Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Moon fails to shine



Directed by Chris Weitz
Starring Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Justin Chon, Christian SerratosJackson Rathbone, Cam Gigandet, Peter Facinelli, Graham Greene, Dakota Fanning,

The stunning success of director Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight onto the big screen in 2008, helped audiences buy into the kosher and wholesome tale on teen love, albeit one half being the mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the other the vampire hottie Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), in a big way.

Twilight was well scripted and the excellent Hardwicke managed to harness as much of the limited acting talent that the cast collectively possessed in a masterful way and gave us a movie that delighted everyone who saw it. Almost every scene in Twilight worked its vampiric charm on the viewer.

New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, is a sad story, on the other hand. Both literally and… well, actually, literally in every way.

The opening title sequence for New Moon is quite the bummer indeed. It shows a moon in the process of being eclipsed. And it’s downhill from there most of the way.

In part two of this film series, the love between teenagers Bella and Edward blossoms and the lass visits the Cullens household to celebrate her birthday. Lo and behold, what does Bella do when she opens a present? Get a paper cut. In the midst of vampires? Oh well, Meyers’ books were originally meant for teenagers. And such things could and do happen, we tell ourselves, living as we are in a world where suspension of disbelief is as easy as A-B-C.

Anyway, this causes Edward “I-don’t-want-you-to-turn-into-a-vampire” Cullen to rethink his relationship with Bella “Just-bite-me-dammit-and-turn-me-into-a-vampire-already” Swan, and the noble bloodsucker decides to break off with Bella rather than constantly risk having her as a possible chef’s special on the Cullens’ menu every time Bella meets his family.

As a result, the bulk of New Moon is about Bella pining and whining for Edward after the United Studs of Cullens and their lady companions leave town to “protect” Bella.

This is where the film bounces the idea of love on the rebound with He-Man Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) trying his darn best to convince his friend Bella that he is the right choice as her mate. Jacob, as you all already know is not only a dishy young man but also a ferocious wolf.

There is little resistance from the lonely Bella and she gets close to him. But it is clear to see who is numero uno in her heart. She pines hard for Edward and her unbelievably (and annoyingly) loud moans in the middle of the night attest to it. Why her poor father does not pack up his bags and leave the crazy howling daughter of his is anyone’s guess.

And all of this, as car-reviewer extraordinaire Jeremy Clarkson would say, of course, neatly brings us to the new director of New Moon.

His name is Chris Weitz and he is an unbelievably bad director. The cast already has limited acting talent going for them (except for Lautner and Dakota Fanning, who are the only ones with decent acting chops) and Weitz does absolutely nothing to help them along with his direction. His set-up of scenes are very, very unremarkable as are his framing of the actors in the shots.

It is a shame indeed, after the glorious work done by Hardwicke (which is the only reason why New Moon was rather highly anticipated compared to any other movie this year), that someone else with lesser talent was brought in to replace her and direct New Moon.

The final word, though, is that if you are an ardent Twilight fan, then you would catch New Moon if only to see what’s been happening to the characters after the first film, and before the next movie in the series comes along sometime next year. If you are not an ardent fan, then be warned that New Moon suffers from a severe case of middle-child syndrome as it is absolutely insipid as a cinematic piece of work.


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