23 November 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Taylor Lautner
Adapated for the screen by Melissa Rosenberg
Based on the novel "New Moon" by Stephenie Meyer
Directed by Chris Weitz
Summit Entertainment, 130 mins., Rated PG-13

Go see New Moon! Featuring a revolutionary performance by Kristen Stewart in which she limits her lip biting to TWO scenes and delivers every emotional line of dialog in a monotone, forgetful and delirious voice; multiple redundant conversations with two broody boys basically repeating the SAME conversation of two scenes ago; a female protagonist who is the exact opposite of a role model for young girls - going anti-social, suicidal, suffering nightmares, and sorta turnin’ druggie just because a boy in your life goes bye-bye; a iTunes playlist of unspectacular, emo songs to perfectly compliment a equally emo movie; two leads whose kiss appears to be as awkward and painful as a lobster clinching ones private parts, but doesn’t nearly amount to the painfulness of an audience member having to watch it; and finally, a bunch of guys who take their shirts without any reason whatsoever.

Yes, my opinion on The Twilight Saga: New Moon means jack shooters, because this juggernaut is gonna rank in some Revenge of the Fallen bucks, sirs. There’s not a day that goes by that the Twilight merchandise section in my store doesn’t get eye-goggled by a bunch of teen gals, or someone picks up one of our $29.99 cardboard cut outs of our dear beloved Eddie. Er, Edward, I mean. [But Edward sounds so edgy and oldyish; for the sake of bromance and a less broody sounding protagonist, I’m calling him Eddie] But dang nabbit, I sat in the theater and watched this 2 hour and 10 minute movie, and I gots me some things to say.

First off, a plot summary! Not like anyone who reading this doesn’t (probably) already know the story’s plot, but what the Edward: a few months after the romantic events of nearly dying by a crazed ex-O.C. cast member and having your boyfriend constantly wanting to kill you, Eddie and Bella are keeping it cool. Eddie still walks in slow motion, and still doesn’t know about the centuries old invention of a hair brush. But sadly, all the time Bella spends with Eddie ostracizes her from her other buddies, including Jacob Black, the resident Indian dude with long hair who is dying for the opportunity to ask this gal out. Luckily for him, a near fatal birthday surprise at the Cullen house sends Eddie & family packing, afraid they might cause harm to the deer little lass…

No need to fear, because Bella’s so distraught, she goes out of her way to self-inflict some hurt. She rides on a motorcycle with some random tattooed dude in town, she jumps off a cliff, and attempts to learn how to drive a motorcycle (with the all-too-innocent help of Jakie, who by no means has a unsubtle crush on our lead actress and totally loves Eddie) all to achieve a “rush”, as in freakishly seeing apparitions of Eddie that look even more freakier than Eddie looks like in real life! (shudder at the thought) The funny part is that Ghost Eddie keeps coaching Bella to do things a girl of regular everyday intelligence would know, but this being Bella, she needs it told to her by her ghostly hubby; there’s just some moments that are just too darn funny.

Well, the last half hour of the movie kicks into overdrive as Bella’s extracurricular activities (read: cliff jumping) leads Eddie to believe his long lost love is…lost, and intends to show off his glowly, sparkily self to all of Italy, thus exposing his kind, and hopefully get killed by his good Vampire clan buddies the Volturi. Sadly, Eddie lives, Bella and Eddie are reunited, and all is good and the world.

Oh, and there’s another crucial element to New Moon: a love triangle! During Eddie’s departure, Bella begins to use her friend Jacob as a distraction, sorta leading him on without any intention of following through (biotch). But things get really complicated as it is revealed Jakie is going through “some changes.” Changes, as in, gaining the ability to transform into a giant, cute puppy with a mighty growl complex. In summary, Eddie leaves Bella, Bella sad, Bella uses Jacob for distraction, Jacob fancies Bella, Bella loco, you won’t like Jacob when he’s angry, Bella-Eddie-Jakie triangle.

Here concludith New Moon, the much heralded superior successor to Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 adaptation Twilight. My opinion: the first was better, but I get why Hardwicke probably wouldn’t be suitable to helm this pic; she’s not all that familiar with special visual effects, although director Chris Weitz (brother of Paul Weitz who helmed the equally disastrous but much less entertaining Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, which really does showcase some of the most bland performances in the history of Harry Potter-cashin’Ville) has some experience with his less than stellar The Golden Compass some while back, though most notably for making Nicole Kidman actually look hot. New Moon is longer than the first, and plays more or less like a extended episode of some teen series where a woman is split between two really bad guy candidates with a monster-ish psychopathic tendency, but has to choose one of ‘em. Anyway, sorry about the detour, but Hardwicke was at least able to get some deep emotional pull from the story and the actors, something that is saddeningly absent from this picture, despite being a far more emotional story!

