The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 8:00 am

“You’re good with weird,” a character tells Bella mid-way through “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” That’s an understatement. In the first Twilight movie, as in the first of the series by Stephanie Meyer, high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moved to the rainiest town in the US, Forks, Washington and fell deeply in love with Edward (Robert Pattinson), who looked like a teenager but was in fact a vampire who was more than 100 years old. He and his “family,” the Cullens, are sort of vampire vegetarians, living on animal blood. But there are other vampires who continue to prey on humans, and they almost killed Bella before Edward rescued her. And then they lived happily ever after until it was time for another book/movie, and that is where we begin.
Edward, convinced that their relationship will always put Bella in danger, leaves, telling her he will never see her again. She is devastated and isolates herself from everyone. She discovers that Edward appears to her when she is in danger, so she takes some foolish risks, just to feel close to him. But then the quiet support and gentle teasing of her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) begin to make her feel that she is able to be a part of the world again.
bella-jacob-072309.jpg Like Edward, Jacob loves Bella and would do anything to protect her. And like Edward, Jacob has a secret. He is part of a tribe of wolf-people. Like “The Hulk,” his anger manifests itself in a powerful transformation. And Bella finds herself at the center of a centuries-old war between the vampires and the wolves.
The wildly popular Twilight Saga has the core elements of girl-friendly romances from “Wuthering Heights” to “Titanic:” a boyfriend who is not approved by parents who is utterly undone by the appeal of the female lead, and something to make sure that their relationship is about longing, not satisfaction. Just in case you aren’t paying close attention, we see Bella sleeping with a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” on her pillow, and her English class watching a video of the play. The teacher calls on Edward to recite one of Romeo’s speeches. And later, Edward, like Romeo, believes that his love is dead and decides he cannot live without her.
There is a lot of longing. Characters exchange meaningful looks and take an extra beat before responding to allow for some strategic intakes of breath and swelling of the score. There are moments that are more perfume commercial than movie. And as in the book, this big love Bella and Edward feel is expressed mostly in talking about the big love they feel. In a way, this is wise; we never see them doing or seeing anything that would interfere with our ability to project onto them whatever the specifics of our own fantasies of love look like. All we know or need to know is that Bella and Edward have the big, total, all-encompassing, would do anything for each other love. Just like Romeo and Juliet.
And we have Lautner’s excellent abs, which play such a significant role they should have their own billing. Lautner also has an easy confidence and sincerity on screen that nicely leavens the intensity and drama of the Bella-Edward connection. The screenplay is seasoned with some humor and a reference to self-referential cleverness that is almost meta.
New director Chris Weitz does not have Catherine Hardwicke’s feel for the rhythms of teenage interactions and the intensity of teen romance. And he does not have her ability to tell the story through the settings; we miss the lush natural world of the first chapter. Weitz and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg also have to grapple with a transitional story that translates less well to screen than the first one. But the film benefits from his greater experience with special effects and a bigger budget. He catches the spirit of the story and allows the natural chemistry between his leads do the rest. And that is enough to make this movie enormously enjoyable and keep us looking forward to the next one.

(more…)

Related Tags:

 

Based on a book Fantasy Romance Series/Sequel
Laurent20Meadow20Scene.jpg

Interview: Vampires from ‘New Moon’

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Edi Gathegi and Jamie Campbell Bower play bad guy vampires in “New Moon,” the second in the “Twilight” series based on the best-selling books by Stephanie Meyer. I had a chance to talk with them about making the movie. They were enormous fun, exceptionally friendly and happy to talk about making the movie.Laurent Meadow Scene.jpg
NM: To begin with, this film has a different director, Chris Weitz of “American Pie,” “About a Boy,” and “The Golden Compass.” How will we see his influence on the story?
EG: Every director has his own unique style. Even in big franchise film series they’ll often switch off. Chris knows how to direct big stories and he has worked with CGI and special effects. In terms of color scheme and tones, “Twilight” was very blue and “New Moon” is very brown, with the introduction of the wolves. It does look gorgeous!
NM: How do you develop your walk and other movements for these supremely graceful creatures, the Volturi?
new_moon_volturi_2.jpgEG: Stephanie Meyer said the Volturi glide. So it’s not a clumpy foot stomp. It has to be liquid looking
JCB: My character is very still. For the one small bit of walking I did from my perch to my next perch, I was like a snake almost.
EG: We went to a moving like a cat workshop with exercises and cat movement. The idea is more like a tiger, lion, or panther. This is a new mythology of vampires, no fangs, no crosses. The Volturi have no blood in their bodies. They never have to move. There is a lot of stillness. We are not trying to pass ourselves off as human like the Cullens are.

NM: Tell me about the look of your characters. What do you wear?

JCB: The look of the Volturi is more stylish in its aesthetic. We are very well dressed even though we don’t get out much. We take what we can from our victims, so it is not always coordinated.
EG: It was a collective ensemble, the group look. Laurent was more rock star-y. He’s 300 years old, well traveled, picked from his favorite fashions of the day. He is fearless, doesn’t have to impress anyone. If it pleased him, he would wear a bright purple Russian car salesman suit.
NM: What’s the most fun about playing Volturi?
JCB: Getting to be incredibly evil and stare. We make use of the contacts, even though they are Irritating and decreased my vision.
EG: That’s the funny part! We are supposed to be the most gorgeous, perfect vision creatures in the planet, and with the contacts in, none of us can see!
IMG_6264.JPG

Related Tags:

 

Actors Behind the Scenes Interview

Opening This Week

Posted on November 16, 2009 at 8:00 am

This week, I’ll be reviewing the animated “Planet 51,” about a happy planet invaded by an alien — an American astronaut, “The Blind Side,” with Sandra Bullock in the true story of a poor but talented black football player adopted by a wealthy white family, and “New Moon,” the second in the series based on Stephanie Meyer’s sensationally popular Twilight series. The other two will be published Thursday night but unfortunately “New Moon” won’t be up until late on Friday, so stay tuned.

Related Tags:

 

Opening This Week
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik