So with Twilight New Moon upon us, getting its Blu Ray/DVD release, and Eclipse just a few months away, I thought I’d sit down and really give the first two movies a fair shake. I reviewed the first one very negatively on a few sites about a year ago, but fully understanding what I was getting myself into this time around, I was ready to give the first a second watch to bring me up to speed for New Moon. First, you can read my thoughts of the first film here in my updated Twilight Review, then you can read my thoughts on the New Moon entry into the franchise.
Twilight – Review
Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to Forks Washington to live with her town sherrif father. Being the new girl in school Bella makes friends quikly, but also falls for the awkwardly introverted Edward Cullen(Robert Pattinson), a vampire. The first time around with this film I didn’t know what to expect, just crazy ticket sales and hype. My expectations were high… a lot higher than they should have been. Instead of just trashing this time around, I’m going to explain in a little more detail what I didn’t like about the film.
First, I have to say hats off to the director Catherine Hardwicke, although inexperienced (and it shows), she knew her target audience and milked it to the last drop. She draws her mostly female tween audience in with slow lingering shots of Pattinson as he stares deeply into stewart’s eyes. The performances in this film are a mixed bag, sometimes good, sometimes just terrible. The story drags a lot in the middle, yeah, I had to re-watch about 20 minutes because I fell asleep again (same thing happened the first time around). It focusses a lot on the sticky romance between Stewart and Pattinson. The meat of the vampire storyline finds Bella the target of a rogue vampire who takes a special interest in her. It’s kinda cheezy and starts with a dangerous encounter during a game of baseball. OK, so this is where I dig deep. The vampires all have super powers and these powers are portrayed much like Clarke Kents in Smallville. Sunlight makes them look like they’ve survived an explosion at the local glitter factory, and they don’t sport fangs! They’re super powered, don’t sleep, and have no real threats… other than these other vampires. Oh, and the only time they can play baseball is during thunderstorms because they hit the balls so damn hard it sounds like… thunder. So the happy family of seven super powered vampires plus one human are out playing a friendly game of thunder-ball. Out of the mist walks our three rogue bloodsuckers, just passing through, but responsible for a string of local killings. One whiff of Bella’s blood and we have a standoff. All of a sudden Bella is the target and the rest of the film is spent running from one of these vampires… just one… this to me is a very weak plot point, as most of the film is spent building up the sticky romance between Pattinson and Stewart. I mean c’mon, why does this one vampire want to throw away everything to pursue this one human, everything including his life. I could except the sticky romance and the stupid powers up to this point, but this is where the film tried unsuccessfully to go in a different direction in an attempt to add thrills for the audience (apparently it’s the same in the book though). Of course changing course like this, opens plot holes and even more stupidity. The climax of the film is a watered down showdown between vampires as Edward struggles to protect his true love. In all honesty, I still hated this film, it’s target audience is 30 years younger than I, so there’s nothing for me to latch onto.
Twilight New Moon – Review
Groan…. OK, the first bit of the film has Edward leaving Bella for reasons unknown. Enter Jacob, the new love interest. Actually the new direction the film hits isn’t that bad. With the exception of a few bad CG shots, I actually preferred the whole werewolf storyline. Because Bella is pre-occupied with thoughts of Edward, there’s really no sticky romance in the first two acts of the film. So I’m watching the film (I didn’t fall asleep in this one) and it’s quickly approacing the 2 hour mark, and I suddenly remember the trailer… isn’t there supposed to be this whole Italy thing where Edward is supposed to fight some elder vamps? Yeah yeah, that whole segment is painfuly squeezed into the last 20 minutes of the film. Twilight New Moon is not quite as sleep inducing as the first, but there’s still a ton of problems with the story,the direction, and of course the mediocre acting. The CG wolves are a mixed bag, sometimes looking really good, while other times it just looks aweful (the one scene that comes to mind is the first reveal of the wof as it comes out of the forest to protect Bella… kinda looks like a stuffed bear with teeth).Once again, this film (and the books) are aimed at a tween audience. There’s very little blood and all the main characters are portrayed by very pretty people! I guess you can’t knock Hannah Montanna with her wild popularity, so why knock Twilight. It knows what it is and has a following that will throw every sequel it drops into top box office positions for weeks after its release!
The newest installment of the Twilight Saga however, has me a little more interested. They’ve thrown me a bone here with a director whose actually got some balls. David Slade (30 Days of Night and Hard Candy) is directing Eclipse, and as the story builds to the vampire war, we might actually get a film in the series that tops its predecessors in all ways. It seems with each film, the series is getting a directorial upgrade. The first Twilight saw Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), the second snagged Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass – which I liked), and now David Slade…