Six Months To Take It All In And Reflect: A New Moon Critique

I must say that having been one of those twi-hards who totally saw the first showing in Philadelphia on opening night, the suspense and electricity of the unknown was thick, you could choke off the excitement. Expecations were very high for this film since Twilight and, of course the trailers, left us wanting more.

After a few months and about twenty viewings of New Moon, I have to say that my inital euphoria has waned and my sensibilities have kicked in.

Was New Moon better than Twilight? Yes and no.

My issues with Twilight, the movie, weren't very many as we already knew it was going to be low budget and we were dealing with a fresh crop of actors as leads, sans Kirsten Stewart whom by all means should be considered a seasoned vet (whether you agree that her acting is great or not). So my expectations were never high to begin with and I think director Catherine Hardwicke's passion and dedication to the film boiled over in folds on screen, and I came to appreciate those touches she put on the material to help it translate from script to screen. With what she had in terms of budget and the small window for shooting principal photography, I feel like she did a great job and a lot of people were unecessarily harsh on her as soon as they saw the trailers for New Moon and were like "Oh, it's going to be way better". And I have to say, because the movie had a bigger budget, I was expecting a little more. And in terms of visual effects and the wolves' transformations, Laurent being more bad-ass and blah, blah, blah, New Moon did supercede the previous, but that was only because it had the bank to do so.

But my issues with the second installment are what made it's first far better IMO. Attention to the details of the book were a big part of the book fandom latching on to Twi. With the exception of a few small dets like Emmett eating the damn cookie (okay that was major) and maybe a few things here and there, which Catherine was able to clear up and stated that they were for the sake of transation from reading to visual concepts, Catherine took care of Stephenie's vision.

I'm not dissing Melissa Rosenberg completely, but I feel that Catherine, first, was right about the script needing more time. I thought the dialogue was effing horrid to a certain extent. There were genuine moments of awesomeness, mostly because people like Peter Facinelli and Billy Burke know their stuff and can make everything and anything work. But that only works if you know what you're doing. And as much as we all love Robert, he has not yet, nor Kristen for that matter, (and I am one of those people who do not hold much stock in her as an actor or as Bella) have the chops to pull it off. The same can be said for Taylor Lautner, whose acting was not bad, but still a little lacking. But all of that could have been avoided had the script been a little more wanting. Lines like (I'm paraphrasing), "Jake, you're like buff" and "doubting your mad skills" made me want to barf. Taylor Lautner telling Ashley Greene's Alice that "things could get very ugly" was so pathetically un-ironic and unoriginal, I had the same feeling as when I first opened up the novel Twilight in a Barnes & Nobles three years ago, and laughed my butt off at the horrid writing (I have since then decided that while Stephenie has improved as a writer, she is still a much better storyeller than she is a novelist).

With the first movie, you can tell that the writing went through a major process. It was refined. It was not the best script in the world, but the lines held meat, and there were some really great scenes throughout the entire movie. This movie felt a little rushed. And of course it was. Because it was given a green light just one day after the movie premiere of Twi, that didn't leave a whole lot of time between early November and-what-April (?) to fix the problems that were going on with the script. Catherine knew that. No matter how much that bluish steady camera crap was a little annoying after awhile at least it went with the theme of the movie and matched the feeling and words being shown on camera. NM may have the glitz but it didn't have the guts.

As for Chris Weitz, I do think he did some lovely things with the movie visually. I loved the cienematography by Javier Aguirresarobe. I loved the color palette. But in a movie where a lot of people feel the acting leaves a lot to be desired by the two leads and everyone who is a fan of the book first (and that's like, the majority of the move fanbase believe it or not) is wanting damn near perfection, allowing Alice to jump over stairs at school like she was Shawn Johnson on crack when the whole point is for the Cullens to appear normal and blend in, kind of makes being inconspicuous a little hard yeah? It annoyed me more than it should because I was still thinking about it five minutes later during an important part of Bella and Edward's discussion from classroom to the Cullen home. And Bella shouting. "Hey Jasper, NO FAIR WITH THE MOOD CONTROL THING!", since people in the tunnels hiding with Osama couldn't hear her, was also annoying. Yes Bella would say that, but Bella is probably more conscious and aware of not outing the Cullens than even they are and that's saying a lot. At this point in the movie and all throughout, people were laughing at things that I don't think were supposed to be really funny (a few days later my observations were shared by an Entertainment Weekly reviewer who pretty much said the same thing).

