Monday, November 23, 2009

and let our bodies intertwine

So it's been almost a week since the release of this year's most anticipated film (no, not 2012, Transformers 2 or Confessions of a Shopaholic). Yes, you guessed it. In fact, it's so obvious, you probably didn't even need to guess.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, some nifty teenypop managed to get the entire screening of New Moon (minus credits, how typical) that is all over the internet now.

Now, I will admit, a little over a year ago, I had no intentions of getting involved in the whole Twilight craze. I specifically remember the day my sister attempted to describe the "baseball" scene from Twilight, and all I could think was "oh. great. it's like harry potter. and degrassi. with vampires. wonderful."

I was wrong.

Ever since seeing Panic Room back when I was 12 years old, I've always had a thing for Kristen Stewart. The fact that people say she's a bad actor is clearly just an all around hater, and jealous of her fame if anything. Try watching such films as Into The Wild, Speak, and In The Land Of Women.

Therfore, I had to see Twilight. Although, as per family tradition goes, any film adapted from a novel must first be read before seeing the film (I was first exposed to this brutal torture when Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy was released). I began reading Twilight on the monday that followed the release of Twilight. By the time I saw the film on the Friday four days later, I had read the entire series.

Now, before I start picking at New Moon, here is my two cents on Twilight:

Excellent casting. Marvelous soundtrack and incredible score. Directing was meh. Catherine Hardwicke put her life into the film with good intentions, but I can only imagine that if the film had a larger budget, the film would have been directed by an actual studio director, something the film deserved. Animation was meh as well. Again, budget. Oh, and the blue light filter? No thanks.

Now, on to New Moon.

The first thing I noticed? The opening. The prologue narration as a recurring theme was excellent, and the cinematic to go along with it was MUCH better than that of Twilight. Next thing, no blue light filter! Woohoo!

Chris Weitz's talents come through beautifully right from the first scene. His ability to capture facial expression was very well done (American Pie, anyone?). Everything seemed very professional. No silly tilted camera shots, no extreme close-ups.

One thing I did recognize however, was the film's musical score. Alexandre Desplat has never been one of my preferred composers when it comes to film, despite the amount of recognition he has received for his work in film as well in symphony orchestra composition. Carter Burwell, who did the score to the first film, just so happens to be one of my favourite film composers. Some of his work (from my personal list) includes Fear, Fargo, A Knight's Tale, Adaptation, No Country For Old Men, Where The Wild Things Are, and my all time fav, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead.

Where Burwell often used drawn out space and dark undertones to cast emotion in Twilight, Desplat seemed like he was trying to be Tim Burton and Howard Shore at the same time (think Silence of the Lambs and Nightmare Before Christmas together. See what I'm getting at?). It was silly to hear an epic 50 piece string orchestra wailing over off-tempo toy piano when two people were in casual conversation. Personally, I don't think he lived up to the film. However, the one scene, where Bella meets Emily Young, the country-esque tune that plays behind their conversation was absolutely WONDERFUL. Kudos to his assistant who suggested he help him write a country tune last minute ;)

Now, here is where the film gets good. REALLY good.

For anyone who has seen The Golden Compass, it's no surprise Chris Weitz was chosen to produce the animation and special effects for the film entirely. And it's a damn good thing he did, too. The meadow scene where Sam Uley emerges out of the forest in his wolf form to confront Laurent just about made me shit my pants. As a child (and up until last night) I was always terrified by the Hound of the Baskervilles. I honestly thought nothing could top the fear a rabid dog could create (move aside, Cujo). The animation of the wolves was absolute top notch. Probably the best life-like CGI I have ever seen. I can specifically remember at least ten different, tiny little things about it that I LOVED that most people would probably overlook.

The screenplay wasn't QUITE what I thought it would be. All novel adaptations are like that, however I don't like the fact that political Hollywood clearly got in the way to give Rob more screen time than he really should have had (compared to the novel) and many of the events involving Jacob and Bella are very rushed (seeing as the amount of time they spend together seems to be cut in half compared to the book) and Jacob seems to develop an infatuation for Bella much too quickly.

And last but certainly not least, the soundtrack.
Oh Em Gee.

I thought the Twilight soundtrack was good. The one for New Moon was an masterpiece (3.5/4 stars in Rolling Stone for sure). I mean, just look at the artists. Death Cab, The Killers, Band Of Skulls, Thom York (L), Lykke Li, Bon Iver, Ok Go and Editors. And it's not like these songs were rush-written for the movie either. Alexandra Patsavas is starting to make a name for herself as a music supervisor (The OC, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural, and of course, Twilight).

Overall, I would give the film 7/10, only because of how strongly I feel about music in film, and of course, Hollywood politics and the Robert Pattison Fever. Move over, H1N1.


  1. Excellent review. However, Bella didn't meet "Leah Clearwater" she met "Emily Young"