Eclipse is no doubt the most action-oriented of the series thus far, and if you dig awesome fight scenes and fantasy sci-fi, this will sate your thirst. But if you haven't seen the first two installments or haven't read Stephenie Meyer's Saga, a lot of things that the movie adaptation references from the books may go over your head. Not to worry though—our Intro to Eclipse will fill you in on pertinent info for an optimal movie-going experience. Check it out—and even if you've read all the books, this'll serve as a quick refresher. By Lizerne Guiting
Eclipse takes the sweeping romance aspect and injects it with steroids. We all know Edward and Jacob loathe each other, and although Edward and Bella are already an item, Jacob's got a few dirty tricks up his sleeve to put himself in the running for Bella. Highly anticipated scenes:
-Edward's proper proposal. Yes, he already popped the question in New Moon, but this time, he's got a ginormous ring to add to his sparkle.
-Edward and Bella spend the night together. Tamer than it sounds.
-Edward, Bella and Jacob spend the night in the woods in a tent—a tense situation, indeed.
The one thing that Edward and Jacob do have in common is their love for Bella, and in Eclipse, we'll see werewolf and vampire—natural enemies who can't even stand each other's smell—unite to defeat a common enemy and protect the woman they love. The former Quileute-Cullen Treaty kept the Cullens off the reservation and allowed them to hunt animals in the surrounding areas. Their new alliance has them working together better than one would expect. Edward's mind-reading power allows him access to the "pack mind," which allows the wolf pack to communicate with him in their wolf form.
Complications of Turning
Bella's choice to become a vampire serves up heavy consequences, and she spends a lot of time contemplating the family and friends she'll leave behind when she begins her new life with Edward. She focuses on her graduation, knowing she'll only experience it as a human once, and tries to form ties to Edward in every way humanly possible. Alice, being the over-eager party planner she is, throws Bella a graduation bash and offers to plan her wedding—which will give proper closure to her family and friends.
Love for Jacob
Bella's always been devoted to Edward, so much so that she never fully explores the feelings she has for Jacob. When she realizes he can offer her more of a normal life—with a family, and a chance to grow old with the ones she loves—instead of parting with them to forever feed off blood, she begins to see him as a desirable partner.
It doesn't take long for the Cullens to realize that a whole army of newborn vampires are behind the brutal killings and disappearances in Seattle. Stephenie Meyer wrote that vampire armies were created to fight over feeding territories, but this one's purpose is a little different. We're introduced to bloodsucker Riley Biers, who's leading the army. His one goal: End the Cullen clan. In the bigger scheme of things, he's merely a puppet of the vengeful Victoria.
One of the younger recruits in the vampire army is Bree. Meyer wrote her background story in "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner," and her role in Eclipse sheds light on how merciless the Volturi can be on ignorant victims.
Along with getting to know Riley and Bree, there's a whole slew of info. that's helpful to know about newborn vampires: 1. Newborns are strongest in their first few months because of the residual human blood in their tissues. This would make them stronger than the Cullens. 2. The downside to being a newborn is that their bloodlust is difficult to control, as we've seen with Jasper's slip-up at Bella's birthday in New Moon. 3. Being a bloodthirsty newborn is one of Bella's greatest worries.
The Volturi's Caveat
As the ruling class of vampires, the Volturi decide if and when to intervene in the newborn vampires' situation (since they're breaking all the laws), and they've also given the Cullens an ultimatum for Bella: Turn her within a year, or they'll kill her. You won't see much of the Volturi in the third installment, but when they do make an appearance, expect some highly sadistic scenes with Jane and pay close attention to her encounter with Carlisle. Behind the Volturi's formal and proper façade lies questionable intent.
Eclipse finally reveals the background story of Rosalie—how she became a vampire, the suffering she endured and the reasons why she's always treated Bella unfairly. Yep, she's not just catty for no reason.
We're also treated to Jasper's flashback. When he was human, he served the Confederate army as a major during the time of the Civil War. When he was turned, his special ability to influence other's emotions became an asset to leading vampire armies. His experience with newborns gives the Cullens and the wolf pack an advantage over the vampire army.
Love at first sight is one way to explain what imprinting is. Exclusive to wolf pack members, it happens the first time they see their soul mate after transforming. Sam and Jared are the only ones who've imprinted. Because Sam has imprinted on Emily, he has an uncontrollable desire to be everything she needs, all the time.
The "top dog" of the wolf pack is Sam Uley, but being Alpha is actually Jacob's birthright since he's a descendant of Ephraim Black. Jacob is Beta, Sam's second in command, because he relinquished his birthright; he didn't want to be in a pack in the first place, let alone be its leader. One thing that's a must know: Wolf pack members can't disobey the orders of the Alpha wolf.
The Wolf Pack Grows
With so many vampires in Forks, the threat awakens the Quileutes' magic in their blood. Expect to see some new additions to the wolf pack, including Boo Boo Stewart, who plays Seth, and Julia Jones, who plays Leah.
The Quileutes' history with Cold Ones or vampires is ancient and shrouded in secrecy, but they decide to let Bella in on the details. The Quileutes were originally spirit warriors or shapeshifters (not actual werewolves that turned during a full moon). Taha Aki was the first Quileute to merge his spirit warrior with a wolf, beginning the werewolf line. When a Cold Woman began terrorizing their tribe, Taha Aki phased and fought with her. His wife—although powerless—inflicts on herself a fatal wound to distract the vampire with the scent of blood. It gives Taha Aki just enough time to defeat the bloodsucker. This story resonates with Bella, who also feels powerless in helping her friends fight the army of vampires.
As the only female member of the wolf pack, and one with a perpetual scowl on her face, Leah stands out quite a bit. She was Sam's girlfriend before he imprinted on Emily, but after he imprinted, he had no choice but to break up with her. You can't blame her for being bitter about that, and the fact that she has to take orders from him and hear his thoughts about Emily. Don't be surprised to see her lash out at Bella because of the effect she has on Jake.