Film Night: New Moon

9 Jul

They can actually smile, so why don't they in the movie?

What can you do to review anything related to Twilight when it’s become so big already and the target audience already have the DVD by now? The answer is to simply ignore the buzz and take the film on face value. I decided that with Eclipse coming out that now was the time to suck up my pride and go outside of my comfort zone for the cause of my reviews.

Where else could I go but the places I felt a resistance towards the most? Shiny vampires…

There is a wealth of material for the scoffing cynic to chew on if you take a good look, but that would take the fun out of the story (I kid, it’s the best part). This film was actually better in many ways than its predecessor. Aside from the first part of the opening scene, I could figure out exactly what was going on and why for the majority of the film. Now that isn’t because I’m drawn into the story that much, come on I have a rep to maintain. Having no prior knowledge of the story from the books or internet spoilers, I genuinely thought that maybe Jacob could win out and Edward would earn Bella back in the next movie but I was wrong (as usual, the more interesting way to drive the plot is ignored). This was a character driven piece with a star that acted like driftwood. I’m sorry Kristen Stewart, you’re hot but you know you can do better than this. None the less it attempted to show how Bella changed as a result of Edward leaving her to fend for herself.

In case you were wondering the results aren’t good, especially if you happen to be somebody that actually cares about her. I’m glad her Dad decided to put his foot down because if I had to deal with a housemate with emotional night terrors for three months, I’d consider drastic measures too. Bella starts being a little bit of a drama queen, and that would be ok if she had some other character traits but she doesn’t. The strongest performance came from Jacob, which isn’t saying much at all with a few scenes stolen by the side characters (Jacob’s Dad: “My kung fu is strong” for the win) which is a plus considering that Edward is absent for… almost the entire film. I’m sure that some won’t be disappointed that this movie is carried by abs, lots and lots of abs. Edward’s smoky visions popping up now and again sure didn’t help Bella stay out of trouble. In fact, is anybody else noticing that she seems to be the cause of a lot of problems but is completely ok with it? Edward leaves in order to protect her after some shiz goes down at her birthday dinner. Come on guys, you can’t seriously expect some viewers to believe throwing Bella through a table was going to help the situation. So what does she do? She decides to get into more trouble to lure him back. The selfish bitch…

I’d go as far as to say the movie is a smidge sexist underneath the skin but with Bella being such a manipulative bitch, I actually am not surprised that she won’t drive her own car if a man can do it for her. The whole time she’s having a mope about Edward, she’s actually playing everyone else for chumps. Whether it’s Jacob, her school friends or even Edward, she’s secretly exploiting them all just because she can. This is what aggravated me most about this particular movie, the main character suddenly becomes a giant douche and we’re still expected to care when she’s in danger. Wake up Jacob, the bitch be crazy! Bella’s got serious self esteem issues if she imagines that the only way she’ll get any attention from a man is if she’s in mortal peril. This ain’t the middle ages girl.

The relationship between Jacob and Bella added a much needed change of pace from all the emotional brooding. I almost forgot that she isn’t all that interesting to begin with. Having a little more insight into the werewolves and where they fit was a good move in terms of framing the story, though many of the action sequences managed to disappoint. Very little was at stake and the tension just wasn’t there. Only two people were killed on screen that mattered and even then they were only minor roles. The culture of the werewolves was explained very superficially and I had hoped there would be more, maybe there will be more in the next instalment but I have doubts.

Victoria motives for killing Bella were a tad sketchy at times, until it is revealed that Edward does actually care (of course, he wouldn’t just run off to Italy when he can stay in a hick town). But wouldn’t you think she’d be a little more effective, made me think that her heart just wasn’t in it. Revenge is a dish served cold, not luke warm without any particular commitment to achieving it. You can kill a werewolf chief in two seconds but you can’t kill a teenager that is trying to kill herself anyway? If she comes back for Eclipse she’d better have a little more gumption. The comparison of vampires’ and werewolves’ isn’t exactly very clear in this film which better sets up the possibility (more so, inevitability) of a struggle between them. If there is going to be any hope for this franchise picking up a male audience who don’t see it for the shirtless manservice, there gots to be some more Vampire vs. Werewolf throwdowns.

Towards the end of the film Bella manages to somehow run into Alice at the Cullen house and then finds out that Edward is beside himself with angsty sadness, believing that Bella is dead. Jacob worked his arse off to hit that only to have the grass cut from under him when he made serious headway. Bella goes to Italy to go find him, navigating here way through a festival full of people to tackle Edward before he shows off his shiny shiny self to the world. A little girl notices but nobody listens to kids. After that ordeal, the couple find themselves on their way to consult with the elder vampire, which requires a trip down in their haunted elevator with terrible music. It’s nice to have a change of scenery but there really isn’t much story told in this location. The sets were well designed and gave the Elders a more regal feel but I just couldn’t shake this Da Vinci Code vibe I was getting.

The soundtrack had a lot to be desired since the majority of it was simply for the benefit of the target audience. Sad sounding pop tunes droned through the entire film and when there were orchestrations they did not add much in the vein of creating a feel for the scene. More often than not some interesting looking stuff gets ruined by the soundtrack… and then the acting.

I laughed a little when the Elder vampire tried to read Bella but couldn’t find anything. Perhaps he’s the only character to uncover that there really isn’t much there. But I digress, after a bit of reading the future everyone is allowed to return home as long as Bella becomes a vampire fairly soon. They didn’t give an exact time limit on it but you can guess that in the next film it’ll be a major concern.

The only way I could perceive myself being able to review this film was to enter without any expectations whatsoever in order to remain entirely objective, and even in that I failed. As I mentioned before, I did not struggle to follow what was going on since a lot of the screen time was devoted to Bella and her feelings which were fairly well established after the first half hour let alone the rest. As I chose to ignore those facts, it was surprisingly easy to watch running at just over two hours which is quite a feat considering the subject matter. Compared the last film which felt as though it was shot as a music video, the plot really wasn’t all that disappointing. Despite not all that much more happening than the original, there was at least some potential for growth (even if that means many factors have room to improve).

The melodramatic ending to the piece made me scoff just a bit but considering the amount of pining those two do without each other it was only a matter of time before Bella and Edward would talk about getting married. Given the experience, it wasn’t as though it didn’t fit the genre despite being a little tacked on and entirely predictable in the progression of things. Poor Jacob gets stiffed after doing all of the work the entire film (that includes the acting AND man candy) but who cares right? Edward’s back! Huzzah…

In conclusion all I can say about New Moon is this. If you are to enjoy it in any way then you will need to bring your sense of humour because it’s a bumpy ride to the end. Mock early and mock often.

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2 Responses to “Film Night: New Moon”

  1. newgeekphilosopher July 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Finally you uploaded this.

    Better than your “Justified” review. You tried really hard, but try and put titles of films and shows in italics. It’s what plants crave! Can’t complain about much else.

    I thought that the Elder Vampire Volturi dude was a bit camp, and you didn’t even mention the werewolf wrestling in a somewhat suspect manner. But to call the vampires and werewolves gay in this film would be a disservice to legitimate homosexuals. I even know some who are far less wussy than this, so the part where Jacob says “I didn’t choose to be a werewolf, I was born this way!” – smacks of Mormon moralising. Come on. Even you can admit that.

    The night terrors thing was just weird. I mean Bella needs psychiatric help basically. She’s a sociopath – worse than the manga version of Welcome to the NHK. Even Misaki in NHK has more reason to be messed up in her relationships than Bella does – Bella’s just a douchebag. Dick Masterson would probably be calling out Twilight as a reason why men should be AFRAID of women.

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