November 19, 2009

In the Name of Journalistic Integrity!

DEAR GOD!!! How do the teenage girls sit through that shit? It's the Friday before Thanksgiving, which means one thing. The new installment of the mediocrity celebrating franchise Twilight, New Moon has descended upon us, ready to steal our hard earned dollars and time. How bad is this movie? Let me tell it like this. There's a segment where the characters go to the cinema to see a bad action movie. A really bad action movie, to be precise, called Face Punch. Face Punch is a better movie then New Moon.
So, the story picks up sometime after where the first left off. Bella Swan is happily enjoying her pale-as-chalk, vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen; is fitting in nicely at school; and is getting closer to her hella buff, Indian American friend, Jacob Black, who is also a werewolf, but more on that later. Life is going swimmingly, until Bella treats Edward's family to the pleasure of her company, and accidently cuts herself, causing Edward's brother to go apeshit and try to kill her. A very distraught Edward quickly gets out of town, all in the name of protecting her, causing Bella to fall into a depression so deep it borders on gratuitous. Jacob steps in to fill the niche, some familiar bloodsuckers return to cause trouble, and it all ties up nicely in a quaint little Italian village. Now, I'm sure the book told a good story; one filled with great character development and moved at a nice pace. Or, at least it would, if it was written by anyone other then Stephanie Meyer. Anyway, the plot in this movie moves at such a sluggish pace and takes absolutely no time to explore the characters in any sort of believable way that you begin to wonder if a daytime soap was condensed into movie form. Not good, in any sense of the word.
Performances are the same here as they were in the first, meaning, New Moon boasts some truly terrible performances. Kristen Stewart gives wooden a whole new meaning as Bella. Now, don't get me wrong, Kristen Stewart can be good. As proof of this, her work in Adventureland was simply sublime. I even was a little warm to her performance in Twilight. For New Moon she has taken a step back. She is worse in this movie then she was in the first! What the fuck? Everything she does is layered with such overbearing angst that I wanted to reach into the screen and choke the life out of her. It's so unrealistic. Now, I'm not a teenage girl... I don't think, but I'm pretty sure that most teenage girls are more down to earth then Bella, even if their boyfriends happen to be demonic bloodsucking fiends. Expect to see her on my worst of 2009 list in December. Robert Pattinson is back as Edward. He's barely in the movie, which is good, because he's still just as lifeless. Taylor Lautner's role as Jacob has been expanded exponentially, which is not a good thing. Of the three major roles, his is probably the best performed, but it is still a stinker. I understand why he went through all the trouble to buff up for this movie. His most interesting moments are when he's shirtless. He conveys zero emotion when he should be conveying tons. On the brighter side of things, New Moon introduces a few characters who are actually well performed, but woefully underused. Michael Sheen is a delight as the maliciously evil and powerful vampire Aro, and Dakota Fanning shows a side we've never seen from her as the sadistic Jane. Both of these characters, and a few others, only appear in the last 20 minutes of the film, which is such a crime. I would have loved to see a whole movie of them instead of the shit we're stuck with.
Now, you may be thinking, "Oh, New Moon is so bad, but how does it compare to Twilight?" Let me tell you. New Moon is actually better then Twilight! I know! Ridiculous, right? It's a mark of how abysmal the first one is that this drek actually qualifies as better. But, well, it is. First off, director Chris Weitz knows how to film an action scene. The few action scenes that are present are actually a bit exciting and well shot. The CGI is vastly improved over the last film; the wolves especially look very lifelike and manage to convey more emotion then their human counterparts. When your human actors are getting beat by CG wolves, it's probably time to call it a day. The main improvements are actually quite impressive. First off, there's some real, you know, color here. Everything is not as aggressively gray and emo looking. There are some wonderful hues of brown, yellow, and red. And, finally, the big thing, is that the vampires are actually scary in this one. Well, not all of them, but the ones that need to be are. Edi Gathegi and Rachelle Lefevre return as Laurent and Victoria, respectively. The, collective, 20 minutes that they are in the film are the most intense in the whole thing. And, I'm sorry, but Michael Sheen was positively terrifying as Aro. There is a greater effort to make the vampires seem more dangerous this time, and it does not go unappreciated. There is a short segment in the very end, where a vampire leads an unknowing group of humans, children included, into a room where they are to become the soulless bastards' next meal. The scene ends with the human's screams as the vampires have their way with them. This scene is only 30 seconds long, but it was what I wanted from the whole movie! I wanted intensity; I wanted high stakes. I did not want Pattinson and Lautner to spend 2 fucking hours coming up with different ways to tell Stewart that they love her, but that's what I got! How anyone could fall in love with this girl is beyond me. She's a whiney, little bitch! So, yes, there are vast improvements, but, they are so underutilized and poorly handled that I don't even know why I'm writing about them.
As with Twilight, what I'm saying here is going to jack to change your mind on this franchise. The teenage girl fans will love it. Everyone else will hate it's guts. I'm not giving my final verdict on the franchise just yet. The next one, Eclipse is supposed to ramp the action way up, and is being directed by David Slade, who gave us the wonderfully violent, disgustingly gory, and criminally dismissed 30 Days of Night, which is a good vampire film, in case anyone cares to know. Here's to hoping that he will say "Fuck you, tweens!" and bring some actual grit to this franchise, but I won't count on it.
Uggg! My god damn journalistic integrity will the be the death of me! D-

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