Friday, November 20, 2009

Love: New Moon



Let’s establish some things first. I have Twilight cred. I have read all of the books, and totally loved and appreciated the first one, and mostly enjoyed the remaining three with some reservations that we aren’t going to start fighting about here. I also thought that the first movie, or Twilight, was absolute crap and an embarrassment to the resume of all involved, especially director Catherine Hardwicke, regardless of how it fit in with the books. Thankfully, she was fired.

New Moon, the much anticipated, sparklely and shirtless sequel, is not only fun to watch due to the multiple young men with six pack abs, but is also beautifully photographed, has great action, and captures the gothic/romantic spirit of the books that launched a billion Hot Topic tee shirt sales.



After an incident that reveals Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) fragility, vampire boyfriend and true love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, in case you didn’t already know) vanishes from her life to protect her from future harm. Enter slightly more grown up, buffer, and Native American werewolf (the movie leaves out the more convoluted rules about shape shifting) Jacob Black (youngster Taylor Lautner), who saves the day. Bella, still reeling from the vampire drama, slips slowly into a puppy love that ends up being unrequited after Cullen returns, leaving little Jake alone in the woods with his pack, just as Edward left Bella.



It’s Lautner that ends up stealing the show. The man who fought to keep his part shows off his hard work both physically and emotionally, and plays Black with perfect, sincere sweetness and frustration. More importantly, Lautner holds the sexual tension. Forget the Bella/Edward love affair; Stewart and Lautner show incredible chemistry that saturates the film. It keeps the pressure between the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle high, playing off of the driving force that makes the books so attractive and page turning.

The other actors also seem to have gotten a boost from new director Chris Weitz. The previously wooden Pattinson and Stewart actually show real emotion and facial expressions, something that seemed out of their grasp in the first film. Most exciting for a fan of the books is the change in Ashley Greene’s Alice, who is transformed from boring and quiet to her proper place as perky and electric. Perhaps, its because Weitz is able to capture the introspective nature of the books, which are mostly narrated by Bella, a place where Hardwicke failed horribly. Mastering that perspective is the key to keeping the film interesting, maintaining the flow, and giving the actors a stake in the film. The film isn't just dramatic, it's also funny with a well written script, allowing the actors a little breathing room.



To top it off, Weitz captures the haunting backdrop of the books by bringing in rich color, and lush surroundings, making the film pop off the screen; a huge change from Hardwicke’s homage to bad, melodramatic monster movies. The scene in which Bella leaps from a cliff and ends up in the water with an imagined Edward and killer red headed vampire on her heels is absolutely stunning. The vampires finally look simultaneously more normal (remember the horrible wigs and strange hair we witnessed in the first one?) and more exotic. The CGI werewolves are a bit shocking at first, but begin to fit more seamlessly as the film goes along. Weitz also took the fight scenes multiple notches above Hardwicke’s film and it’s clear why the ability to make a decent one became an issue in her firing.

New Moon is not the greatest film ever made, but it’s certainly a decent one. It’s fun for girls and guys, Twilighters and non-Twilighers alike, and has enough to feed the romantic souls of Team Jacob members and Team Edward members for generations to come. If there is fault here, it's not in the moving making, but in the original source material.






P.S.
Twilight
New Moon and New Moon Pictures

5 comments:

  1. Ugh. Damnit woman, you're forcing my hand, i don't think i can rest until i know for sure this movie sucks as badly as i want it to.

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  2. I know, it's awful. Perhaps its so good because the first one is soooo bad. I went in expecting to all asleep.

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  3. jacob keep your shirt on no one likes that edward all the way

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  4. me and my freinds are edward fans so please jacob keep your shirt on cus we don't want the whole world to puke.

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