boasting to his producers, "This is how it's really done!"

And thank goodness for humor! Not only is "Eclipse" peppered with much needed comic relief, it's confident enough to poke fun at its more ludicrous qualities. Plenty of fan-service is present, but here it is accomplished with a wink and a nudge as opposed to shameless exploitation. We aren't nearly as spoon-fed as before, our brains now being held in higher regard than our loins. Sure, there may be little water to tread beyond what is present on screen, but what is there is honorably conceived and well-rounded. Besides, depth isn't exactly the point.