08 December 2009

New Moon (Stephenie Meyer)

I am already grinning to myself and have yet to write anything.

I just went to see New Moon, the second film of The Twilight Saga.

Ahhh. Where to begin?

I feel I should start with saying that this film is probably 300% better than the first film. (Review here). The new director has obviously not insisted on an insipid blue wash and allows the actors some actual screen time to emote, rather than racing the camera around them psychotically.

However, the film still suffered from the same problem that the Harry Potter films (especially the early ones) had- they are virtually incomprehensible to someone who has not read the novels. I mean, you could understand what was going on. But you would be pardoned for being under the impression that the books are eratically plotted, totally vacuous and remarkably two-dimensional. Not the case (well, not ENTIRELY the case).

The Twilight books are not GOOD... but they are a phenomenon. These books are the pinnacle of guilty pleasure reading. Odd, dangerous, melodramatic and ultimately supremely fulfilling. The films pale in comparison.

Yet still, as I mentioned before, this film was a vast improvement on the first. I almost fell out of my seat when Taylor Lautner appeared on screen, thirty pounds heavier than in the first movie. That, in itself, made the 8 pounds and unimpressive popcorn worth it. Add to the mix the fact that Robert Pattinson was given about three lines and five minute of screen time to sulk and you'll see the movie was positively five star compared to Twilight.

There's been a lot of press about the books as outlets for Stephenie Meyer to publicise her Mormon beliefs and racist, Aryan views. There's probably a lot of truth to this. The portrayal of the Quileutes is definitely questionable and Edward as the supreme enforcer of familial values and chastity is quite unnerving when combined with the stalking, controlling behaviour and omniscience Meyer depicts as charming, loving behaviour.

None of which appears with any sort of prominence in either film. Bella is far more in control in the films and Edward highly ridiculous compared to his written persona. Bella can dismiss him with a withering "Just... shut up." Edward slumps against a wall, defeated. Pathetic. In addition, you can see that the producers seem to be keeping abreast of political correctness. Even if they are from Utah.

At least the books offer some escapist fun. This film is redeemable only as an homage to Jacob Black's amazing abs.
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