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The Twilight Saga: New Moon

2012-11-14 13:34
 
You know what it’s about. Maybe you wish you didn’t. The story of Bella and Edward continues with diminishing returns for its rabid fanbase.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon

What it's about:

After nearly dying at the end of Twilight (2008), Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) finds her relationship with her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) tested after a particularly nasty paper cut nearly costs Bella her life (again!) and forces Edward to leave her and the town of Forks to protect her. Bella falls into a deep depression without Edward, though her growing relationship with childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) rescues her from her own fragile psyche. Things get complicated when Jacob accepts his destiny as a werewolf and Bella makes the ultimate sacrifice for her beloved.

What we thought:

Look, let's be honest. No matter what I or any other critic has to say about the Twilight franchise (or Saga, as the marketing dept have re-imagined the film adaptations of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novels) chances are that you have already made up your minds about it all. The soapy romantic sensibilities that make the books' core audience of teenage girls (and their mothers) weak at the knees, the vampires that don't really bite, the all-encompassing doom and joylessness have all the melodrama of Wuthering Heights, but with none of the grace. The Twilight Saga is what it is, and, like the gross-out comedic stylings of Leon Shuster, doesn't pretend to be anything more. So it’s completely resistant to criticism, even though critics continue to bang on the shield of imperviousness in which the die-hard Twilight fans (or Twi-hards) have cocooned themselves.

Since the Twilight movies so blatantly don't aspire to anything resembling artistic integrity, they deserve to be judged as such. The Twi-hards would have you believe that they don't really care anyway. The movie's mere existence seems to be enough for them. And the rest of us, looking for something more, will just have to endure the craze.

American Pie director Chris Weitz takes over from Catherine Hardwicke, and is tasked with bringing forth the torment of lost love, and most importantly, kickstarting the central tension between the vampire and the werewolf population of Forks. It's just that kind of town.

Bella's response to her own depression is more galling than all the violence in New Moon and Twilight put together. Physically wracked with crippling pain and nightmares since Edward's departure, she takes risks with her life and literally throws herself off a cliff to be closer to her love, who appears to her as an apparition when he senses she is in danger.

Watching Kristen Stewart mewl and blither her way through these scenes is embarrassing. Her performance is a far cry from her more commanding take on the role of Bella in the first movie. She also seems to have lost the ability to breathe properly. Every word is uttered as if it confuses her. Her stilted sentences seem to have no beginning, nor end. Hers is an obsession gone awry. It's the most bizarre, incoherent performance I have ever seen, and is made worse by its overwhelming self-importance.

Weitz also realises the vital importance of heart-throb of the moment, Robert Pattinson, to the film. So he gets shot like a GQ model with pasty skin, in slo-motion, a breeze conjured from nowhere to make his hair ruffle a bit and set off the swoons. The chemistry between the two leads, so palpable in Twilight, comes across as awkward and wooden. The jig is now up - those forlorn glances, chaste kisses and pouty lips are no longer able to mask the mediocrity so proudly presented here.

But thankfully, we're spared much of Stewart and Pattinson's emotional vacuity as the two are separated for much of the film, and the more interesting part of the story can develop - that of the budding relationship between Bella and Jacob, the knight who sort of rescues her from self-destruction. Much has been made of Taylor Lautner's impressive results after bulking up for the role of the young werewolf, and there can be no denying that his taut physique will cause many jaws to drop. He emerges as the most effective and affective of the young cast, even though he (like everyone in the movie) is saddled with some silly lines. He does spend most of the movie shirtless though, which might give some girls pause to question their allegiance to the grey-skinned Pattinson.

Freed from the stifling over-earnestness of the Bella-Edwards scenes, Weitz gets to have fun with the CGI werewolves, who seem to be the one area in which New Moon's improved budget was properly spent.

Somewhere in this already messy situation is the loose end from the previous film - Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) is still out to get Bella in retaliation for the death of her mate James (Cam Gigandet). She isn't around much either but is gifted with the most beautifully balletic scene in the entire movie, as she is chased through the woods by a pack of werewolves. The music (Thom Yorke's "Hearing Damage") is inspired, and resuscitates the damp pace for three glorious minutes. Pity the rest of the movie wasn't made with as much ambition.

But New Moon doesn't really improve after that. There’s an improbable quickie trip to Italy, and more sparkling than the director can handle. Things do take a more delicious turn when Micheal Sheen pops in to show the kids how it's really done - playing Aro, leader of the vampire royal family the Volturi, with a menacing ease that's been sorely missing.

The fans will get their kicks from New Moon for sure. But I can't help the feeling that five years from now they're going to look back at this frenzy with a twinge of embarrassment. Somebody get them a True Blood DVD box set, stat.

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Josh 11/24/2009 9:03 AM
its a load of crap! just like the Macarena, Pokemon or tamagochi's it will die a sorry death. Pop culture brainwashing kak for kids.
Keenan 11/24/2009 9:19 AM
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Shaheema, Shaheema, Shaheema... You are abosultely right. Regardless of what you write, we're still going to fumble over the mere sight of heart-throb Robert Pattinson. This movie represents more than just 'cool' special effects and appropriately the buget was spent. It represents for us teenages a love that seems forbidden, the fact that love and danger can sometimes be the same thing and just the general feeling of that teenage-sexual-tension... Have you read the book? I don't think you have. Please do me a favour, get a copy at CNA, it's only a R110, read it, then write about it again. You'll see why we... uh-hm... 'Twi-hards' (eew) like this movie so much. And while I'm on it, I think Kristen does a very good job of portraying Bella. Get real Shaheema! Oh, by the way... did I mention I was a guy? :-O
Jackie 11/24/2009 9:41 AM
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If you are a fan of the book series then you will love the movie New Moon. If you enjoyed Twilight, New Moon is a whole lot better. Chris Weitz did an excellent job with directing it. The bigger budget ensures that all action sequences and special effects are realistic and not tacky. While Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Bella may be depressing, I think she sticks to the character from the book more than she did in the first film. Most impressing for me was Taylor Lautner's portrayal of Jacob which for me was spot on. Overall this film is definitely worth watching with an open mind.
Lizzard 11/24/2009 10:49 AM
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I think that no one can ever judge a movie on what the critics say. Taste is different (thank goodness) and if you are a fan of Twilight then you will obviously enjoy the movie, no matter what is said. And also, there is no way I will ever prefer the sex and bloodfest that is called TrueBlood over Twilight. Trueblood is really a bit overhyped and gross. Give me Twilight with its soppy romance plots any day!
Ryan 11/24/2009 11:18 AM
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Shaheema first of all I need to correct you, had you read the books you would know Bella does not die in Twilight, secondly us Twihards may be wrapped in our cocoons regarding criticism of the movie but in my opinion it has been a long time since we have seen originality in a movie without blowing up something or utter carnage. Years from now I would like to think that I could let my children watch the twilight series movies and let in inspire them to read the books. That said I think if you are going to critique a movie should there have been a book maybe a little research would come in handy before you scoff at those who really enjoyed the books and have waited for a long time for a movie to be made.
Elize 11/24/2009 11:19 AM
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It is as clear as daylight that this critic has never read Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I'm NOT into soppy love stories but these books grabbed me from day 1. Bella is SUPPOSE to be depressed and overwhelmed. She's going through hell. Like Keenan said, go to CNA buy the book and write back to us.
Toy 11/24/2009 11:49 AM
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This is a review of the movie and NOT the books, Emo kid Kristen Stewart played herself as she always does.
catherine 11/24/2009 11:52 AM
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I dont know a single person who has watched the movie and not fallen in love with the story. and from then on, been hooked to the books. You saw the 1st movie, you don't like it that much then why bother watching the second one! Don't rain on our parade for the twilight fans who thought the completely awesome and a great movie addition to the twilight saga!
Shaheema 11/24/2009 11:52 AM
Nope, I have not read the books. Don't really plan to. If the movies are this farcical, I can just imagine what the books are like. I'm reviewing the movie - which I've been told is very faithful to the novel. So there's that. It's obvious that this series has many dedicated fans who, as I mentioned, will enjoy the movie. But let's not assume everyone else will too.
Goda 11/24/2009 12:01 PM
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I was terribly disappointed by both the books (SO badly written) and the movie (lame, lame lame). Hey, if it makes people happy, fine. But I'm just glad there's quality fare like True Blood out there for people like me. Apparently the True Blood books "Southern Vampire something" are pretty great too.
