Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon Review

Yesterday was the day. I took a long weekend, dragged my 30+ year old self down the street to the Scotiabank Theatre to meet my friend Emma, waited in a line up for 90 minutes with a bunch of teenagers to see: squealThe Twilight Saga: New Moonsqueal.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should confess that any comments on the movie are clouded by the bottle of wine that I drank before and during the film. I will be seeing it again next week with another friend, and am gonna be sober for the second sitting. I am pretty sure there are a few things I don’t remember. On a somewhat unrelated note, did you know that if you pour an entire bottle of wine into a Nalgene bottle, it really doesn’t look like that much?

Anyways…..New Moon is infinitely better than Twilight. This movie is not and is unlikely to ever be a critically acclaimed movie series. It is currently sitting at
38% amongst the Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes. But the critics have not in any way discouraged the masses from seeing it. The Twilight Saga: New Moon has shattered the opening day record previously held by The Dark Knight, taking in an estimated $72.7 million dollars on Friday. Which is more than Twilight made on it’s opening weekend.

Considering the grand fromage of the source material, I think that script writer Melissa Rosenberg and director Chris Weitz did a decent job keep the schmaltz in check. It was and will always be total cheese, but there were only a few times when I actually threw up in my mouth just a little. Case in point: the scene where Alice “sees” Edward and Bella running through the woods – which I guess was supposed to be our first glimpse of a “changed” Bella. Snort. It was ridiculous and completely overdone. And other, much better known bloggers have commented on the catwalk style of Edward's entrance in the film.... totally spot on. And while I understand that Edward is much more intelligent than anyone in the school, couldn't he fake the fact that he is a student by bringing a notebook, or at least a pen? Come on, if you are worried about being found out, wouldn't you at least carry a backpack?

Thankfully the dark and moody blue lighting was replaced with more earth tones. Chris Weitz also chose to ditch the swirling, disjointed camera shots that Catherine Hardwick used in Twilight – except for the scene with Bella moping in the same chair (and strangely in the same sweatpants) while the camera panned around her, showing time passing outside her window after Edward leaves. I thought it was really well done.

Overall I thought the acting from all was decent. Nothing award winning, but not as amateurish as Twilight was. I am an unabashed fan of Kristen Stewart, and I thought that she did a great job again. I much prefer the Bella that she portrays as opposed to the Bella from Stephanie Meyer’s books. Rob was very very pretty and tortured and brooding. And did I mention pretty? Taylor Lautner did good – but, I’m sorry, I just can’t take him seriously in the role of Jacob. He looks 16. Jacob is supposed to look 25. It just doesn’t do it for me. But he was fine. And his abs are crazy sick.

As I expected, I very much enjoyed Anna Kendrick's Jessica. For the few lines she had - amazing. According to an interview I saw recently with Melissa Rosenberg, she was one of the only cast members whose improvised lines were consistently better than the scripted lines written by Rosenberg. Love her. Can't wait for Up in the Air. Also – can I tell you how much I love Billy Burke as Charlie? Funny and sweet and fantastic. He can rock that moustache like no-one I have seen before. Love the 'stache.

The Volturi were appropriately menacing. Michael Sheen’s Aro was perfectly over the top – a little campy, but clearly dangerous. Dakota Fanning needs to play a villain more often. With one sideways glance her Jane could cut anyone down to size. The wolfpack were shirtless. Which is pretty much all I have to say. They were shirtless. A lot. Actually, the whole time. Shirtless brown boys = goodness.

With few exceptions, the styling and look of the Vampires was far superior to Twilight. From the red and topaz eyes, to the clothes, to most of their hair. One noticeable exception is the incredibly hot in real life Jackson Rathbone. Jackson plays the unfortunate Jasper, whose hair made me laugh out loud. What was with that lock that was falling into his eyes? Bwahhhh. Even though Rachelle Lefevre was only in the film for about 2 minutes in total she looked awesome – her hair was flaming red as it should have been in Twilight.

The effects were good in parts and laughable in others. When Bella went cliff diving for instance. The diving - good. Even when she is getting hammered by the waves = good. but when she was knocked out? WTF was that? The position of her body was ridiculous. It was stiff and unnatural and not what would happen if you were in the water. Badness. The wolves were decent – their few fight scenes were fast and furious and pretty hard to follow. The scenes in Italy were beautifully shot – from Bella running through the crowds to find Edward to the Volturi chambers.

Overall, I found The Twilight Saga: New Moon the movie to be vastly superior to Twilight. Granted the budget was almost double that of the first flick. But the whole thing was just better for me. Yes it was cheese. Yes I laughed out loud at a few of the lines (but that was due to the horror that is Stephanie Meyer’s writing). But I am much happier with this one than with Twilight. Well done Chris Weitz. Well done!

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