‘Eclipse’ featured less mouth breathing and abs, but more disturbing relationship insights

Despite my one-time obsession with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, something was preventing me from getting incredibly excited about seeing “Eclipse,” the third installment in “The Twilight Saga,” the film adaptations of the bestselling books.

I mean, like “New Moon,” I knew it would feature Jacob’s killer abs (though far less in this film — bummer) and Bella’s usual angst. Eclipse was my favorite novel in the series, leading me to believe that I would enjoy that movie most. I was right — this was the film I liked best. But why wasn’t I wandering around town all starry-eyed after, slobbering about how good-looking Edward was? Why wasn’t I rushing off to buy “Eclipse” T-shirts and Twittering it up all weekend?

Well, I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that I’m almost 25 now. And yes, I know there are plenty of Twi-hards of all ages out there — and more power to them. But for me? I just feel older. And more cynical about the nature of Bella and Edward’s obsessive relationship.

Hearing them talk about marriage — Bella is 17 and a minor, at least for a little while longer — actually made my stomach turn. My sister and I both cringed when Edward saw the bracelet Jacob made for Bella, featuring a little wolf charm, and the unhappiness it brought him. He’s trying to control her. And we can argue it’s for her own safety, sure, considering there’s a red-headed psycho murderess vampire after her. But it goes beyond that, too — it runs deep. Depending on your view, he’s protective — or controlling. Maybe both. But either way, it left me feeling strange about the whole thing. And if you have to give up everything — everything – in order to be with someone, as Bella would have to for Edward, how can that be a healthy, sane relationship?

I just feel like it’s . . . disturbing. Setting a bad example for young women, for teenagers like my own young cousin. It worries me to think that 13-year-olds are looking at Edward and Bella’s dependency on one another and finding it “romantic,” a model for love to which to aspire. I’ve been in love, out of love and (happily!) in love again, and I’m not saying I’m The Expert On Romance And Relationships, but I know this: I respect myself enough to never believe, even for a moment, that I have to sacrifice everything in order to be with someone “forever.” That I would die – or rather die — than be away from him.

I mean, get some self-respect, girl.

Am I reading too much into it? Maybe. They are, after all, just books — and movies, too. But books change lives and attitudes, and books change people. Books this popular have the ability to change perspectives, no doubt about it — especially when people are so engrossed in them. I just hope it’s for the better.

But the movie? Well, the movie was good. Entertaining, and finally featured some action. If I had to listen to Bella sighing and stuttering and making strange facial expressions and breathing through her mouth for two hours without any action, I probably would have shoved my face in a bag of popcorn and never come up for air. But “Eclipse” was better than I expected, and I enjoyed seeing the scenes I once treasured played out — especially the infamous tent scene where our vampire-wolf-human love triangle comes to a head.

And I believed Jacob — I believed he really loved her. God knows why because girlfriend is a mess, but I didn’t for a minute question his feelings for her. Jake doesn’t see Bella in the “I have to have you, I can’t live without you” way that Edward does, so maybe some see his feelings as less ardent — but not so. And when Edward says that if Bella chose Jacob over him, he’d let her go, you know I didn’t buy that for a second.

But if Bella makes a big, stupid, ridiculous decision, Jake really will let her go. He wants her to be happy — even  if it’s not with him. He’ll set her free.

And that’s love. Or closer to it.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “‘Eclipse’ featured less mouth breathing and abs, but more disturbing relationship insights

  1. Well said! I wholeheartedly agree! My eleven year old son BEGGED to see this movies. I finally caved, but we had a very long discussion afterward about Bella & Edward’s relationship. I made sure he knew that it’s not typical, it’s not okay to basically stop living just because you couldn’t be with someone.

    I have no problem with children/teens reading these books, but without some discussion afterward with an adult I think it could be extremely detrimental.

  2. Cat

    That’s my attitude to the saga summed up there Meg! I’m going to watch the movie but I really don’t like the idea of love the story portrays…obsession and control do not make a good relationship.

  3. I totally agree with pretty much everything you said in this post! I haven’t seen the film, but that’s how I felt about the books. I liked Jacob better simply because, of the two, he’s far less creepy. I’d want nothing to do with any guy like Edward in my life, which is probably why I have never managed to get particularly excited about the Twilight series. I will admit I feel a little sick when I hear any woman say she wants a guy like Edward. No thanks!

