Friday, December 4, 2009

Twilight: New Moon

Someone once told me that the entire thing with Twilight wasn’t about drooling over the characters of Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.
After seeing Twilight, and now for this review, New Moon I can agree with that.
Apparently the other half of this entire thing with Twilight is about what a complete idiot Bella Swan must be.
An obsessive, depressive, mentally and emotionally unstable idiot.
I’ve known people in their teen years who’ve taken a break up pretty badly.
Bella is a different story, as you’ll soon discover, as spoilers will abound here and there throughout this review.
As a matter of fact, I haven’t been this dumbstruck by a character’s stupidity since Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The film opens to what can only be a dream sequence, featuring Edward already sparkling away in all his albino-James Dean glory.
This dream will prove to be somewhat prophetic later in the film.
This is assuming of course that you get that far without throwing up.
Anyway, it’s Bella’s birthday, and she gets a digital camera from her lethargic father and a photo album from her unseen mother, for her to capture her senior year in all its mundane wonder.
She of course snaps a pic of her “friends”, or as I like to think of them, rent-a-characters; since all they seem to do in these films so far is to stand around, blurt out insipid dialogue, and do nothing.
I actually find myself rubbing my temples as I type this.
No, really.
Of course, what should I expect; they’re really just there to show how “wonderful” and “special” Bella’s supposed to be.
As if.
And really, if she was so wonderful and special, she wouldn’t treat people she considers friends as such throw-aways.
On with the story, such as it is; Bella also happens to be nagging the love of her life Edward to just go ahead and “change her” as she put it.
Unfortunately for Bella, Edward feels by being a vampire he is damned, and of course doesn’t want such a fate to befall his beloved human girlfriend.
To add to Bella’s distress, it turns out Edward and his “family” have to skip town; leaving Bella in a broken-hearted depression for approximately three months.
We know this, due to a wonderful pan around shot of Bella as she sits and broods, accompanied by the words “October”, “November” etc. flashed upon the screen as the camera pans around her.
This of course is to give the impression of time passing as Bella broods and sulks, but really just kinda gives the impression that the cameraman is being chased by a badger.
While Edward-less, Bella also takes on more reckless and adrenalin-junkie type behaviour, all the while seeing visions of her dear Edward.
Medication might be a good idea around this time.
She begins to start spending time with her friend Jacob, hanging with him as they restore a dirt bike to feed her adrenaline needs; the pair of course become closer, and Jacob wishes to cultivate a romantic relationship with her, but she hesitates, practically admitting to using him as an emotional crutch while she still pines for Edward.
And again, I rub my temples, and then my eyes.
Oh, but the plot thickens; turns out Jacob also has a special secret to hide, which comes as a surprise to no one, I would think.
Since the title of the film pretty much gives it away, I’ll assume you gentle readers could guess what his little secret is, yes?
Ok, he’s a werewolf.
And not just any werewolf; he’s the big, blatantly CGI’ed werewolf that also is a part of a pack of werewolves.
And of course, all have their shirts off through pretty much the rest of the film, to show off their buff physiques.
Well, except one; who actually seems kinda scrawny; I expected him to turn into a cute puppy instead of a werewolf, really.
And when I say “blatantly CGI’ed” I mean that I couldn’t suspend disbelief for one second when I first laid eyes on these giggle-inducing lycans.
See, they look like regular wolves, but bigger.
Like, size of a bear bigger.
Never mind that I’ve seen better computer-generated characters on the X-Box, not even the animation of the wolves was convincing; as if the animators couldn’t be bothered to study how wolves might actually move, or run; instead just opting to guess at it.
I’d mention the pointless little sub-plot of the remaining “bad” vampires from the first film still wanting a piece of Bella, but it really seems to go nowhere; it just gives the werewolves in the film something to do.
All of this brooding, and hallucinating on Bella’s part results in her doing the only thing she feels she can do…..jump off a cliff.
Wait, what?
This does however offer the one truly comedic moment in the film for me, the moment she surfaces in the water she plunged her scrawny little arse into, and all seems well, we’re treated to her eyes going wide as the tide comes in and knocks her back underwater.
Seriously, I was laughing like Nelson from The Simpsons.
Sadly though, she is rescued by Jacob, who of course berates her blatant stupidity as I had through much of the film.
Also at this point, I find myself asking “Is this going anywhere?”
The plot responds by bringing one of the Cullen’s, Alice back into the scene, who had a vision of Bella dying from her dive off of the cliff.
Oh, if only.
She informs the wet and shivering heroine that Edward, believing Bella dead, is causing quite a stir in Italy with the vampire royalty The Volturi, resulting in him deciding to reveal himself to the humans, so as to be killed for this crime.
Y’know, cause he can’t exist in a world where Bella is dead.
Rubbing my temples again.
Despite Jacob’s plea for Bella to remain, both she and Alice take off for Italy to save
Edward from his own blatant stupidity.
I get the impression this is supposed to mirror the classic Romeo & Juliet scenario, but the ending of this is so predictable, I didn’t even arch an eyebrow at the outcome.
And of course, this is where Bella’s prophetic dream from the beginning of the film comes into play.
Like it really matters now; like I’m going to be watching this dreck and say “Oooohhh! I get it! That’s deep!”
No, instead I’m both rubbing my temples again, and rolling my eyes.
Bella of course stops Edward at just the last second, and they all go to have audience with the Volturi; whose pancake white make-up is so bloody obvious, I’m rolling my eyes again.
Although, this scene does have one redeeming feature that saved this entire film from receiving a no Zombie-Spidey rating; namely we get to see some vampire fight action, which is actually pretty decent, if not at least mildly entertaining.
Unfortunately, after suffering almost two hours of mind-numbing whiney broody Bella, it certainly isn’t much of a pay off.
Also making her vampire debut in this scene is Dakota Fanning (War Of The Worlds) as a member of the Volturi, Jane.
She really doesn’t have much to do, aside from showing off her mental powers and eyeliner.
In the end, the Cullens of course return, and take a democratic vote on whether to change Bella; which results in a near unanimous decision in favour.
Of course Edward’s return doesn’t sit well with Jacob, to which Bella tells him that she will of course always choose Edward.
But Edward has one condition if he is the one to change her; he asks her hand in marriage.
The End.
One can assume that this story was meant to strengthen the bond between Bella and Edward, and set up a rivalry between him and Jacob.
The problem is, it bases this all on the idea that Bella is worth it.
She isn’t.
As a story thus far, all Twilight seems to accomplish is a sterilization of the vampire genre; which is sad.
I love vampires, I love vampire movies.
I love werewolves, I love werewolf movies.
This is neither; it’s merely a weak backdrop to showcase Stephenie Meyer’s mary sue purple-prose writing and characters.
A self-indulgent fantasy that many other vampire fan fictions do with more talent and class than Meyer has in her pinky finger.
As a main protagonist, Bella is weak, whiny, and pathetic.
In the first book, which I had the misfortune of reading, since I figured I couldn’t bash until I read it for myself, Bella is considered by the writer a “special snowflake”.
Flake, yes; special…..not even close.
The characters as a whole in these stories thus far come across as flat, and dull; unable to incite even the faintest spark of emotion from the viewer, save perhaps disgust.
I came across a livejournal that pointed out other things wrong far better than I could, as quoted below:

