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‘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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