Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon... kind of a review, but more like a list of whatever I could remember.

This is a list, sort of, of my thoughts on New Moon. I'm mostly trying to remember what I thought about the movie as I was watching it, as opposed to what I think after reflecting a bit.

Also, I'm sharing my thoughts with you as if you know everything already. I'm not doing courtesy summaries, because you can Wikipedia that easily. Okay?

So... my thoughts on New Moon the movie (NMTM), in random, semi-coherent rambling in which I'm lazy about italicizing titles:

Let me preface this by saying that New Moon the book (NMTB) has always been my least favorite - not because I don't like it, but because it was the most painful for me to read. I remember it was a cold November when I finally picked up the Twilight series, and was going through some depression of my own at the time, so when I finally got to those famous blank "month" pages in NMTB, I seriously felt like maybe the only person more desperately sad than I was at that moment was probably Bella herself. I guess you can say that when it comes to what I'm reading, I can really get swept into the feelings of the characters, and such as it was, I was totally consumed with sadness and loneliness for DAYS (well, until Edward showed up again), that's how deeply affected I was by this book, and in all honesty, I haven't re-read it in full until this past week, and I only made myself do it because I wanted to refresh my memory for the movie.

That said... having re-read the book recently, I was very happy about how well adapted it was, compared to the first book. (Warning #2: I am going to be comparing NMTM to Twilight the movie quite a bit.)

TTM, I thought, JUMPED into their relationship. One minute it's, "DID YOU GET CONTACTS?" and the next, it's, "YOU ARE MY LIFE NOW." In the book, there's much more development of their attraction to each other, and there are those few precious moments where Bella actually calls out Edward on his douchebaggery before she finally decides that she loves him and he is perfect in every way. Granted, people will say, "Well, that book is a million pages, and movies have to be much shorter!", but I feel like Melissa Rosenberg (the scriptwriter) spent her "time" unwisely. (Why do we get multiple montages of them having conversations that we can't hear? Why not exchange those for some actual audible conversations? WHY DIDN'T WE GET THE BLOOD TYPING SCENE???... ahem...)

That said, New Moon didn't feel quite so jumpy. While we moved into the Edwardless part of the story rather quickly, I didn't feel as if I missed anything. I loved the opening epigraph (even though R&J is never mentioned again throughout the rest of the movie) and the grandma scene. And Billy Burke as Charlie was (as he was throughout the WHOLE movie) pretty priceless with his gray hair comment. (Dude, have you SEEN Billy Burke without the Charlie stache? I'm starting Team Charlie!)

By the way, I don't have a lot of SQUEE moments over Edward (or Jacob, either), but I just have to say that scene with him reciting the lines from Romeo's death monologue was totally sigh-worthy (and I did almost sigh aloud in the movie theatre). This is where my English lit nerdiness comes in. There's something about cute guys and iambic pentameter that just melts my cold heart. The only thing would've made it better is if Robert Sparkleson could've recited it in his British accent. ("Robert Sparkleson" is a Cleolinda-ism, by the way. I love her.)

Ahem, /end squee. So the opening was great, although I could've done without the Volterra preview. And again, I'm complaining a little bit that they decided to include the "these violent delights" lines and they image-dropped the R&J book cover without later on including the whole "What if Juliet chose Paris?" discussion later.

Alice: I love Alice, and I love how Ashley Greene plays Alice, but could someone please FIRE the costume designer/stylist? What is up with Alice's clothes? If I didn't already know she was fashion-obsessed, I never would have figured it out from her clothes in the movie. I really don't think Alice would've worn a flannel plaid scarf tied all the way up her neck like that. That said, I love that Alice had more to say and more interaction with Bella. I was worried about how that would play out. In TTB, there's that part where Bella, Alice, and Jasper spend a LOT of time together in Phoenix in the hotel room that TTM barely even mentions. (I'm still pissed we didn't get to see Jasper awkwardly accompany Bella to the airport ladies' room.) Anyway, that part of the book is very important for establishing Alice and Bella, and I wondered if it would be weird if they were all of a sudden totallybestfriendswhoarethisclose in New Moon. But it wasn't bad, actually.

Jasper: always has rat's nest hair (that got worse by the voting scene at the end... seriously, Jasper? Can't you get J. Jenks to hook you up with a good stylist?), and the same "I am so constipated" expression.

The Cullens in general: need to ease off the foundation. I didn't know Bare Minerals made a shade called Cream of Mushroom.

The birthday party scene, which I've seen quite a few times in trailers and previews and sneak peeks, didn't lose any of its magic after so many viewings. I thought the slooooow moooooo was a bit overdone, but Edward pushing Bella into the table/wall was actually quite a shock to me, because they actually showed him doing it, and, I don't know, seeing a guy do that to a girl - even if it's to save her life - is still squicky to me.

