Last night I went out to the wonderfully retro Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, where I saw New Moon, the second installment in the Twilight "saga." I wrote a snide little blurb on my FB page, but I feel compelled to write a longer entry here.
When I heard last year that Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first Twilight movie, had been fired by the Hollywood boy's club, and Chris Weitz, the hack responsible for foisting The Golden Compass upon the world, had been put in her place, I knew this meant the sequel would be crap. And I was right!
New Moon is a big snooze. It's superficially pretty, but there is nothing engaging about it. Even worse, it drags on for an ass-busting two hours and twenty minutes. Twilight wasn't a great movie, but it was entertaining, it had a certain liveliness and charm, and the actors were engaged. In New Moon all the performers struggle valiantly through the uninspiring material, but it's a losing battle. I felt sorry for Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart, who deserve better-- especially Stewart, whose character, Bella Swan, is so relentlessly self-absorbed, passive and navel-gazing that she becomes a gigantic black hole on the screen, draining the life from the audience.
Maybe I would have liked the movie better if it were, say, an hour shorter. It also would have been better if one of the side characters-- like Alice or Jacob-- were the focus of the movie, since they actually seemed to have a personality. Bella had no function except to be continuously rescued, to stare gloomily into space, or to gaze dreamily into her sweetie's eyes. Get the girl some Prozac already! The two most intriguing actors in the movie were the ones playing the villainous vampires-- like Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria, and Michael Sheen as Aro. However, they weren't given that much to do, which is a pity, since the only exciting moments in the movie came from Aro and Victoria being evil.
Even worse, the movie really lacked the right sensibility. Twilight had the right feeling of dreamy adolescent romance fantasy-- whereas New Moon just feels like big soulless Hollywood product. I refuse to see any more of these movies in the theater. It'll be interesting to see what they do with the horror show that is Breaking Dawn though. Vampire caesarean section-- how is Weitz going to make that palatable, I wonder?
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What do you think was the problem with the Golden Compass? 'Cause I loved the books and I loved the cast and sets and everything... but something was missing! (and oh, where are the sequels btw..?)
Why did The Golden Compass suck? I'd say for much the same reason the direction of New Moon wasn't successful-- both movies were over-long, somnolent, superficial and unfocused. In both movies, there were interesting ideas that were touched upon. But you know how a good essay takes three or five themes, with each one discussed and used to create a compelling argument that supports the thesis? In both of his films Weitz takes on a whole bunch of themes, but none are explored in any detail-- in the end they feel like the cinematic equivalent of a collection of random opening sentences, with no thesis at all. So when the movie is over, you don't really know what to think, you're just thinking, so yeah...
That's my take on it, anyways. And there will never be any sequels to The Golden Compass because it was a huge Eragon-sized bomb. I'm not really sad about it either. Weitz should never have been given Compass to direct in the first place.
(and I loooooove your sig, "unfulfilled dreams of a Mormon woman", you hit the nail on the head )
Whats worse? So many books are popping up now that are all more or less the same freaking story. A vampire romance thats "Romeo and Juliet-esque." I don't mind a romance now and then and I certainly don't mind vampires stories, but need we all write the same thing over and over and over again? Why is it that the truly unique and origianl ideas are published but don't get nearly as popular as all this regurgitated BS?
I agree though, Stewart is like a "black hole on the screen." Not only the character, Bella, but the actress is a tad dull. She's definitely got the look, but she really can't act that well. She has some potential, but obviously hasn't really found it yet.
It dragged and honestly, what the hell was up with that opening scene? Odd and honestly not needed is all I can describe it.
I think Stewart is capable of good work-- I liked her in Panic Room and Adventureland-- but she really hates her role and the whole Twilight franchise, which probably explains her lack of enthusiasm on screen. (I hope for her sake that Breaking Dawn isn't turned into two movies like they're thinking, because she might end up murdering her agent. Yeah, she's that unhappy with it.)
What was the opening scene again? I've already forgotten it.
Biggest mistake you can make as a writer is changing the viewpoint in which the story is told, not to mention, AFTER THREE BOOKS IN. It was awkward and none of the characters acted like they did throughout the books. It honestly felt like another book altogether because none of the characters even remotely resembled how she first wrote them. There was no sense of character growth either.
As soon as she had the vampire baby, I put the book down and never came back to it. It was just too stupid to bear and the writing was horrible.
The first book was pretty unexciting to me, so I had no interest in continuing the series. I was told by everyone that the series just went downhill from Twilight, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Here's my review of Twilight the book here. [link]
I didn't even know you was into Twilight.