The Twilight Saga: New Moon
by Heather Trow
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It’s almost impossible to critique the Twilight films as one would any other movie- they simply don’t hold up. The quality (or perhaps lack thereof) of the eponymous first film , and its newest addition, New Moon, is simply unremarkable- perhaps even silly- when compared with… well, real movies. But there is something so delightful, so undeniably fun, even sexy, about these campy romps through Vampiric lore that can’t be denied. They are movies for the lovers of the book series, and they accomplish their mission beautifully.
There are some things an average movie-goer might enjoy about New Moon. The additions of the always wonderful Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) and the frighteningly grown-up Dakota Fanning (you all know what movies she’s been in), for instance. They fulfill their small but interesting roles very well. And there is some genuine action- vampires vs. werewolves, vampires vs. vampires… this movie has it all. But as someone who has read the book, this reviewer wondered if the screenplay provided enough explanation for its characters’ behavior. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand every move Bella makes, you’ll empathize, you’ll suffer with her. If you haven’t read the book, you might go out of your mind wondering what the hell Bella (and perhaps everyone else, really) is doing.
It’s nice, in this day and age of “let’s add any scene to the Harry Potter films we want who cares what was in the original book“, to see a film so carefully and faithfully adapted from its source material. The dialogue is as silly as its origins, and anyone looking for a good, well-written, well-made film should look elsewhere. But anyone looking to have some fun for an evening, this is your ticket.
It can also be said that these movies are impressively consistent stylistically. The director of photography, the composer, the effects supervisors are all clearly on the same page, creating a tone and look for the film that accurately represents Stephenie Meyers‘ novels. As for the acting, Kristen Stewart’s performance fits in with its gloomy surroundings. She has perfected her desperate, biting her lip, moony stare, and she never deviates from her methods. Robert Pattinson makes such understated choices as Edward, he owns difficult lines and communicates without words many of Edward’s deepest emotions. But perhaps the most impressive performance in the movie is that of the relatively unknown (thought probably not after this movie) Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, Bella’s best friend and newly minted werewolf. Lautner’s obvious physical prowess will have the girls giggling (as they were at the showing this reviewer saw), but his quiet determination and lovely presence on screen are not to be unnoticed. Lautner deftly takes his place in the story line without much setup from the first film, and proves to be both watchable and an excellent supporting actor to his female counterpart. The chemistry between all three leads is tangible, and the love triangle is well in hand as we move to the next film.
It’s difficult to dislike this movie. It goes by quickly, it’s well-paced, it’s full of pretty people… and it doesn’t contain the kind of gratuitous partying, sex and violence that seems to pervade teen-oriented films of the last decade or so. This is a fun, fun movie. I’m sure it’s not going to be amongst the nominees for best picture of 2009, but who’s to say whether any of those movies will contain the kind of guilty-pleasure laughs and thrills that this movie has in spades? If you’re on the fence, go. You’ll enjoy yourself.
Heather Trow is an actress, writer and alternative comedy enthusiast.
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