  4. I flew through the books, my favorites being the 1st and 4th. I wasn’t really a fan of the drama between Edward and Bella and Jacob in the 2nd and 3rd books, so I wasn’t really looking forward to this movie with as much anticipation as I did the 1st one. And, I wasn’t really pleased with it. I think growing up has a lot to do with it for me too. Their relationship was cute a few years ago when I felt like I was still a young pup, but now that I’m an old married lady, it gets on my nerves. I do have high hopes for the final set of movies. The 4th was my favorite book and I am really eager to see what they do with the baby. This is a great post! Thanks!

  5. AMEN on Jacob. I could not agree more.

  6. ohmymy. The title of this post is enough and all I need to know. :)

  7. I can’t stand Bella and I am really worried at seeing how much my little cousin (an 11 years old girl) adores her. It’s toxic, it should come with a warning “it fuels obsession”

  8. Lex

    I am so impressed with how you voice your opinions Meg. It very much echoes mine.

    Giving up everything for a man isn’t a good concept. It’s just a book after all but kids believe and yield to what to they see or hear so easily.

    I just hope that some, with the fame and Edward and Jacob’s image, might not notice the wrong thoughts you can get from the book and movie.

    It’s currently 12:39 midnight. You leave me a good thought to end my day.

  9. These books and movies do set poor examples for young women, but they still attract women by the boatloads…is it that moment of first love when we’re teenagers that is forever burned in our minds…that nothing can compare to that desperation to be together? That’s how I see Edward and Bella, and despite his long life, he has learned little about love…in fact, I’d say Jacob is the more mature one here. He really does love her and want what’s best for her and he won’t lie to her to protect her…that’s love…honesty and love and respect.

  10. Em!ly

    I was in a similar camp with you. I devoured the books when they first came out, but as I noticed people becoming more and more obsessed with them, I noticed myself becoming more uneasy with the way women were trying to fling themselves at a fictional character, because he’s a “protector”. There have been plenty of blog posts on the dangers of abusive relationships and the Bella/Edward relationship mimics them so well it’s scary. Society has influenced women to believe they need someone to take care of them, and protect them which is only reinforced through books like Twilight (and as much as I hate to say it, the Sookie Stackhouse novels – although not as much).

    I found a blog post recently, although I couldn’t find it again to share, comparing the characteristics of a violent (psychologically or otherwise) relationship, and Bella/Edward fit into it perfectly. Talk about frightening, especially when people are so desperate to be in a relationship like that. And they even make wall clings in the shape of Edward watching you sleep…

  11. I agree with you. The films seem to magnify this creepy obsessiveness to a new level. I think the reason I DIDN’T feel that way so much with the books is because there was more of a witty, bantering atmosphere in the books. Edward and Bella had fun with each other instead of just making moony faces. They actually had whole conversations! These are the bits I miss most in the films.

  12. Oh for real. I’ve said like twenty times, “Does this chick have beer flavored nipples or what?” Because she’s sort of tragically unappealing to me.

  13. I completely agree with you! I didn’t notice Bella’s dependency as much in the novels, but I agree with Andi–she’s right when she says the movie magnifies it. It definitely is disturbing! Great post!

  14. I’m not a Twilight fan, partly for the reasons you mentioned it. Where are all the strong, confident YA heroines?

  15. I totally agree with you. I read the first book, and was like, “meh…” and then I read the second book and I got SO disturbed when he left her and she became almost suicidal. It wasn’t romantic at all to me, it was just so creepy that he would have such power over her, that she would rather jump off a cliff or something than not have him.

    I don’t know. I was just really disturbed by that aspect that I stopped reading.

  16. I wondered if her, “this is for me” speech at the end was added in. The relationship actually bothered me less in this book, but yes I still found it emotionally dependent.

    • Meg

      You’re right, Amy — Bella’s speech at the end seemed very out of place, and I don’t remember it from the book! That would make sense. I think the books/films are facing a lot of backlash now… and rightfully so.

  17. i think this is the reason why i haven’t caved and just read the books already. yes, i know i’m probably one of the few out there, but honestly the premise never interested me and hearing people literally OBSESS over bella and edward just didn’t help.

    on the bright side, at least there’s one sane character in the book.

  18. Janelle

    Oh, you hit the nail on the head!

    I was just discussing this with my younger cousin, trying to make her see that this relationship screams UNHEALTHY! It concerns me that it’s the ideal love affair for so many teenage girls.

  19. Amy

    I seriously said the exact same thing after I saw Eclipse: “At least Kristen Stewart learned to breathe through her nose!”

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