Right off the bat, I’ll bring up some things I liked: the very first shot of the wolves in the trees was very, very cool. Actually, it wasn’t cool; it was quite frightening, really. I thought that visual would have made a pretty cool horror flick. The chase after Victoria in the woods as she’s jumping about and using the trees to her advantage as the Wolfies run after her as some well timed music plays: that was good. Plus, the moment where she sticks her head out of the water – e-e-r-i-e!!! There’s also a wolf fight between one of the sorta villainy dudes from the first one and said wolves – it’s quite cool, although I wish it was extended longer. And, er, I guess out of all the main character performances, Taylor Lautner was the, um, “best.”

One particular, no-brainer awesome performance comes from Michael Sheen, choosing not to freak me out today with his scary eyebrows (a la Forst/Nixon), who plays the main head honcho in charge of the Volturi, a vampire organization that is basically The Law. Sheen appears to be having a absolute blast, as he waves his hands around, shows off some pretty red eyes, and is overall completely charismatic as he talks in a slow, deliberate voice. I would rewatch these last minutes over and over because Sheen is just mesmerizing to watch. And the sight of Eddie getting his ass handed to him is just too good to ignore commenting.

Now, a question that’s been puzzling me: is there a particular reason that once a member of Jacob’s fan club finds out they’re a wolf-in-name-only, they choose to go about their day without their shirt? I’m frankly surprised we didn’t see a grocery store scene where he had his shirt off, or going to the public bathroom with his shirt off, or even helping an old lady across a street…shirtless. Is it a ‘one-with-wilderness’ thing? I get the obvious female eye candy thing, but logistically: um, why?

For the bad stuff, I’m not going to spend a gazillion hours chronicling every non-Oscar-level moment in this movie, or I’ll never get done. The jist is: Kristen Stewart doesn’t act in this movie. In the first, there were moments of a genuine performance. In New Moon, I honestly can’t tell you, pinpoint, or possibly surmise any scene where she changed her ‘performance’ even one iota molecule or whatever. The same monotone, zombie-ish performance that is somehow lacking compared to Rob Pattinson (shudders). Pattinson is as pale as ever, and totally digging his ‘totally hot self’, but never once conveys a sense of being a remotely interesting or likable person. Speaking of which, the ‘lovers’ are about the most blah, uncharismatic group I’ve ever seen. Whenever they kiss, it really looks like Pattinson is constipated, and Stewart is just bopping her head back and forth with her lips outstretched to get the scene completed. Both of them look like they’re in actual physical pain! Sure, Eddie really wants to kill Bella and suck her blood dry, but where’s the tiny wincy hint of romance? There’d probably be more chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Christopher Lee, though who’d ever wanna watch a scene with those two together..

And this brings us to Taylor Lautner, the dude who spends at minimum an hour of running time shirtless, broody, longing, and possibly really trying to improve his acting ‘skills.’ To be fair, Lautner is a pretty likable guy, and has the short end of the stick. The majority of girls are goo-goo ga-ga over Mr. DcDreamy & Perfect-o Eddie, so it probably takes a bit for the gals to accept him in lieu of constipated Pattison. I don’t have much to say about Taylor, but good luck sir. You were one of the least annoying aspects of the movie, although you had some pretty bad performance moments yourself, but I’m rooting for you in the next two. And good luck with Breaking Dawn, because apparently that’s going to be a doozy.

I read the first Twilight book before it became a national phenomenon, and never really got into it enough to read the second, so I’m watching these movies with a fresh eye. The plotline itself, the devastating effects of a breakup with ones ‘true love’ is definitely interesting and worth exploring, but the way it’s presented, it’s a little unfortunate. Bella wakes up with night terrors for months and becomes entirely anti-social. This is the bit where I could go into Bella being a horrible role model for young girls, but that’s been brought up so many bloody times and is on the verge of being as annoying as Stewart’s presence in a movie, so I’ll skip that for now. Interesting idea, just wish it was presented in a different light. The idea of Jacob and how he nudges his way in-between her and Eddie is also interesting, as well as his “dark passenger” (hehehe, oh I crack myself up).

Good ideas, it’s just the story, the way it was presented…I just don’t like how it was written, I guess. How Bella reacts, and the shell of a person she becomes after Eddie’s departure… Gah, is all I can say without getting too into it. Gah! Gah! Guh!

I ragged on New Moon a lot in this review; and for that I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. It just reads so well as Mystery Science Theater potential there were just some things that couldn’t be left unsaid. Overall, New Moon is a ‘good’ movie. Fine, well crafted, good cinematography; music composition and selection could use a little work, and the ‘actors’ could use quite a lot of work. But nonetheless, I’m dumb enough that in June 2010, I’ll be one of those people sitting in the theater Kit Kat bar in one hand and a Dr. Pepper in the other ready to immerse myself in a third helping of Eddie, Bella, and Jakie. Until then folks, vote for Team Jacob! (I kid, I kid; no really, don’t vote, at all)

1 comment:

Jenna D. said...

I'm so in love with you right now! This was great! This was definitely a very smart way of insulting NEW MOON. Your writing is very inspiring and a delight to read as well, you very funny man. As one of your admirers, keep up the good work,and I can't wait to see your next review. Cheers!