Thursday, December 10, 2009

Over the Moon, a 'New Moon' Review

Caitlin Tadlock

Midnight on November 20, I was amidst the “Twi-hards” (a term coined for extreme Twilight fans) for the first time in 364 days. Ronnie’s Cinema in St. Louis was packed to the max with several auditoriums holding the midnight screaming, I mean screening of The Twilight Saga‘s: New Moon. Women young and old were dressed in their Team Edward and Team Jacob shirts. The more daring fans had the audacity to dress as vampires, fangs and all. At 12:01 the lights went dim and without warning the screen went black; that’s right, no 5-minute National Guard recruitment advertisements! A full moon appeared on the screen and the crowd gasped. It was the start of a new moon.

The Twilight Saga’s second installment of the now multimillion-dollar franchise New Moon is a hit with its fan base, grossing a total of 473 million dollars worldwide. It’s the story of Forks, WA, high school student Bella Swan who gets broken up with by her vampire boyfriend after his brother tried to take a snap at her. Bella finds solace in her werewolf best friend Jacob Black and thus starts the love triangle for the next film.

I would like to start off the review with a quote from the director Chris Weitz, “I’ve realized I won’t necessarily get good reviews for this movie. Having swallowed that, this was made for the fans, and if you don’t get it, then you don’t get it”. This review will be more directed towards the Twilight fans since it‘s they who are watching the films. I can sit here and agree all day that the hour of Bella being depressed wasn’t your cup of tea and the lines shared between Bella and Edward were more comical than touching, but I won’t because no one cares about non-Twilight fan opinions because you just don’t understand.

The special effects and all around vision of the film are excellent with the direction of Weitz. My favorite part of the film wasn’t Bella/Jacob bonding or Bella/Edward moments, but the chase montage of the renegade vampire Victoria. Thom Yorke’s song “Hearing Damages” played in the background as Victoria is chased through the Olympia forest by Jacob and company. The underwater scene where Bella is drowning is also visually aesthetic even though I did hear stifled laughs from a few members of the audience when the Edward apparition appeared; maybe it was boyfriends of the girls.

Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella, says in interviews that throughout New Moon, Bella grows up in Edward’s absence. I have a problem with this. Bella is introduced as an independent middle-aged-teenager that has spent her life looking after her mom rather than the other way around. Bella is now enraptured by Edward and can’t see her life without him even when he is gone. She is co-dependent and although the film portrays first real heartbreak for a girl, something most girls can relate to, it also shows the unhealthy infatuation Bella has with Edward. Like Jacob says in the third book Eclipse, Bella never learns to live without Edward. Bella goes through the film depressed, putting herself in danger, and in the end gets rewarded by saving Edward’s life and having an almost happy ever after. Is Bella regressing in each installment of the series?

In the book New Moon, Bella jumps off a cliff because it would be the only way she could recall Edward’s voice in her head. I felt in the film it didn’t do a great job portraying this as an act of defiance but as an attempt of suicide. In the lines she mutters before jumping off the cliff she says “You wanted me to be human, so watch me”. To the people who don’t read the books but watch the movies (unbelievable, but there are a lot) this scene comes off more as a suicide attempt rather than a dangerous attempt to see her beloved. Not healthy.

The film was adapted well from the book, better than Twilight was. The running time let the story flow more freely and without rush. The CGI wolves didn’t look as bad as what I thought from the trailer, Dakota Fanning playing one of the Volturi was disappointing as expected, and I wasn’t bothered with the lack of Robert Pattinson because I have converted to Team Jacob.

The beginning starts with a full moon and ends with a gasp and cut (not fade) to black. The ending can’t be disappointing for fans because in a measly 7 months we will be hit with the next installment Eclipse. For Twilight fans, I give The Twilight Saga’s: New Moon an 8.5 out of 10; and for the boyfriends of the girls who were dragged to see it, I am sorry, 5 out of 10 for you and I hope you were rewarded afterwards, you know, with Dairy Queen.

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