Twilight: Does it really suck? Part 2: New Moon
By Jordan Goodier
Ladies, gentlemen, werewolves and vampires, I am both shocked and ever so slightly appalled to tell you that I actually enjoyed watching New Moon; at least at first. The climax of the film wasn’t bad either, actually, but there was a definite bump in the middle of the road; a bump the size of Mount Everest. And I can point at one werewolf and say without an inkling of doubt in my mind that it was all his fault. It was the writer’s fault, actually, they messed up half way through the film.
New Moon was the hotly anticipated sequel to the romantic fantasy film Twilight, released a year before. The film is directed by Chris Weitz and once again written by Melissa Rosenberg, whose writing skills appear to have improved since the last iteration. The basic story of this film is that after a small accident, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) decides that “his world” is too dangerous for Bella (Kristen Stewart) and decides that she’ll be better off without him and his family in her life. They up and leave town, leaving the heartbroken Bella all by her lonesome. This is when Jacob Black, childhood friend (and a character I rather liked in the first film) of Bella’s, comforts her whilst she deals with her heartbreak. She also becomes an adrenaline “junkie” because it, for some reason, allows her to see Edward. That last part still confuses the heck out of me.
I enjoyed watching New Moon; I don’t believe it’s as bad as Twilight, if you can believe it. The first act of the film, though it could prove a tad depressing for some viewers due to the nature of it, was actually enjoyable. I liked seeing Jacob bond with Bella over motorbikes. Taylor Lautner was doing some decent acting, as in the previous film. Kristen’s performance was still as bland as ever, overall, but the script had her either do such crazy things with her adrenaline junkie urges that t was interesting to watch, or put her with characters that I liked.
Bella’s school friends are given slightly better material to work with and are thus, slightly more fun to watch than in Twilight. There’s an amusing scene in which Bella goes to the cinema with one of her friends who has had a crush on her since she first arrived in Forks. There’s a scene early on in the film in which Carlisle Cullen and Bella have a heart to heart, which I enjoyed because I’m a fan of Carlisle. He’s a decent character and Facinelli’s still one of the strongest actors in the film; which is why I was a tad annoyed when that was basically his only scene in this one. Burke, as Charlie Swan, gives a decent performance, but isn’t given too much to do again.
The majority of this film focuses on Bella and Jacob and therein lays the problem. Kristen’s performance lies unchanged from the previous film, with little to no improvement, and I’ve stated my position on that. Lautner on the other hand gave a performance I enjoyed in the first film and for the first half of this movie. His acting is pretty solid, he’s a cheery sort of fellow that smiles and laughs a lot (an amusing contrast to Kristen in their scenes together, for the most part). Then we hit the second half of the film. Jacob cuts all his hair off, quite literally takes his top off all the time and gone is his previous cheery self. He’s replaced by Edward 2.0. I’m not even joking, he basically becomes Edward in the second half of the film except he takes his top off, which y’know, Edward can’t do being a shiny vampire and all. His acting becomes as wooden as Kristen’s and Robert’s during their worst scenes and he becomes moody and snarls a lot. The snarling makes sense since he’s a werewolf though. This is where the film stopped being fun to watch, for me. Having one depressed character run around after another depressed character isn’t a fun way to spend your time.
The directing in the film is a definite improvement over the last one, with Forks still looking as lovely as ever. However, once the characters took off to Italy we were treated to some fantastic camera work. Bella racing through a carnival of people dressed in red robes made for some pretty great scenery. Overall though, there’s not too much to talk about in the directing department. The vampire fight scenes at both the beginning and end of the film are a definite improvement. The effects don’t look quite as tacky as they did before.
The writing, whilst stumbling in the second act of the film in which Jacob becomes Edward 2.0, has also improved over the last film. This film was significantly lacking in cheesy dialogue and awful clichés. I found the scene in which the Volturi were introduced to be quite good and when the random tourists were led in to be eaten by the Volturi afterwards, I was surprised to see something that gave off a fairly dark tone in the film. Dealing with depression is one thing, but showing people being led to their inevitable slaughter? Interesting.
The end of the film, when Edward confronts Edward 2.0 (Jacob) is actually alright. The dialogue helps lift the acting performances of the three leads and opens up some potentially interesting places for the next film to go. I also found the final moments of the film to be better than the last, with Edward proposing to Bella in a fairly awkward, but natural way. Of course, cutting to Bella letting in a sharp gasp was a bit iffy and made for a weird final shot, but I’ll take it over cheesy walk Victoria I suppose.
Is New Moon a bad film? Yes, it is to be honest. The acting of the three leads is still under par and that’s really the driving force of the movie. But the directing and cinematography is pretty damn good, and the writing has improved from Twilight. New Moon is a bad film, but perhaps it isn’t as bad as the people who oppose and despise Twilight think. I, for one, enjoyed the film for the most part. And yes, I never thought I’d say those words.
In my last review I said I’d try to discover the reason that Twilight, as a movie series, is so hated by the people that dislike it. My research is ongoing and since I still have three films left to review, I think it better to wait for a later review to make my conclusion. But through my internet research as well as talking to people that both love and hate Twilight it is evident that, in general, males are more inclined to hate Twilight. I say that as if nobody knew when in truth everybody probably knew that.