Monday, November 23, 2009
Movie Review Monday -- NEW MOON
Okay, first off, I should warn those of you who haven't read the book that there are some spoilers in this review--it's almost impossible to talk about the movie without them. I should also preface this review with a note that I'm now fairly certain that Rob Pattinson could dress up as Edward and stand on screen in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and recite a shopping list for two hours, and I would be thoroughly entertained. Therefore, I'm going to temper my opinion by including my husband's reaction, as well. I've seen it twice now, and I think I've finally got my head wrapped around my opinion. Overall, I'd say I liked it a lot, even while critical of the story itself. In fact, I'd say the movie's biggest weakness is that it's limited by the actual source material.
The good: The overall production quality was a million times better than the original Twilight movie. The make-up was better (as in, Edward did NOT look like a drag queen in this one, and everyone in the theater didn't titter every time Dr. Cullen came onscreen in his pasty white splendor). The effects were also a zillion times better--I thought they did an excellent job with the wolves, and there's even a beautiful scene of vampire/wolves running through the woods. Also gone was the weird blue/green tint that Twilight was filmed in, and the warmer colors somehow that made this film look more 'real'. There were some truly funny moments, too, and there were lots of laughs at appropriate times. Particularly funny were Bella's friends Jessica and Mike. Charlie the dad was, once again, a scene stealer and absolutely brilliant.
One surprisingly good aspect of the movie was the Jacob Black character played by Taylor Lautner. I admit, until the train wreck that was Breaking Dawn came along, New Moon was my least favorite of the books. I mostly skimmed/skipped the entire middle section, once Edward left, and then picked back up again at the end. I never much cared for the Jacob character, never bought the supposed 'love triangle' elements, and never felt badly for Jacob, because I felt like he *knew* where Bella's heart lay; he knew exactly what he was getting himself into. But in the movie, I totally warmed up to Jacob's character, and actually felt *really* badly for him by the end of the film (not badly enough to change my stance from Team Edward to Team Jacob, mind you, but still...).
I give huge kudos to Taylor Lautner for pulling it off--I think he showed some real acting chops, and the physical transformation was absolutely amazing (the guy's HUGE!! And he's only 17!). The theater erupted in cat-calls and wolf-whistles every time he took his shirt off (which was a lot). Amazing.
And I much preferred this toned down version of Edward--less weird hair, toned down make-up, and a totally different style wardrobe. RPattz just IS Edward to me, particularly this time around, and I could feel every bit of his anguish.
Another good: the Volturi. Very, very creepy. Michael Sheen as Aro was particularly wonderful! I saw him just last week in Frost/Nixon, and I didn't even recognize him. He played the part with relish, and it was fun to watch. Dakota Fanning was particularly creepy as Jane.
The bad: Well, again, the film is limited by the source material. It's a slow moving movie. Not a lot happens. If you've got daughters who'll see it, prepare to have a "This is NOT how normal people react when a guy breaks up with them" discussion. Much more so than in the books, I had thoughts of "Wait, why is *every* guy who comes in contact with Bella totally in love with her?" And there's definitely some over-the-top dialogue moments, again, courtesy of the book (along the lines of "Bella, you've given me everything, simply by breathing"). They didn't bother me, but they made my husband laugh.
Also bad was the addition of a fight scene with Edward and the Volturi near the end that wasn't in the book. I thought it was a really bad choice, mostly because it made Edward look weak, and who wants their hero to appear weak? Also, if you've read the books, you know how near impossible it is for anyone to fight Edward successfully--he can read minds; he knows his opponent's every move, and therefore can avoid them. We saw this in Eclipse, when the Cullens all practice fighting with one another. One of the funniest scenes in Eclipse is Edward and Alice fighting--he can read her mind, and she can see the outcome in advance. But it's like they just completely ignored this in New Moon, and I think it really weakened Edward's character, and for no real reason except to add in more "action."
The really bad: There's only one scene that I'd categorize as really, truly cringe-worthy. You'll know it when it happens, because the entire theater will titter loudly (at a point that audiences were not intended to laugh). Alice's vision of Bella and Edward in the future--that's all you need to know. Wait for it. I think Chris Weitz (the director) must have been on vacation that day or something.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. A lot. I'll probably go see it a third time. My husband--who never read the books and totally surprised me by *really* liking the original movie (he thought the campiness worked in its favor), declared New Moon "the worst movie EVER." Maybe the truth falls somewhere in between?
Anyone else seen it yet? Opinions?