Tag Archive: twilight


New Moon: Bad moon on the rise

Hate is a strong word. Hatred should be associated with intangible notions or vague persons: the waiting room at the doctor’s office, Al Qaeda, the word “hullaballoo.” I personally don’t see the point in hating a movie, a book, Miley Cyrus. Why waste any time or energy hating something that won’t care enough to hate you back?

Just saying. ‘Cause, despite that logic, the futility of dislike has never stopped me before. So, here goes: I hated “New Moon.”

The second movie adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s culture-rocking book series had a few redeeming qualities. Taylor Lautner’s body, Kristen Stewart’s awkwardness (it kinda grows on you) and a general lack of Robert Pattinson are all working in the movie’s favor. The actors, however, can’t save the movie from a dull storyline and an equally uninspired script.

I read the entire “Twilight” series during the summer of 2008, getting my head in the game just in time for the release of the final volume, “Breaking Dawn,” at the end of July. While I knew a “Twilight” movie was in the works, it was hardly something I giddily obsessed over. It was spontaneity more than anything else that drove me and my roommate Binita – who had never read the books, barely heard of the movie, and responded “what kind of messed up crap is that?” when I tried to explain the plot to her – to the “Twilight” midnight premiere last November. I left the theater thinking the movie was lousy and mis-casted; Bini left in love with R Patz.

But of course, you know the rest of the story. “Twilight” went on to become a worldwide sensation, the sensationally introverted Robert Pattinson somehow became a sex symbol, sexy vampires became the “it” phenomenon, and the rest of us non-Twihards became phenomenally fed up. Yeah, it’s been a fun year.

Despite my obvious bias against “Twilight,” I was pretty excited for “New Moon.” “New Moon” actually had a big budget. I thought this would mean improved acting, a beefed-up version of the book’s mediocre plot, a vibrant, energy and cinematic tone and an emphasis on Bella’s emotional torment.

Maybe I just expected too much.

The movie tails the book’s plot in a painstaking fashion, hardly daring to take any liberties. It’s a shame director Chris Weitz was too afraid to experiment with elements such as humor and intelligence, because it’s been proven that moviegoers actually like such things.

As a big “Harry Potter” fan, I know I complain when the movies write in scenes that aren’t in the book or royally corrupt entire plot points (good job leaving the Elder Wand lying out in the open at the end of movie six, instead of burying it with Dumbledore, geez). But at least the “Harry Potter” movies know how to build toward a climax using emotion, intensity and cleverness.

The “Twilight” movies, on the other hand, expect us to swallow exactly what they spoon-feed us without giving us any reason to do so. I guess we are supposed to buy it because Stephanie Meyer wrote it, but so freaking what if that’s how Meyer wrote it? The movies should improve upon her mediocre writing rather than just feeding her lines to actors. In “Twilight,” Meyer detailed how Edward, the vampire who can read minds, falls in love with Bella Swan. Readers never quite understand why he falls in love with her; she may possess the one mind his powers cannot penetrate, but using that logic, I’m going to fall in love with the next dude that passes me on the street, simply because we fail to read each other’s minds. It ain’t gonna happen.

The “Twilight” movie could have delved into how Edward came to love Bella, why Bella loved him back, all the throes of teenage romance that “Dawson’s Creek” explored oh-so-well, but instead… nada. The movie introduced us to the pale, lipstick-wearing Edward, made him hardcore stare at Bella for 10 minutes, and then pronounced the two were in love.

“New Moon” employs the same formula. Edward breaks Bella’s heart about 15 minutes into the movie, leaving her stranded in the woods like the classy gentleman he is. While this scene is actually one of the most emotionally compelling in the book, the movie again fails to capitalize. Meyer’s words were powerful and touching. Weitz’s visualization tries for heartbreak, but rather than showing us emotional intensity, he tells us about it. Why are viewers supposed to care that Edward leaves Bella? Oh that’s right, because you told us we should.

While the movie completely mishandles the Edward/Bella romance – it’s only what the series is known for, no big – the Jacob storyline is actually adequately explored. Once Edward vacates, the next hour treats viewers to the characterization of Jacob Black, a loyal, dependable friend who provides the emotional support that Bella needs.

Taylor Lautner, I am happy to say, pleasantly surprises as a convincing actor behind his chiseled body. Lautner deftly portrays the multiple facets of Jacob: the anger he feels toward Edward for wounding Bella, the residual longing Jacob has for Bella despite her undying love for Edward, and, most importantly, the severity of his sadness as Bella twice rejects him for the lipstick-wearing vamp.

