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Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years ago

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Written 11/20/09

I’ve never read the book in my life and from the gathered pieces of information from nephews and friends; I don’t feel I need to read it in order to follow what’s going on. Yes, there’s a lot more in the book, but truth be told… my crash audio course on “Twilight” has been laid to rest as I think I know where to go from here.

I’ll be honest and say the first one really threw me off a bit because well… I went into this expecting a vampire movie and expected all there is to know about their existence, survival and way of life during contemporary times… a-la “True Blood” (which in my opinion is the BEST in vampire presentations in this day and age) “Twilight” wound up to be nothing more than a dragging story of seduction. I get it! That’s how it’s written, but come on man… why the misguidance?!

I was able to look past it and pick up on pieces I felt like something somewhat close towards what I was looking for… that was then, this is now. A year later after having watched the trailer for months now (since the spring) something about this saga (no pun) caught my attention and lured me in. Perhaps it was the trailer… maybe it was the raving from those close to me who are die hard fans or perhaps it was that simple mentality of “I wonder how they’ll play this one out?” No matter what the cause, I took the dive and well… it was okay… personally speaking. It didn’t bore me… even though build up was almost like watching paint drying, but there was some good substance. The mixture of drama between men and a woman, the coexisting of forced truce, dramatic power playing, rooting for the unexpected and caught up with the hoopla of cool wolves and vampire scenes led to carrying the film off pretty well. I wouldn’t say at its TOPS, but good. So good, I actually felt every character’s objectives and flaws approaching their lines of accomplishments. Pretty darn good and since I have STILL have the film in my head piece by piece… something’s telling me to let loose and I’ll do just that.

"This is the last time you'll ever see me," Edward Cullen says to Bella Swan. As if.

Spoken early on in "New Moon," that promise is one of the least likely to be kept in movie history. With most of that film still to unfold, and two more adaptations of Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series in the works, the next due out as soon as next summer, the world is going to see as much of Kristen Stewart's melancholy Bella and Robert Pattinson's undead Edward as it can take. Maybe more… In the short term, however, Edward is as good as his word and "New Moon" suffers as a result. Constrained by the plot of the novel, the film keeps the two lovers apart for quite a spell, robbing the project of the crazy-in-love energy that made "Twilight," the first entry in the series, such a guilty pleasure. And believe me as a 35 year old man having watched this film is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Guilty because I’m not a 15 year old girl and pleasure because no matter what, the art of film never ceases to amaze me… but that’s irrelevant. Lets us move on… "New Moon," which has been grandly titled "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" in honor of that first episode's huge success, marks the franchise's entrance into the self-protective, don't rock the boat phase of its existence, which is inevitable but a bit of a shame.

In place of "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, a filmmaker of intense, sometimes overwhelming and out of control emotionality who seemed to feel these teenage characters in her bones, "New Moon" has gone with the more polished Chris Weitz. A smooth professional whose credits include such adaptations as "The Golden Compass" and "About a Boy," Weitz makes the vampire trains of Melissa Rosenberg's capable script run on time, but he almost seems too rational a director for this kind of project. This lack of animating madness combined with the novel's demands give much of "New Moon" a marking time quality. Yes, I know, "New Moon's" emotional energy is supposed to come through Bella's attachment to newly buff best friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). But though audiences gasp when Jacob uses his shirt to stump Bella's blood (don't ask) and reveals a torso that would make Charles Atlas swoon, the connection between these two is so self-evidently non-romantic that it turns out not to be much of a diversion. How and why that was the approach is beyond me, but I guess intrigue or desire seems to be a bit lustier than the act. Whatever…More interesting is Jacob's discovery that as a member of the fierce Quileute tribe he is prone to turning into an exceptionally large wolf at a moment's notice, a wolf whose main objective in life is to safeguard humans from vampires. In addition to pining for Edward, Bella suddenly finds herself in the middle of age-old and bitter enmities. This is one hard-luck young woman.

Before all this can happen, however, Edward has to break up with Bella. It's not like you can't see this coming, what with all the bickering these two do about whether she should be changed into a vampire, with Bella in the affirmative and Edward, worried, it seems, about her immortal soul, preferring she stay in human form. Finally, weary of having family gatherings turn into howling crises whenever Bella gets a paper cut, Edward tells Bella he and his clan will be leaving town and see her no more. Given everything that passed between them in the previous film, this is a wildly unconvincing moment, but Bella is devastated and proceeds to spend much of her high school senior year sitting in her room watching the weather change.

At a certain point, Bella realizes that should she get into trouble, Edward will appear to her, much like a Bernadette of Lourdes-type glowing vision, offering sound advice (what a guy). This turns her into something of an adrenaline junkie, courting disaster after disaster just for a glimpse of the one that got away. All this gets to be so troublesome and confusing that Edward decides to make a dramatic and possibly life-changing appearance before the Volturi and their minions, the closest thing vampires have to a they-who-must-be-obeyed ruling class. These folks are so powerful, they are played by high-profile actors like Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning. As Jimmy Durante might have said, where vampires are concerned, everybody wants to get into the act.

I feel this was better than the first one and I guess looking forward to a bit more. I’m done living my twi-life through this review. So until 2010’s Eclipse… peace!



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