I could have done without Jacob's fake sprint up the tree into Bella's window, along with that whole scene's writing, including KS grabbing a fist full of TL'S hair which looked way rehearsed. But what I really thought was crazy was toward the end, when Alice's vision is shown to Volturi leader Aro and we see Robert and Kristen (with facial expessions that kind of matched mine as in "REALLY THOUGH?") running slow mo through the 100 Acre Woods). It was all very Tuck Everlasting without there being an everlasting feeling of whatever good thing we were supposed to get out of it. As we say in North Philly, "that sh*t was gay!". Sorry Wanda Sykes, but I don't mean gay in a good way, like "Oh I wish I was a man so I could shag Adam Lambert and Neil Patrick Harris to the ends of the earth because they are just that hot). I mean it was whack. A simple shot of Bella's red eyes would do the trick for me.

At the end of the day, New Moon was good. I enjoyed it after I bought the DVD and had time to let go of my issues and just like it for what it was. I had to buy the DVD because when it comes to be a Twi-fan you take your Twilection very seriously, but if they were going to choose quantity over quality to make this movie, then I'm already not a going to be happy with the next two. Believe me, if New Moon would have come out in June as opposed to November, what would have those extra six months done for the script? There would have been time for someone to say no, and I'm not talking about Stephenie or anyone else already involved, I'm talking about someone objective who could say to them that some of that stuff was a hot mess.

I hope David Slade and Melissa Rosenberg have something to bring to Eclipse that will be out of this world. Judging by the small preview on our UFE NM DVD's it looks like it will be amazing, but so did New Moon and I was a bit dissapointed.