I like a few of Weitz’s cinematographic choices. The first is his panoramic camera shot of a depressed Bella sitting in her room watching the months pass quite literally before her eyes. Edward has left her, she sees no point in functioning, and although her voice-over is of the emo-screamo, cheesy Meredith Grey variety, the unbroken camera shot is a good artistic choice. The second notable scene is Bella confronting Jacob about his really bad skills at returning phone calls. She yells at him over the pouring rain, neither of them caring how soaked they’re getting. The rain complements both Bella’s seclusion, now virtually dumped by two guys in six months, and the cold change in Jacob’s once-cheery demeanor. The third notable scene cuts intermittently between Bella climbing to the top of a cliff she intends to jump off while her father Charlie, police chief, hunts a killer “bear” in the woods. “Hearing Damage” by Thom Yorke creeps over the dark, unsettling scene, which climaxes with Bella catapulting herself into the sea below and evil vampire Victoria strangling Harry Clearwater.

Still, three artsy scenes are hardly worth my $7.50 ticket and two and a half hours of boredom. It’s too bad “New Moon” fails to capitalize on its buzz and daringly create the romantic thriller it should have been. It is too bad Bella becomes an adrenaline junkie but Weitz fails to transfer that exhilaration to his viewers. It’s too bad the “Twilight” saga is about the raw emotional lust between Edward and Bella, but the scenes with Jacob pack more of an emotional punch than Edward ever does. It’s too bad my only thought at the end was, “wow, Bella’s a bitch.”

And it’s too bad so many teen girls idolize Edward and Bella’s relationship, when she’s the epitome of a weak, pitiful girl who can only survive if she has a “man” in her life, and he personifies an emotionally abusive male who will drive his girl into a four-month depression and has only to revoke his words to make her fall back into his arms.

-Sonya Chudgar


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Bad blood

tru blood

Vampires. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the beasts have sunken their fangs deep into pop culture and don’t intend to let go anytime soon. Vamps have been the “it” factor for more than a year now, but for me, vampire fatigue set in long ago. I’m tired of hearing about the overhyped “True Blood.” I deride The CW for launching yet another book-to-television revival in the form of “The Vampire Dairies.” And any mention of Robert Pattinson or Edward Cullen makes me want to chew my face off.

So how do we cope with pop culture failing us when we most need a new trend to talk about? Through mockery, of course. Here’s a rundown of eight ways to use the vamp trend to reinvigorate television.

Show Most in Need of a Vampire:

“Grey’s Anatomy”
This snoozer proved last season that it doesn’t mind scripting undead characters (hello, Denny). Ellen Pompeo’s whiny Meredith checks out early this season due to maternity leave, and Katherine Heigl recently announced she’ll skip five episodes to film the movie “Life As We Know It.” So what better time to throw a fanged villain into the mix? McBloody, anyone?

Runner up: “American Idol”

What you didn’t know was that Fox passed up this guy when they offered Ellen DeGeneres the chair of Paula Abdul:

count_von_count

Tough loss.

Show Most in Need of a Vampire Slayer:

“The Vampire Diaries”
For obvious reasons.

Runner up: “Bones”
It’s the perfect solution. Buffy slays Dr. Temperance Brennan, and then she and David Boreanaz’s Agent Booth Angel end up together at last.

Show with a Vampire that just needs to come out of the closet already:

“Gossip Girl”
I’m talking to you, Chuck Bass.

Runner up: “Lost”
Sawyer’s really an escapee from the “True Blood” clan. Just listen to his accent.

Network Most Likely to create a Vampire Crime Drama:

CBS
They already did it once: “Moonlight” (cancelled after just one season in 2008)

Runner Up: CBS
I hear “CSI: Forks” is already in the works.

Character Most Likely to Date a Vampire:

Sam Winchester, “Supernatural”
Sammy’s past hook-ups include Ruby, a demon who ultimately convinces him to open the doors to hell and thus jumpstart Armageddon; Madison, a girl who unknowingly morphs into a werewolf at night; and Jessica, Sam’s fiancée who was murdered by the same demon that killed his mother. Dating a vampire would be a tame choice for a change.

Runner up: Dwight Schrute, “The Office”
A) Dwight already believes in vampires (see season three “Business School” episode)
B) He is only 99 percent sure Ben Franklin is dead. 99 percent fact, 1 percent imagination.
C) He could defend himself against any possible attacks: He has the strength of a grown man and a little baby.

Character Most in Need of a Vampire Boyfriend/Girlfriend:

Vince Chase, “Entourage”
Anything to raise his faltering actor status, right?

Runner up: Annie Wilson, “90210”
Annie’s dumb. And this show is boring. It could use some “life.”

Character Most Likely to Kill a Vampire:

Jack Bauer, “24”
Terrorist or not, that bitch is going down.

Runner up: Echo, “Dollhouse”
Eliza Dushku’s Echo can be programmed to take on any persona and thus perform any action. So, obviously, the Dollhouse need only program Echo to become a vampire slayer, and Faith is back in action.

Show Most Likely to Introduce a Singing/Dancing Vampire:

“Dancing with the Stars”
Hey, if they’ll cast Tom DeLay, they’ll cast anybody.

Runner up: “Glee”
As long as it meets the criteria: It sings! It dances! It’s a misfit in high school!

-Sonya Chudgar