Oh god, here goes...
My mother and sister are fans of Twilight, bless their souls. Of course, even with the internet's seemingly unquenchable hate for the now infamous series by Stephanie Meyer, I decided to give the books ago myself. And wouldn't you know it, I hated the first, and didn't have the willpower to continue the rest of the series. The movie didn't do it much justice either, although it was better at giving the plot and characters a bit of likeability. So of course, when New Moon comes into theatres, you can expect the ladies' excitement, and my own groan of disgust. But I went with them anyway, if only to laugh at the giggling fangirls that swarmed the cinema at the Aussie premiere. But even with my line of thinking as I entered the cinema, I was surprised that day.
It was actually good.
Lord Krunk Reviews #14: New Moon
Following the events of Twilight, New Moon begins with Isabella Swan reflecting on her new life (complete with vampires) and its repercussions. But after a drop of her blood causes Jasper Cullen to go insane, Edward begins to realise just how much danger she's in by being around him. To protect her, he dumps Bella and heads abroad. In her attempts to get him back, she starts taking life-threatening risks which ultimately brings her closer to Jacob Black, a native American local with a sharp tongue and a skill for mechanics. But as she soon discovers, Jacob has a secret of his own...
And now, for some obligatory FANSERVICE!
This is a bit of a dilemma for me, as my usual spot for the second paragraph in my review is taken up for all the good points of the reviewee. And knowing that I need to tread cautiously to avoid flame, I'll instead just dive into it with a stick of dynamite in one hand and a BFG in the other.
Let me start by saying that I actually like the concept of vampires used in the Twilight saga, and that the sparkling actually makes sense. The point of Vamps in this series are that they use fancy powers as a method of attracting their prey, kind of like an angler fish. It's also well known that humans love shiny things (ergo, why gold is so valuable). So yeah, pretty sparkles on deadly creatures is actually a solid supernatural theme. My only qualm is that, rather than stick to the appearance and nature of the vicious and stylish Dracula, Meyer made it all American and lovey-dovey. But hey, it's a chick flick.
I was also impressed by the direction of the movie as well. The camerawork was well done, they managed to make a movie-of-the-book coherent (something you don't see everyday), and just to top it all off, they made a bad book a good movie. The special effects were also quite nice, thankfully deviating from the hilariously god-awful crap they got in the prequel. And humour was an added bonus (this time intentional), especially when Bella's peers voice the thoughts of every fan and hater beyond the fourth wall. The music is also an improvement, focusing on more orchestral motifs rather than tracks by emo bands (of which a certain baseball scene is guilty of), which is for a music student like me a nice breath of fresh air. It also added a bit of atmosphere. The acting was also good, with plenty of stars to go round. In particular, a trade off of a Nightmare Fuellishly pale Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) - who, while I don't mind his acting, plays the worst character in the series - for more Alice Cullen (the smoking hot Ashley Greene) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) was a significant improvement. Hey, and getting the two to have a vampire/werewolf stand-off was an added bonus too.
Okay, take one vampire. Give it a Geass and polish it to a mirror sheen. Wait a few weeks and Hey Presto! You have a Twilight vampire.
But of course, being Twilight, written by Stephanie
Mormon Meyer, this movie is not without its problems. And how.
Firstly, let me start by mentioning that the villains, a.k.a. The Volturi, were not really villains. And while they are the closest thing to real vampires (with black hair and a taste for human blood, no doubt) that this series can muster, Aro, their leader, did not really pull it off. To me, he just came off as an otaku with a 'Gotta Catch 'Em All' way of thinking with regards to vampires' powers and a recent desire to collect Bella's, which is roughly to superpowers as tofu is to food. And while I respect his attitude to these kinds of things, I would much rather that he do something much more villainous with his time. Like take over the world. Seriously, when you're ruling a race of immortal entities that can convert and control whoever they please, why wouldn't you?
Another issue was that, while I mentioned earlier the intentional humour, there is still some unintentional humour to go round. For example, here's some charming dialogue from the start of the movie:
EDWARD: I'm leaving.
BELLA: Then I'll come with you.
EDWARD: You can't come.
BELLA: But I have to come too!
EDWARD: I don't want you to come!
I am not kidding. The amount of hysterical giggling in the cinema during this scene was thunderous, and trust me, I was joining in. Thankfully, there aren't as many instances as Twilight, but they're still there and evident.
My biggest qualm though not necessarily a fault of the movie, lies with the series' creator, Stephanie Meyer, and her bad writing. Throughout both movies and the first book, I kept on thinking of the true (untapped) potential of the series and what could have been. For example, Meyer places the focus on Bella and Edward and their relationship. Bella comes off as a cold-hearted bitch which doesn't help when applied to 1st-person storytelling, and Edward is just too perfect to care about.
Here's just one of some better ideas I came up with for the universe, a theme brought up in the series but never properly explored:
A girl wakes up one day with no memory of her previous life, strange and horrific premonitions of the future and an unquenchable thirst for human blood. After a long and bitter search for her true identity, she meets a family of kind-hearted vampires that assist in her search while masquerading as humans. But who is she? Where did she get her powers? And how did she become a vampire?
There's just so much I feel like I'm missing in favour of generic romance. Oh well, you can't win everything.
Overall, New Moon is a genuinely good movie, marred by the flaws of its source material. I would recommend anyone with a girlfriend to watch the movie (hell, you might even enjoy it too), and anyone without to at least give it a rental sometime. Seriously, for a Twilight movie, I was expecting a hell of a lot worse.