Once that part was over... I am SO sorry to admit this... I knew what was coming, and I actually started to cry. I started to cry IN ADVANCE of Edward leaving Bella in the woods, and actually, if I'm remembering correctly, this scene in the movie felt a lot harsher than the conversation they actually have in the book. Like, it HURT. And I was totally hating Edward even though I KNEW he didn't mean it. Man, it was just mean. And I totally cried. I didn't sob, but the tears were rolling down and my nose was starting to get runny, and the waterworks did not stop for a while.

I was happy to see that they kept the "months" sequence in the movie, because that might've been the most powerful part of the book, for me. (Bella, as the narrator, has to say something about everything, or else we wouldn't have a story, so when she says absolutely NOTHING and the pages are empty, we really feel her mental absence.)

So, I have to comment on the Alice emails/voiceovers... I thought the emails were unnecessary. I liked the voiceovers and thought they would've been sufficient as interior monologue, considering how, again, there wasn't much to establish Alice and Bella as BFFFs. I even might've been satisfied if it were Bella talking to Alice in her head (especially since she says she has no one to talk to). But the emails? Kind of awkward and unnecessary.

Kristen Stewart really made me cry. The empty staring off, the screaming into her pillow... it hurt me to watch her. I really have to give kudos to how Stewart plays Bella in general, because it's not easy to make a character like Bella exist as something more substantial than an Everyperson. (There are a lot of us who feel like Meyer wrote Bella as BLAND and GENERIC and LACKING IN PERSONALITY as possible so that the reader can insert herself into the story so it's like YOU CAN BE WITH EDWARD, YAY!)

Okay... I've lost where I was...

Okay, I also have to give kudos to Anna Kendrick as Jessica, who is a b**** in the book, but in the movie is quite likeable and charming. (Ever since TTM, I can't stop saying, "I KNOW, RIGHT???" and it's because of her.)

I was VERY surprised that Bella got on that motorcycle. And was also surprised that having a visual Edward-Alarm-Bell was not as cheesy as I thought. (They had to get more Edward eye candy in there SOMEHOW, right?) And they effectively created another way to introduce the motorcycle element of the story quickly and easily.

So... now, Jacob. I know he shows up in the beginning, but this is where he REALLY starts to show up, and this is where I'll start talking about him now. I have to say, I had lots of doubts about Taylor Lautner's acting ability (he's kind of an awkward ham, if you've ever seen his interviews) and his baby face (as in, am I REALLY supposed to believe that Bella would find herself attracted to Sharkboy?). But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. He played Jacob very well, and this wasn't a simple part to play like in the first movie. And, um... I have to admit, he's a lot more attractive than I thought he would be (which REALLY grosses me out to say so, because he's the same age as my students). But it's not how he looks, so much as he does the whole "I'll take care of you" thing very well, and I like that. Lautner made Jacob and Bella's relationship much more believable to me than it was when I read the book, because despite what the pages said, I still thought of Jacob as this young BOY.

And in this case, I thought the montages were effective. We definitely got the development of their relationship in a much more believable fashion than we did with Edward and Bella in TTM.

So, one of my favorite moments in the book is when Bella, Mike, and Jacob go to the movies, and I was NOT disappointed. First of all, the fake movie names: "Love Is Love Spelled Backwards"? "Face Punch"? You could hear the mocking in Stewart's and Guy-Who-Plays-Mike's voices. BRILLIANT. And then the actual snippet of Face Punch dialogue (paraphrased):

"PUT YOUR GUN DOWN OR I'M GOING TO BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF!"
"NO, YOU PUT YOUR GUN DOWN OR I'M GOING TO BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF!"
"BOTH OF YOU PUT BOTH YOUR GUNS DOWN OR I'M GOING TO BLOW BOTH YOUR HEADS OFF!!!!"

Sorry, I just thought that was awesome :) I'm actually surprised how funny the movie was, considering how depressing the book was.

Okay... what's next... everything was just awesome as is. The scene with Laurent, the scene with the cliff divers... everything was just really well done.

The scene between Jacob and Bella in the rain was wrenching. I actually have a MUCH easier time buying into their "tortured love" situation than Edward and Bella's. I don't know why. I was really, really rooting for Jacob in this movie. (Eclipse, however, is a different story... manipulative bastard.)

The wolf CGI - I was worried they wouldn't make the wolves big enough, but they didn't disappoint, and I'm happy with how it looks. I also like how they were mindful about how, when any of the guys phases, the clothes just TEAR into shreds, like they're supposed to. It was a small detail that they could've overlooked, but didn't. So I'm glad.

Emily was so pretty! And the scar was not as bad as I'd imagined it. Also... is this not where we get the imprinting explanation? Or is that Eclipse? I'm getting old, I can't remember.

Paul: [sheepishly] "Sorry!" = awesome.