Views: 22

Comment by dearygal on May 1, 2010 at 12:07am
I definitely see where you are coming from. Books are almost always better than movie versions. They really did a good job considering the butchering they could have done. My fingers are crossed for Eclipse, but from what I saw in the leaked script, I'm trying to keep my expectations low. Eclipse is my favorite and I don't think they will do as good of a job as they should, and that sucks!
Comment by Emma Wilson on May 1, 2010 at 2:23am
I agree the films could have been so much better, not better that't the wrong word, they could have been so much more i think is more appropriate, as a Twi-Hard they veered to far from the books for my liking and things happen in the wrong order which is annoying. Eclipse is my favourite of the four books and there are certain scenes and lines that I will be devastated if they are not included in the film. The trailers do make Eclipse look amazing but whether is turns out that way or not I will still love it nonetheless because it's what we do xxx
Comment by Carmen Rohde on May 1, 2010 at 8:17am
I love the cast and felt that they did the best with what they had to work with. I felt that some of the scenes were edited in a strange way, as if the scene had four parts but they only showed 1 and 3 so therefore you, if you hadn't read the book you wouldn't get what was happening. Some of the dialog was just plain cheesy. The ending was rushed and left out some of the most beautiful and what I enjoyed most from the book. I think Alice's "Vision" was just plain ridiculous and that they could have done a better job. That Mr. Roger's sweater vest on Rob and the way dressed Kristen was not in keeping with the characters. I agree that a simple close up of Bella as a vampire would have been sufficient and would have worked much better. I hope that for "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn" that they don't eliminate or minimize the scenes that I loved the most. I hope that they are true to the books. My comments not withstanding I saw "New Moon" four times, bought the DVD and will go to see "Eclipse" because I love the Twilight Saga and because I love Kristen, Rob and Taylor.
Comment by Raissa De Oliveira on May 1, 2010 at 9:08am
Twilight-related articles are the only articles I will and did read lOl xD
& I agree with her in some partss, like when Alice jumped over the stairs, the first thing that came to me was "Wasnt she supposed to be all girly & supposedly normal ?" & Where's her damn spiky freakin hair ?!
Well what REALLY bothered me was the whole " Hey Jasper, NO FAIR WITH THE MOOD CONTROL THING! " That killed me ! Like, doesnt she know better ?!?!? But anyways, now that I knoww Twilight had a smaller budget then New Moon I think Catherine really pulled it off with what she had :) & the bad lines thing in New Moon, I kinda blame it on uss O.O Cause like we always want what we want when we want it xD We Twi-fans like demand for it to come out sooner, not giving them much time to make it good & impress us, so thats why we get dissapointed when scenes like Edward leaving Bella felt like they fast & being rushed.. but I STILL cried :( lOl
Alice's vision could've been way better, what were they wearing !? like if Bella's gonna be a vampire SOON then they should be wearing something a little more modern... lOl
Im a hard hard hard hard Twi-hard but I do realize its flaws, its not THE best movies ever, but I still love them & obsess over them :D
& I didnt come to realize all these things till I bought the DVD & started watching it every day lOl I love it when she says "Because when it comes to be a Twi-fan you take your Twilection very seriously" OH YEAHH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D
I still think Twilight AND New Moon directors did a good job, with the budget AND time they had, I think they really pulled it off :)
Comment by jessica Moran on May 1, 2010 at 10:21am
I had high expectations for New Moon, due to the bigger budget, and while I thought it was good overall, It could have been better. The script stayed as close to the books as possible - (except the crucial scene at the end, which they totally screwed up - i'm never going to get over that proposal scene >:[ ) and the actors did an amazing job, but I still prefer the first one.
First of all, there was the wigs.... oh my god.
While I get that the actors may not want to dye their hair, or it may be time-saving, I still think they should have done a better job!!! I mean, Alice's hair is supposed to be spiky, and no-one's supposed to change their looks in the books, but every one did! even Edward! I preferred him in Twilight, because he actually looked younger, he looked seventeen! In New Moon...he was Robert with contacts lol - not that I don't love Rob ;) also, there was Jackspers hair. o_O uhhh what the hell?! poor guy... it doesn't seem to be any better in Eclipse either but I guess we'll just have to live with that!
The script was far as scripts go. I think it could have been better if Melissa didn't have to cut it down to fit into two hours. I didn't really see the point of Bella and Edward 'frolicking' as vampires. I agree with the other comments, a simple close-up of Bella's red/gold eyes would have done it for me!!! Still, the actors all did amazing jobs with what they had to work with, and i will definitely be going to see the next ones (squeal! Bill Condon! :D )
Oh and another thing before I go. Don't hate me for saying, but some of the lines Bella and Jake had were annoying and unnecessary, and I thought they were a little too rehearsed. I didn't feel any connection between them at all, and that's upset me a little, cause now I'm worrying for how Eclipse will work... I do love Chris Weitz, he's so funny and so devoted, and did an amazing job with the colouring and all, but I LOVED Catherine's blue-tones and knack of making things feel raw. I loved the stare-off between Edward and Jake at the prom, where I could literally feel the anger they held for eachother, before I'd even read New Moon. But in the latest film? I just didn't get that same feeling, no matter how many times Jake says he hates him. I don't know why I feel like that, I just don't. I also kinda didn't like the whole 'wolves fighting and knocking over the camera' thing. I didn't get that either. :P
Despite all this negative crap i've written, I ended up seeing it ten times anyway (embarrassing much?!) because I still love the story.
I just wish they had spent more time working on it, but then again, we fans don't want to wait. Guess summit can't win!!
Eclipse looks brilliant and more exciting from what i've seen in the trailers so let's hope that Summit do better this time! :)
Comment by Carmen Rohde on May 1, 2010 at 2:49pm
The problem was NOT the actors. It was the script and the editing. Kristen is a very talented actor as exhibited by many of her other films, such as "The Runaways", "Speak", "Yellow Handkerchief", "In to the Wild", "Panic Room", etc. Rob is a good actor too as exhibited by "Little Ashes", etc.
Comment by Deanna Willis on May 1, 2010 at 9:22pm
i loved both movies- it's hard to translate words to film. i think that's why the movies seem kind of "cheesy". overall, i think both directors did the best they could. i say kudos to melissa rosenburg for having the balls to mtake on such a beloved book series! come on june 30th...........can't wait!


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