Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Twilight: New Moon - a tale of shirtless boys and mopey girls

Early in "New Moon", Edward, having decided to leave Forks with the Cullen clan in tow, tells Bella "Don't do anything reckless". I wondered if he remembered who he was talking to. This is Bella Swan, Forks' resident lady of infinite sorrows who exudes teen angst from her pores. Of course she goes off the deep end. After a reasonable period of music video like moping, she realizes that she can have visions of Edward if she is in danger. Don't worry, this is based on a Twilight book, so the self destructive behavior stays in reasonably safe teen territory - motorcycle riding and cliff diving. The visions themselves are a bit awkward. Done in an Obi-Wan sort of way, Edward delivers wooden lines that might as well be "Fasten your seatbelt" or "Don't play with matches". Relief is on the way though. Bella develops a deep bond with friend Jacob Black ( Taylor Lautner). This relationship is soon on the rocks too when it appears that Jacob has dropped Bella to join a homoerotic, Native American, Abercrombie & Fitch gang ( now that is a mouthful). It turns out his secret is a bit more mundane, at least for Forks. He is from a long line of werewolves who protect humans from vampires. Events conspire to bring Edward and Bella back together and we are all set up for her having to choose between the two.

This has been written with tongue firmly in cheek mainly because I recognize that I am not exactly the target audience for these movies. I can appreciate them in some ways but ultimately find the Lifetime movie teen melodrama a bit heavy. I have not read the books, so I may be wishing in vain but I do have a list of things I would like to see more of in the future movies:

(1) Let the adults come out and play more often. The scenes set in Italy featuring the "vampire council" were really good. I can never get enough Michael Sheen ("The Queen", "Frost/Nixon", "Underworld", "Alice in Wonderland") who literally chews up the scenery as Aro.

(2) More vampires and more vampire action! Dakota Fanning as bloodthirsty psychopath = good thing (Yes that's her all evil and red-eyed in the above trailer). Victoria becoming an actual threat would be nice. Oh, and the tourist "buffet" was a great touch.

(3) Let Kristen Stewart have some range. Reviews of "Twilight" often take shots at Kristen Stewarts acting. I don't know how much of that is based on her mumbling, deep sighs acting style in Twilight but she has done much better. I would suggest checking out "Speak" (2004), "The Cake Eaters" ( 2007) and "Adventureland" ( 2009).

(4) Get rid of Bella's almost invisible friends from school or use them more. They appear to be starring in "Degrassi Jr. High" while Bella is in a big teen blockbuster. Hello, producers you have an Oscar nominee in the cast now - Anna Kendrick. Certainly she can be used a bit more than a couple of scenes where her main role is to roll her eyes and look at Bella like, "how did I end up with this freak as my friend".

"Twilight: Eclipse" is out later this summer; so let's see if this story can mature a bit along with the characters.


gazaar said...

You don't have to like it in order to recognize the acting talents. That being said, its the lack of quality acting that made this impossible to sit through. Besides Twilight, "Bella Swan" has appeared in almost any role you put Kristen Stewart in, which only makes it even more one dimensional when you watch Twilight. The thing that the Twilight movies lack, is the only thing that holds it together in the books, and thats the internal narrative.

Mocking Movies said...

The first chapter of Twilight was available on ITunes as an audio book and I listened to it. Just from that small exposure I agree that Bella's inner monologue was really compelling. I have thought of listening to the first book all the way through on audio to see how I like it.