I went to see New Moon (dir Chris Weitz, adapted from the novel by Stephenie Meyer) with the film posse. I really had nothing to lose (so I thought). This was film time with friends. It would offset the heavy world cinema films I was watching (which were all good, BTW). I thought there would be a disconnect when I saw this film. That I would not like it based on the fact it’s a generation thing. I dismissed this notion knowing my love for supernatural creatures would win out.
Mind you, my ears have been burning about how bad the Twilight books are. Only two people I know actually read them, but it’s got vampires AND werewolves! How can that be a fail? This is gonna be fun!
Well I am most disappointed in this film. While it’s billed as a romance/fantasy, it fails at both.
At first glance, New Moon has a lot in common with soap operas, romance novels, and to a great extent shoujo manga (girl’s comics)/anime. I say shoujo manga cause let’s face it, where else do characters sparkle? I did expect rose petals or feathers to fall from the sky too. It was that kind of scene when I beheld Edward’s “skin glow” moment. I confess to laughing. I wasn’t ready for it. Shoujo usually brings the romance, the love triangles, and the melodrama, which can range from excellent to sweet or syrupy. Bella’s depression reminds me of how some female characters in manga/anime behave. Her tailspin lasts for months.
The pacing of this film is disgustingly slow. So slow my mind began to stray from the film, which is never good. There is a lot of standing around and hearing plenty of dialog. What’s up with that? The film slows itself to a crawl that by time the action comes in, I was hoping it would stay.
New Moon could be better served if the director removed several chunks of the dialog, and added much more action. As an adaptation, I don’t think a few liberties would be too upsetting to make cuts or add action. Not necessarily fighting action, but doing something other than standing around. There so many long-winded speeches that lack any wit to make them fun.
Typically in a romance you have a triangle, which is not surprising that Jacob comes in the picture. Here’s the problem: Jacob never has a chance with Bella. He’s on the edge, waiting for a moment to make a move. Bella keeps him at bay in such a way it appears she’s toying with his emotions.
I like the character of Alice (Ashley Greene). She seems a little kooky, but real at the same time. She also speaks the truth to Bella about getting herself into some really dumb situations.
As a romance it lacks the depth that I’d like to see. Edward’s love seems on the surface. Bella (Kristen Stewart) seems far more interested in being a vampire, and literally harps on the fact of being made into one. Maybe that’s why Edward walked away. She’s such a damn nag.
Looking at the character of Bella, she is most annoying, and prone to acts of great stupidity. She begins taking on high risk behaviors by riding with strangers, bike riding (nearly killing herself), and cliff diving. Her friends are appendages and she ignores them as well. Her poor father is confused and unable to help her at all.
None of her risks seem to pan out. She keeps seeing ghost images of Edward (Robert Patterson). This is how we know Jacob and her won’t hook up. She’s got Edward on the brain all the time. She knows she’s using Jacob (Taylor Lautner), but she doesn’t care. That’s jerky for someone in emotional need.
Speaking of jerks, what’s up with Edward? Why does Edward he leave Bella so completely unguarded when he knows Victoria wants to kill her? Edward acts completely moronic to service the plot, which to me equates to failure in the story. Even further evidence of Edward’s stupidity comes when a phone call is all it takes to confirm that Bella’s died. Had he done a little investigation of his own, he would have known the truth.
Edward should be smarter than this. Someone suggested that this is a “young adult” to me, therefore it should not be allowed to have crappy plots. That is a feeble excuse for piss poor writing. The statement suggests that young adult readers don’t deserve a good plot or consistent characters.
On the other hand, as I stated about George Lucas films, I suspect the story is rife with old school melodrama influences. It is an outdated method of story telling where things can happen to characters for no real reason. For a modern audience, we need contemporary storytelling techniques. There can be a dozen reasons for Edward leaving Bella that kept the character intact, and still retain melodramatic elements.
As vampires we get some really neutered and spayed blood drinkers. They aren’t predatory (except Victoria). They’re kinda sweet and misunderstood. In other words boring and safe. Who the hell creates boring and safe vampires. That;’s like a cocaine dealer who’s cocaine only makes your nose “tingle a little bit.” Seriously. Why introduce a dark, supernatural creature only to pretty it up? We have a taboo relationship that only flirts with danger, then plays it safe.
The Volturi (ancient vampires) look promising with their ancient, grandiose ways. Actor Michael Sheen (who played the werewolf Lucien in the Underworld series) plays Aro with some weight and bite to his role. Too bad he’s not featured more into the plot. He’s have brought more shine than sparkle to this film. Only in Italy do we see how dangerous the vampires are, not only to Bella and Edward, but to tourists whom they prey on.
Can we call Jacob and company, “werewolves?” They’re more like mutants who turn into giant sized wolfs. Mind you, they look intimidating enough, but the aspect of a wolf with human attributes (which could be genuinely creepy) gets lost here. They’re more like animal totems.
To me, Twilight is a phenomenon that refuses to acknowledge characters, plot, or even real vampires. It does know how to turn up the old school melodrama AND the scenery. In other words, “oooh pretty.” I found myself calling this the first the many Vampire Weepies!