This week at the movies, we’ve got brooding bloodsuckers (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) and elemental excitement (The Last Airbender, starring Noah Ringer and Dev Patel). What do the critics have to say?
Hey, Twihards — you’re probably going to see Eclipse anyway, so feel free to ignore the reviews. However, for the uninitiated who find themselves dragged to the theater, the critics say Eclipse is a big step up from New Moon — even if it still suffers from slack pacing and portentous dialogue. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner are all back as the principals in every tween’s favorite supernatural love triangle; this time, all three are threatened by an army of newborn vampires assembled for the purpose of killing Bella to indirectly enact revenge upon the Cullens. The pundits say new director David Slade does well with the material, underscoring the emotional developments with some reasonably stirring action. However, they also note Eclipse is still too often a slog, with so-so acting, middling special effects, and lots of dead passages. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Stewart’s best-reviewed films, as well as our Twilight character guide.)
Goodness, what happened to M. Night Shyamalan? In the decade since The Sixth Sense, his reputation as a wunderkind has taken a steep dive, one that won’t be revived with The Last Airbender, which critics are calling an incomprehensible, ugly mess. Based upon the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, Airbender tells the story of Aang (Noah Ringer), who utilizes his rare element-manipulation skills to bring peace to a war-torn fantasy world. The pundits say Airbender‘s baffling exposition and retrofitted 3-D effects make for a viewing experience that’s hopelessly muddled in both plot and visuals.
Also opening this week in limited release: