Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Apollo guest blogger reviews 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We have a guest blogger today – Victoria, a new London correspondent for Apollo’s Cred. Keep an eye out for her byline. Her first article is a review of the divisive new Twilight film…The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Seriously though, no one on staff had the courage to see this. As always, give us your feedback!]

New Moon is the second installment of the vampire romance Twilight series, based on the books by Stephanie Meyer. Director Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About a Boy) took the helm with this film, replacing Catherine Hardwicke. He stayed quite faithful to the plot of the text but managed to speed up the pace of the film, making it quite interesting and enjoyable to watch.

The story takes us from where it ended in Twilight: Bella, a very simple teenage girl, totally in love with Edward Cullen, not only the most handsome boy in the school, but also a vampire and the most ideal man in Bella’s universe. However, their relationship is darkened and complicated by some "ordinary" problems of vampire-world, and Bella is forced to suffer through the emotional troubles of the break-up. Apart from the fact that the boy is a vampire, this story is very ordinary and has happened to every girl. Weitz should get credit for understanding this.

He shifts the genre of the film saga more towards chick-flick or female Gothic rather than vampire horror, which seems quite appropriate as the main audience is comprised largely of teenage girls. He understands girls and gives them what they want: In contrast to Twilight, New Moon has more kisses, more romantic talks that are supposed to make you cry or say “awww” and (oh yes!) more naked torsos. Sorry boys, these are only men’s naked torsos. So, for the target audience, this film is a great treat.

New Moon brings more attention to the story of werewolves and the Bella-Jacob relationship. Jacob Black, of course, is the nice boy/werewolf who helps Bella through her breakup with Edward. The werewolves' action scenes are beautifully done and fascinating to watch even if you are not a fan of the Twilight mythos. The relationship between Bella and Jacob acts as the central one in the film, which is good, as it is not as straightforward as Bella and Edward’s love. It gives the audience a chance to see some acting from Kristen Stewart and novitiate Taylor Lautner. Over the course of the film, Robert Pattinson musters a range of two to three expressions, which is probably his -- or the director’s -- idea of how an ideal man (oops!) ideal vampire should look. It is a shame because he is a good actor and certainly can pull out a wider range of different expressions, as he proved in Little Ashes.

The film's other cast members are very interesting to watch: Michael Sheen simply shines as one of the Volturi vampires, and Billy Burke as Bella’s dad proves again that he is probably the only believable human on the screen.

The cinematography of New Moon (courtesy of director of photography Elliot Davis) is starkly different from Twilight – it’s more colorful, sharp and light. That again proves the director’s intentional shift from a spooky film towards chick-flick.

The films make the world look almost dull, unchallenging and simple when compared to the books. That is, however, the problem with all mass and pop-production, whether it’s fast food or films. While it is enjoyable to consume once in a while, I hope it doesn’t become our everyday diet.

- Victoria Russo

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