Jumping to "The Big Day Where All the Crap Happens":
- I LOVED LOVED LOVED how Rosenberg tied in Harry Clearwater's heart attack to Victoria. REALLY nice touch!
- I also really LOVED LOVED LOVED Victoria's hair color. (Sorry, just had to say it.)
- The glimpse of Victoria in the water swimming toward Bella was as creepy a moment as I've ever seen. I kind of have a fear of the ocean (and all the possible things you might see down there in the dark water).

The return of Alice - You know, I would've really loved to have seen the conversation between Alice and Charlie about Bella. That part of the book always made me cry too. If they had included that in the movie, I MIGHT'VE forgiven them for putting Alice in yet another GOD AWFUL outfit.

Volterra - You know, I really had a hard time keeping everyone straight, but then again, it's not like I paid much attention. I know Aro, and I know Jane, and I know there IS a Marcus, but I wasn't quite sure which one he was - the other dark-haired one? So who was the blond guy? And who was the guy played by the mutant kid from X-Men? Also, I was kind of hoping that Aro would be a little bit more crazy. But that's just me. Like a silly, CRAZY old man.

Tangent 1: Edward without his shirt on actually looks like a heroin addict. Put that thing back on, sweetheart. Jacob clearly wins in this contest.

Tangent 2: That yellow Porsche did NOT disappoint. It totally out-sexied every person in the movie.

The fight scene wasn't actually in the book, but I understand their need for some sort of climactic action, so there it is. It wasn't corny.

Well, it wasn't corny until Alice shows us her vision of Edward and Bella frolicking in the grass. EDWARD - a vest? Really? Oh well, I'm guessing whoever dressed Alice gets to dress the people in her visions too. (Tangent 3: ALICE - that ugly headscarf? really?)

Okay, I really need to wrap this up because my dogs need to go out for their walk:

I have to say, I stand corrected about the end of the movie (the proposal). I thought that Edward doesn't bring up marriage until Eclipse, but apparently I was wrong. So, I'm sorry. Also, I have to thank Rosenberg for cutting it off RIGHT at "Marry me," instead of letting us hear Bella complain about getting old before ending the movie.

Overall, I thought the movie was really good, and effectively portrayed the key moments from the book. I plan on seeing this again, to see what I missed or forgot the first time around. For once, I actually liked the movie better than the book.

PS - I really liked the music better in this movie, especially since we DIDN'T have to hear the Death Cab song.
PPS - Sorry that this blog is so random and incoherent. When I'm trying to write from memory, I end up writing in list form, instead of actually putting together paragraphs. In other words, kids, don't take this as an example of good writing.

Good night.

6 comments:

  1. Are you and I twins separated at birth? Because I agree with pretty much everything you said...except for RPatz with his shirt off. Even pasty and not up to wolf-par, I was still transfixed. What can I say, I'm a pushover!

    Great post!

    Amby

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  2. Well, I might've liked actual RPattz with his shirt off... but as Edward, I was just like... he's TOO pale and skinny! Someone get this boy some self-tanner and protein shakes!

    Yeah, I was transfixed, but in a "I want to look away, but can't!" way.

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  3. Totally agree with your comments!. It was only on my 7th time that I made it a point to actually read New Moon from start to end, page by page, no skipping. The very first time was awful. I just couldn't handle the emptiness, the void, the black hole. I HAD to jump to Alice's re entry into Forks.
    It still feels pretty raw on my last read thru...(uhm don't ask how many ..I lost count).
    I'm glad you mentioned some things like Alice's garb. I was thinking all thru out the movie "Why is Alice dressed like an old ahem person and not more like her vampire age?" I'm on the other side of 45 and I don't even dress like that!
    I loved the NM movie bits, the months, the crippling heartache (I would have loved Bella to hunch and grab her chest more here), my wolf boys (rawr Paul) and so much more.

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  4. 100% agreed, the car out-sexied everyone! LOL

    And I'm with you on Jacob. I've always liked him though, both the character Jacob and Taylor as Jacob. But, I do think he shined in this one and was a very good leading man even though I just keep thinking how much of a baby he is.

    I'm glad you mentioned the supporting characters too, Paul, Mike, Jess, they ALL did such a great job. I think it really lightened up the teen angst and that's something that was missed I think in the first movie, but that is in the books. Last they forgot to bring in the funny, but they did a great job with it here.

    And yeah... the piano scene skeeved me out too. Bella went about as far as Jasper, but Jasper is made of stone, Bella... human! But it was true to the book, just more disturbing on film...

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  5. Loved reading your post! I agree with most of what you say, I liked the film much better than the book too.

    Also, thank you for pointing out Alice's AWFUL clothes in the Italy part. What is with the coat?! Alice would NEVER wear something like that!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts :-)

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  6. Great review! I'm pretty much in agreement on everything except Rob shirtless, but I'm an admitted Rob fangirl. I was totally fixated on his chest and stomach while Felix was holding him with his head back. It was just sad, y'all, really.

    That said, I too was very impressed by Lautner in the film and was almost ready to switch to Team Jacob until the Volterra scene came on. Then I remembered why I was Team Edward :-D

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