Wednesday, April 7, 2010
If you remember my blogs about Twilight I ended up seeing it multiple times because to this day I think it’s so poorly made and directed that I can learn an immense amount from it. I disliked the film so intensely that I couldn’t stand to support New Moon in the theatre simply because I couldn’t fathom sitting through two more hours of a poorly crafted world, but I wanted to see it so that I could see the results of putting an entirely new team behind the franchise.
I am happy to say that unlike Twilight I no longer cringed at poor directorial choices or groaned in agony when the camera swayed around like mad and took you away from the characters at dramatic moments; Chris Weitz didn’t do any of that. However, since Hardwicke’s flailing directorial style was taken away and replaced with a visual look and craftsmanship that didn’t repulse me, I was able to see a whole new set of problems.
I will admit that I have read the book series that the films are based on and until Breaking Dawn I was even a fan of them. In the books Bella has always managed to be a delicate yet strong willed character and while I think Kristen Stewart is a decent actress with a bad public presence, Twilight and the mania surrounding it didn’t leave me room to see anything in her or Bella. With New Moon both Kristen Stewart and Bella became a lot more clear. Kristen Stewart, if she could drop the attitude and angry/snobbish public persona could eventually be an accomplished actress; however, Bella translates incredibly weakly from page to screen in a way that I don’t think Stewart has anything to do with. Onscreen Bella practically fades into the background and seems to do nothing out of her own will or desire, she simply seems to do things because it’s written that way. Stewart displays some decent acting chops allowing Bella to fall apart in New Moon but if that weren’t clumsily written in via voiceover the audience would merely think Bella was too tired to do anything but sit, her internal struggle and anguish is never allowed to bubble or surface and therefore Bella never changes. A band-aid is merely placed on her pain by the end of the film because the climax must come to get to movie three.
With my next sentence it is quite possible that I will enrage every Twihard on the face of the planet. Having seen New Moon without the distraction of Catherine Hardwicke I am now of the opinion that Robert Pattinson was horrifically miscast as Edward Cullen. I don’t know if Pattinson can act, plain and simple. The only other film I’ve seen him in is Goblet of Fire and that is not enough to see if he has some acting chops, but speaking strictly on the merits of his performance in the Twilight Saga I can say that he is a bad Edward Cullen. Not only do I think he lacks the charisma and beauty attributed to Edward in the books, but I spent most of the movie desperately wanting him to emote. I do believe Pattinson was trying to show Edwards inward war with himself, but instead he spent most of the movie looking tense and slouched over. I literally at one point found myself wishing Chris Weitz had told him to stop channeling a pre-Out of Sight George Clooney, tilt up his head and relax his jaw. I know the gold contacts probably inhibit some of the emotion that we all show in our eyes from coming across on film, but it was as if his entire face had been shot with Novocain and couldn’t move for most of the film –and when he did finally try to give a different emotion near the end of the film it felt so wholly out of place that it was almost creepy.
My final complaint about New Moon is one due to the time and budget spent on the film. The special effects are awful. This is what fast and cheap look like. The reason movies like Iron Man take two years to pump out a sequel is because they know post production is going to be key to making the events of the film believable – to make a man in an iron suit fly you need ILM, Stan Winston and a hearty amount of time for post. New Moon was pre-production to release in about a year…this schedule means you have to make some sacrifices, and while the effects are much better than the effects in Twilight the werewolves alone look utterly computer animated and unfinished. They sacrificed craftsmanship for a release date.
After brow-beating the film like I have I actually need to give Chris Weitz a shout out. Thank you, thank you, thank you for getting rid of the Tikerbell-esque sparkle sound effect. If that had stuck around I might have thrown something at my tv and it’s too pretty to damage.
Even though I am interested to see what it will look like for a franchise to yet again switch horses mid-stream and push out an effects picture far too quickly I won’t be able to see Eclipse in the theatre. The Twihards might kill me…that is if they don’t kill David Slade first. There’s rumors going around that he actually treated Eclipse like a real horror movie and this guy has the legitimate style and savy that could manage to make Eclipse into a real movie, which isn’t really what the Twihards are looking for.
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg
Bella Swan: Kristen Stewart
Jacob Black: Taylor Lautner
Edward Cullen: Robert Parrinson
Charlie Swan: Billy Burke
Jessica: Anna Kendrick
Jasper Hale: Jackson Rathbone
Charlisle Cullen: Peter Facinelli
Victoria: Rachelle Lefecre
Esme Cullen: Elizabth Reaser
Emmet Cullen: Kellan Lutz
Rosalie Hale: Nikki Reed
Alice Cullen: Ashley Greene
Jane: Dakota Fanning
Bella Swan: Alice, is it possible that everything's true? The fairy tales and horror stories? Is it possible that there isn't anything sane and
normal at all?