It’s been a while since I last updated this blog. It’s weird- sometimes I can’t stop myself from typing down every single cinematic thought I have and other times I just cannae be arsed. Well, I figured it was time to end this lull with a fairly long review of some sparkly vampire nonsense.
It’s very easy to sneer at the Twilight phenomenon. I mean vampires that sparkle in the sunlight? What’s next- Frankenstein’s monster wearing pink Speedos? However, since the first Twilight was marginally better than a kick in the nuts, I figured I’d better check out New Moon, lest I loosen my grip on popular culture’s jugular.
New Moon is a direct sequel to 2008’s massively popular teen vamp flick Twilight. We again follow the life and romance of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) as she continues her relationship with vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). However, when Edward suddenly leaves, Bella becomes depressed and is driven into the incredibly muscly arms of childhood friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who has a dark secret of his own- he’s a werewolf. The plot of New Moon is much, much better than Twilight‘s slice of banality. The characters are more interesting, the action actually moves outside of the dreary town of Forks and the general feel to it is a lot more enjoyable. Having said that, Kristen Stewart’s inability to actually act bugged the fuck out of me. Good ol’ R-Pattz wasn’t much better, always looking like he’s trying to scowl directly after having a gallon of Botox pumped into his face. Special mentions go to Ashley Greene and Michael Sheen, bringing incredible sexiness and brilliance to proceedings, respectively.
As I said in my review of the first film, I know I’m not exactly welcome at the Twilight party. However, I did find this film more accessible than the first. Whilst the arse-clenchingly embarrassing dialogue is still present- “Bella, you give me everything by just breathing.” it’s broken up with light humour and action beats, which keeps the whole thing running smoothly. I felt that New Moon was going to revert back to mopey form when Edward leaves and Bella drips around like a rain-soaked crumpet. However, it pulled it back with her interactions with Jacob, a considerably more likeable character than zero charisma Cullen.
Onto the business of the werewolves. I actually thought that they were well done, albiet some shonky CG slightly lessening the impact of seeing feckin’ huge wolves on screen. There is no doubt who the film is aimed at when you find that Jacob will take his shirt off at a moment’s notice. While it will inevitably cause giggles from anyone over 14, let’s just remember that girls are always flinging their tops off in teen movies, it’s nice to see some role reversal for a change. Plus, I’d be perpetually ripping my shirt off too if I didn’t have the physique of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man…
The one thing that kept striking me about New Moon was how well it was shot and scored. Some of the camera work is truly impressive and the soundtrack is great. One of the best scenes is when the wolves are chasing series baddie Victoria through the woods, intercut with Bella diving off a cliff, set to Thom Yorke’s Hearing Damage. It’s a genuinely fantastic scene and is now in my top 10 film scenes of the year. Honestly.
New Moon is an enjoyable film. Whilst the two leads still have all the chemistry of their action figure counterparts, the relationship between Bella and her dad and later, Bella and Jacob are done well enough to keep you watching ’til the end. Yeah, I had problems with it (dialogue, smack-in-the-face obvious product placement) but they weren’t enough to spoil the film as a whole. It won’t be for everyone, but if your check your scepticism at the door, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.