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Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The Twilight Saga: New Moon




Okay folks, in case you didn't know its Christmas Eve, and I'm going to be doing a review for a very Christmas movie indeed. Or so one would like to have themselves think. On the topic of Christmas anyway, can someone please make a comment as to who actually likes Christmas music bar the likes of Fairytale of New York. Also, to all foreigners reading the review, the UK's Christmas Number #1 this year is Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name, I kid you not. How awesome is that. Maybe people are actually realising, hang on, this music is better than typical Christmas music. Everyone is sick of Christmas music. Anyway, sorry about the digression, the topic of Christmas cannot be avoided and it does make for suitable distraction from my feelings about this movie. Picking up where the last Twilight left off, Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, is eighteen and now older than her seventeen-year-old boyfriend Edward Cullen, who is a vampire. This causes relational tensions, woo woo. Because of an accumulation of tensions, Edward and his leave town and Bella goes into a big sulk at the loss of her love. Then, to fill the void in her life, she begins hanging around once again with her hulking childhood friend Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, creating a strange love triangle of sorts, for he is, you guessed it, a werewolf, arch-nemesis of the vampire clan. Now, to get this off the fly for starters, I felt that the first Twilight film was a good, charming film on teenage angst and love, which was handled brilliantly by Katherine Hardwicke. Now, I won't grub on Chris Weitz, because he is taking over as director here, but really I do question whether he is able to do this kind of material. With a franchise, I feel that while each movie must be different and advance the story, there should always be a consistent tone and mood persistent throughout a series, and I feel that without Katherine Hardwicke, the original mood of the novel's cannot be captured. I haven't read the books, but I know enough from conversations with people who have that there is a consistent eroticism prevalent throughout and here it is completely absent. I feel under Weitz' direction, who previously directed American Pie with his brother Paul, the complete polar opposite of this film on the "love scale," if you will, the tone of the story cannot be achieved. And with credit to him, at least he does try, but in truth it just comes across as very bland and boring. Really, I was giving this movie a chance because for half-an-hour to an hour I thought, "this is really wise, they are setting up what is going to be an interesting story." Unfortunately, it’s the set-up for something that never happens. As a result, it just makes Kristen Stewart, who really could have come across here with an interesting portrayal of Bella Swan horribly turns out to be really one-note. Also, Robert Pattinson, R-Patz, whatever you want to call him, loses the mystique and romanticism of the previous film's character and just proves to be window dressing if anything. Taylor Lautner is the only one who escapes this acting dirge, and really does his best and proves capable with what is in truth poor material. You can sense his characters angst and hurt underneath the massive physical presence he poses. There is obviously an interesting character arc here for him, but unfortunately it never gets that far. That is the real problem with New Moon: everything seems like a set-up to something genuinely interesting, but only serves as a hint at something that never proves to be a prevalent and intelligent theme. For example, in the midst of Bella's sulk, there are hints of suicide, and it is hinted at so well that elaboration would make sense, yet it remains completely under the surface here. As mentioned, the Jacob Black-subplot could have done with this elaboration. Finally, the ageing process too is hinted at, but is not elaborated: the movie is like something teasing the audience with a carrot-and-stick, seeing if all the asses will follow. Well, I'm sorry, I tried following the carrot-and-stick for a bit, and needless to say was very disappointed by the end result. I mean, how did Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote such a well-structured screenplay for the previous film, end up writing such a hack of a script for this one. Now, there are good moments in this, particularly the surreal elements, such as the dream sequences, or the brilliant underwater sequence, there are some really interesting things in the movie. Also, the cinematography, while not great by any means, is done in a music video style that really lends itself to these sequences, creating potentially "iconic" moments, or "trailer moments." These things are done well. But indeed, that is the real tragedy of New Moon. I won't say that it is an absolutely horrible movie, because there is quite clearly good material there, but unfortunately it is completely underdeveloped and utterly disappointing as a result, especially with regards to the darker themes and the underdevelopment of the Jacob Black-subplot, which to Lautner's credit he did his best.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 3.4/10 - On the topic of this, it is better than Fast and Furious, which got a 3.6/10, however, my opinions on that film are probably more of a 2-3/10 now.

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Genuinely saddened and disappointed.

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