According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, these are some signs that you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
"Stay away from the werewolves. I love you."

* Make all of the decisions?

* Act like the abuse is no big deal, i
t’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
"If I wasn't so attracted to you, I wouldn't have to break up with you."

* Threaten to commit suicide?
"I just can't live without you. In fact, I'll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you."

* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.

These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.

Has your partner...
* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn't have time for anyone else!

* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).

* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?

* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
"We're breaking up. And I'm leaving you in the forest."

* Scared you by driving recklessly.

* Forced you to leave your home.
She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.

* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.

* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon... (I know, I know, cheap shot.)

* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Check, wolf-boy.

Now I'm pissed. According to the NDVH, "If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship." This list is fifteen.

Holy. Hell.
What really disturbs me is the fact that Bella may be considered a role model for young teen girls.
Y’know….I like Transformers; stay with me on this, it’s going somewhere.
But I thought the last film was pretty stupid.
Big, dumb, loud, ridiculous, stupid.
But I have to admit…I was certainly entertained.
But I certainly wouldn’t pay to see the next film if it’s going to do the same thing.
Now, from what I’ve seen, the Twilight series just continues to get dumber.
But you know what?
It’s still going to make loads of cash with each installment, the next of which is actually due early next year.
The next Transformers film?
It may not.
So really, the Twilight series is pretty much critic-proof.
No amount of pissing and moaning on our end will change that.
I’ll probably endure some Twi-hards out there who’ll tell me “you just don’t get it” or those rare psychotic few who have actually made death threats to those who disagree with the “vision” of their beloved Stephenie Meyer.
Screw that noise.
As I’ve said earlier, the next installment is due early next year, I believe.
The studio seems to be rushing these out, while the popularity lasts, or until the audience realizes that perhaps it is indeed crap.
Because this certainly isn’t a vampire film, nor is it a werewolf film.
And no, it’s not a romance film either.
It’s nothing more than a self-indulgent mess that the author shouldn’t even dare to call literature, or that the director and producers should dare call filmmaking, either.


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