Film

The Twilight Saga: New Moon—In Which Bella Mopes for Hundreds of Pages

The Twilight Saga: New Moon—In Which Bella Mopes for Hundreds of Pages
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Here’s the short version: New Moon is a much better movie than Twilight. Director Chris Weitz’s slick, showy visuals are the antithesis of Catherine Hardwicke’s awkward adaptation of the first book in the young-adult romance series, and slickness is what these books need to be translated to the screen. When Weitz throws the camera around—plunging off a cliff, or slowly circling Kristen Stewart’s sullen Bella three times to suggest the monotonous transition from fall to winter—you can almost forget the flaws of the source material.

New Moon is a tougher book to adapt than Twilight—dreamy vampire boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson) is barely in the thing. Because he can’t allow Bella to love a soulless monster, he abandons her for all but the first and last few chapters of the book. Instead, Bella falls into the arms of the hunky young werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner, whose high-pitched, genial voice just can’t pull off uninspired threats like “Things are going to get very ugly”). Without Pattinson’s pouting to get in the way, Stewart confidently carries the bulk of New Moon all by herself.

In the book, Bella mopes for hundreds of pages. Stewart conveys this sorrow convincingly (even as the script forces her to deliver dreck like “The pain is my only reminder that he was real”), but her Bella is nowhere near as passive as the book’s. One of the film’s most unexpected pleasures is watching Stewart watch the men of the movie—her Bella takes great, unabashed pleasure in the beefcake that Jacob and his tawny, wolfy Native American brothers provide. (Men take off their shirts at every opportunity, and Jacob wanders around in nothing but a pair of ratty shorts for the majority of his screen time.)

But the flaws of the book become the flaws of the movie: Author Stephenie Meyer couldn’t resolve a plot if her life depended on it. The primary threat in New Moon is an evil vampire named Victoria, but she’s forgotten by the end of the film and the climax involves a completely different threat, that of the ancient Italian vampire Illuminati, the Volturi (whose leader is played by Michael Sheen as a mincing, and unintentionally hilarious, fop). New Moon’s resolution drags, then leaps from out of nowhere, and ultimately crashes and burns. People who have not read the book will no doubt feel bored, and then cheated, and bored again. recommended

 

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1
Paulie nails it yet again.
Posted by katallred on November 22, 2009 at 6:59 PM · Report this
2
That's actually how I felt about the book too (New Moon is by far the worst written out of all of them, and that's saying something).
Posted by genevieve on November 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Carollani 3
It was shot beautifully, but it was acted soullessly. I'm not sure if it's the writer's fault (she writes like a 12 year old girl acting out fantasies), or the tween actors who have zero life experience.

The only highlight of the movie was the sexy young boys... and I'm a lesbian.

So boring.
Posted by Carollani http://twitter.com/carollani on November 23, 2009 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
All the teen and twentyish women I know who saw it loved it. The only negative they had was that all the travel scenes were cut from the book so they could fit the movie into a short enough run time.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM · Report this
kj 5
A girlfriend and I went with her tween daughter, and it was a terrible movie. There were several places where the entire audience of girls and women laughed out loud at how cheesy it was. Sparkly couple skipping through the forest, sexy vampire walking slo-mo across the school parking lot, hot wolf-boy pulling off his shirt. The target audience saw through it. None of the young actors are amazing, but most of them are likable enough. Kristen Stewart was awful, though. Her idea of emoting is looking confused and apraxic.
Posted by kj on November 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
@5 - i did hear that about KS ... she needs emoting school.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 23, 2009 at 4:45 PM · Report this
7
@5, I also cracked up several times, along with much of the audience at those and other moments.
Like so many movies this was made a lot more fun by liberal amounts of vodka and low expectations.
The torsos, however, exceeded those expectations and by golly, I hope there are more of them.
Posted by ozchick on November 23, 2009 at 5:09 PM · Report this
8
If you read the books you will get the info, like why they are walking around in nothing but ratty shorts and why Victoria is not totaly in the picture. It all trasitions throughout all of the books. Although I do agree that Taylor Lautner'voice just didn't carry those lines very well...
Posted by pip on November 24, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Report this
9
These movies vaguely depress me... I don't know if it's the fact that I had to keep the sugar coming to keep my eyelids from closing every five seconds, or the sh!t plot, or the only highlights being (as said 3) half-naked-testosterone-driven-there-to-fill-the-screen-boys. Though, gotta say, for the material, they try to do what they can. Try being key word. Thanks for the review, really, it helps among a sea of fangirls to have a few shreds of reality to cling to.
Posted by HelloMayITakeYourTipPlease? on November 28, 2009 at 7:28 PM · Report this

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