By JP Chapman | November 20, 2009
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer(s): Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay); Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Starring:Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner, Charlie Bewley, Jamie Campbell Bower, Daniel Cudmore, Christopher Heyerdahl, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Michael Sheen, Noot Seer, Chaske Spencer, Bronson Pelletier, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon, Tyson Houseman, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reedand, Jackson Rathbone
Music: Alexandre Desplat
New moon, new moon, new moon…what do we have to say to each other. If I were a 12 year old girl, I would be satisfied with your knowing glances, and disjointed (but perfectly sculpted) plot movements. But alas, I am not. I am a grown man, and you have robbed me of my innocence…
My goodness, this was one of the more interesting screenings that I have attended in quite some time. I feel it necessary to set up my viewing experience in the theatre, as I’m sure your situation will be the same should you decide to brave New Moon (aside from my island of safety amongst fellow reviewers). Rows upon rows of young girls were behind me, with (disturbingly so) an oddly equal amount of middle-aged women accompanying them in matching Twilight gear. Screams of glee, nervous laughter, and whispering were constant throughout the screening. These factors were expected, but an additional unexpected thing also accompanied this onslaught of tween mocking laughter. Yes, even the kiddies could tell in numerous scenes that director Chris Weitz was taking this whole vampire story a little too seriously…
For anyone that didn’t catch Twilight, it followed the story of Bella Swan- a young high schooler transplanted to Forks, Washington to live with her estranged police chief father. Immediately upon arrival, it became clear that things in Forks were a little different…For starters, a beautifully mysterious family known as the Cullens were avoided by all. But Bella couldn’t stop herself from gazing into their smoky, golden eyes. Long story short, the Cullens turned out to be a family of vampires that had sworn off feeding on humans (only the blood of animals for them), and Edward Cullen fell hopelessly in love with Bella. A fight with some bad vampires picked up (they wanted to feed on Bella), Edward saved the day, and things went on happily ever after….until they didn’t. New Moon opens with Bella realizing that although she loves being with Edward, she is going to age and die, and he won’t. Thus begins her desire to become a vampire. At a birthday party at the Cullens’, Bella gets a paper cut while opening a present, prompting Jasper (another Cullen vampire) to go blood crazy and try to kill Bella. Disaster is averted, but the damage has been done and Bella uses this event as evidence that she must be turned. Edward comes to a different conclusion though. Bella will never be safe with him in her life, and he won’t put her through a life of immortality (not all fun and games, you know). He forces all of the Cullens to move out of Forks, breaking Bella’s little heart and telling her she’ll never see him again. Bella mourns the loss for months upon months, but eventually finds solace in her childhood friend, Jacob Black’s arms….who also turns out to be a werewolf. The movie mainly focuses around Bella fighting the urge to love Jacob (she still loves Edward) while simultaneously being freaked out that one of the bad vampires is still around and trying to kill her.
Wow. This movie.
Maybe I was just put off by the hundreds of young girls squealing in joy all around me, but it sincerely felt like a group of Hollywood executives read this book over a long weekend, then got together for a 20 min. brainstorming session over how they could best make porn for 12 yr olds. The resulting movie is not good. There are stale performances, bad dialogue, and bad CGI all over the place. And the thing that hit me hardest, was that this movie was better than the previous movie, as well as its book version (I shamefully have read it….let’s not get into that). Chris Weitz has taken a rushed feeling franchise and definitely improved upon it, but that still doesn’t mean that he’s done good work. I’d like to take a moment to pick out my favorite parts of the movie:
- Anything with Edward…he’s too dreamy. Man, from the moment Robert Pattison walks in his first frame (shirt and hair blowing in the wind in slow motion), to his awesome ghostly Obi-Wan Kenobi style appearances in Bella’s mind after he leaves (that the audience is allowed to see…they are so, so, so bad), Chris Weitz pulls no punches about giving the little girls what they want to see…
- …which leads to Jacob Black. Holy crap-they had this kid spend 90% of his screen time in nothing but daisy dukes. His fleshy shots were so over the top ridiculous, it was laughable.
- And finally the CGI. It felt like the SyFy channel’s effects teams were commissioned to make “realistic” looking werewolves…seriously, poorly done.
Beyond these three things; we’re left with not cool, not scary looking vampires, over-emoting kid actors (Kristen Stewart’s anguished screaming in her sleep after Edward leaves is particularly bad), and a story line of filler.
I want to say something nice…so…one big upswing of this movie was the soundtrack. Moving away from the modern rock of the first movie, the Thom Yorke and Muse heavy soundtrack helped this movie maintain a more suitable dark tone. Additionally, Alexandre Desplat’s score had some cool moments that sounded influenced by Paul McCartney and George Martin’s collaborations post Revolver.
Having read the book, and considering it to be the worst of the series (*sigh* yes, I read all 4), Chris Weitz may not be as much to blame as I’m making it sound. But overall, this was not a well done movie. People (even the fans) laughing out loud at the cheesiness of your scenes is not a good thing. If you or your loved one read the book, go see the movie still–it could be argued that this stuff is intended to be campy/fun (not sure if that argument could win though). That being said, this is not one of the better vampire movies, or even holiday movies to see if you’re looking for a good film.