BB 11/24/2009 12:27 PM
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I read all the books before the twilight movie came out. the books are obviously better and the real fans have read all 3000 pages of Stephenie Meyers work and just see the movies as a fun way to see the character "come to life". I think alot of people just love young romance and thats why the movies are a huge hit
Natasha 11/24/2009 12:36 PM
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Shaheema before you can judge the films you need to read the books and you will see how in the books Bella is trying through out to hold herself together after Edward leaves and that is where she battles to breathe properly without him. Yes it might be romantic drivel and cliché to you but in this world where we are surrounded by so much negativity is it so wrong to escape into a world where anything is possible for a little while and to experience a powerful love through the characters eyes. Kristen showed Bella’s pain perfectly and I thought that the acting was vastly improved in this film. They all seemed a lot more comfortable in their roles and I think you were watching a different film with what you said about Kristen. She is an incredible actress. I just feel like before you can say some of the things that you are saying, you should read the books. New moon was a huge step up from Twilight. If you understand Bella, you would see that she isn’t the type of person who would just get over a break up with someone that has totally altered her.
Flor 11/24/2009 12:42 PM
The books are wonderfully written and are one of the few sets of books i will read more than once. But the movies are not as well made as the books were written i'm afraid. Bella is played terribly. She must be the worst actress and the breathing issue is a real issue! As for Robert Pattison - when i read the books - i imagined someone a lot better looking then the actor playing him. But Taylor really is what i imagined for Jacob. I'll watch this movie because i am a huge fan of the books, but i really hope it is better then the first movie.
Armand 11/24/2009 12:43 PM
Vampire movies are about sucking blood, not pouting. This movie does not suck blood, it just sucks. I actually tried to watch the movie, but decided to do something more fun, like sandpapering my entire body and rolling in salt.
Frances 11/24/2009 1:56 PM
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Its really funny reading the comments from the die-hard fans who will defend such cringe-worthy ‘literature’ when its so clear that Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are so embarrassed by the books/their characters and think the fans are off their collective rocker for obsessing over these fictional characters as if their lives depended on it. Keep making them stinking rich while they fill your heads with nonsense. And saying the vampires of True Blood are too “gross” is just showing the fans’ complete ignorance about vampire lore. Vampires DO NOT SPARKLE!
Nikki 11/24/2009 2:25 PM
Clearly the Twi-hards have never read a decent piece of literature to claim that these novels were "wonderfully written". I found myself wanting to edit the book the whole time I was reading it. Honestly kids, go and read some classics and you'll see what real writing is. And let me just add, vampires DON'T SPARKLE.
Natasha 11/24/2009 2:44 PM
It’s not like I obsess over the series everyday and can't live without it. I have read all sorts of literature. I am a fan of many other authors as I love to read. I just feel like the negative comments around the Twilight saga end up insulting the fans of the books and movies. I just feel that people say that we are dumb and are brainwashed because we enjoy the series. Is it so wrong to love a series of books even if you don't consider them the best piece of literature?
Miss A 11/24/2009 3:04 PM
To everyone who said that all we anti-Twilight folks need to do is read the book, that's insane! I've read the book and frankly, I'm amazed that such ho-hum mediocrity could spark this sort of madness. There is nothing remotely original about the Twilight saga. Just throw in a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and leave to simmer with a bit of Dawson's Creek. Vampires and werewolves have been around in literary books for yonks - and largely handled far better than Stephenie Meyer. Guess it just doesn't take much to entertain some people. And there I was, thinking that quality actually mattered.
Bluebelle 11/24/2009 3:07 PM
Well I am both a Twilight and True Blood fan. Shaheema, I really must agree with some of the other comments that have been made, go read the books, then maybe you'll actually know what you're talking about and how the characters were supposed to be portrayed by the actors in the movie.
SimA 11/24/2009 3:30 PM
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Hi all; huge Twi-hard here! I think everyone is entitled to their opinions but Twi-hards will LOVE New Moon; non-fans won't. It's a matter of preference. Watched it at Monte Casino last night (surrounded by fellow Twi-hards) - - loved it!! A bit of escapism never hurt anyone Shaheema.
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