Okay, let’s start this with some disclaimers.
1. I loved the Twilight books like only a woman can understand, and some sensitive men. Not spectacularly written, but still. Like a good friend said, We All Need An Edward.
2. Which brings us to Edward. Edward Cullen of Cullen Coven. Sigh. Topaz eyes? Heartbreaker smile? Cultured in a Victorian way? Sensitive and understanding? Handsome as hell? Debussy, for dammit’s sake? Decidedly dangerous? Less reasons to LOVE him??? *Sigh*
3. Bella. We’re all Bellas, aren’t we? And thus we connect to her. We’re all normal, everyday, slightly clumsy women with nothing spectacular to set us apart from the rest of the madding crowd, waiting for someone dashing to fall hopelessly in love with us and for the rest of the universe to Gasp! and for us to find true, perfect love. And in our minds, we’re all as beautiful as Bella Swan, which is why mirrors are doing brisk business the world over. Go, women of the world.
These standard T&C out of the way, I watched Twilight, the movie,and then New Moon.
And felt highly disappointed both times, the second more than the first because I paid Rs.120 for a ticket plus extra for popcorn and such. This is the sad story of my New Moon experience.
What on earth were they thinking, casting Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen? I mean, one knows even if one is a child with water on the brain that the books sell because of a perfect character called Edward. When you cast this Edward, would you not apply the highest level of intelligence and ensure that the man can not just look pale but ACT? Pattinson does a good job of standing with his hands in the pockets of his elegant sports coats and jackets and looking at you from under his eyelids. The Gaze. Complete with hazel/topaz eyes. Works for me. But act? Marginal job. Not that Pattinson is a hopeless actor or even a bad actor- there are a few scenes when his eyes speak to you, the part when he realizes while dropping her off from her birthday party that he has to eventually leave her is very well emoted – but he just isn’t good enough. He doesn’t stand the test of a woman’s imagination, which is where Edward has been immortalized by women everywhere. At any rate, he’s better than Kristen Stunned Stewart.
I gave up on Kristen Stewart after repeated self-assurances for about an hour that she would act in about five minutes’ time. The woman is hopeless, utterly, utterly so. Beautiful, I’ll admit, but she can not act at ALL. Throughout New Moon, she wears a constipated expression, so much so that in the scenes where she is supposed to look dull and dead, the months of October, November etc, she looks much like she did before the months of October, November etc. Pre Edward Kristen = Post Edward Kristen. This was not supposed to be the case with Bella, but someone clearly forgot to inform Stewart. Every power-scene in the movie- Edward leaves her, Jacob turns into a werewolf, she gets back together with Edward, Edward proposes- our leading lady has the same, blank, ‘I know I should be doing something now, but I don’t know what’ expression, if one counts that as any kind of expression at all. It was so bad there were times when I wondered whether I was watching the making of the movie instead of the movie itself – you know, the whole, relaxed, let’s-save-the-acting-for-later feel.
The movie itself was remarkably faithful to the book, with minor deviations and adjustments to account for those who hadn’t read the book before they came to watch the movie. I particularly liked the way the scene where Bella discovers Jacob’s secret was picturized. As always with someone who reads a book and then watches the movie, the abbreviations chafed but a decent job overall.
And now the Man of the Moment.
Intelligent eyes, a body to die for, a quick, easy grin, casually hot, wonderful expression, mobile features, switching between expressions in a most natural way, and easily the best actor in the entire movie. Taylor Lautner, take a bow. What a Jacob he is! In the scene where he leans over into the car and pleads, “Bella, don’t go. For Charlie’s sake…. for my sake. Bella… I’m begging.”; I melted all over my buttered popcorn and for once in that movie-hall, I felt as though I were really into the whole Twilight experience. With a delightful unselfconsciousness that is the hallmark of a true actor, Lautner brings alive the character of Jacob Black, transitioning fluidly from a laughing, engaging boy to a tormented youth on the verge of manhood and battling his newly discovered secret. It is this precisely this unselfconsciousness that Stewart lacks. Never once during the books did I give two hoots for Jacob Black and in the space of two hours, I fell in love with the him (which only serves to reinforce that casting is a tricky business- movie history is full of instances where a small part played by a talented actor has outshone the protagonist). Lautner carries New Moon on his (muscled) shoulders and simply steals the show. The contrast with Pattinson is almost painful to note.
There are small, well performed scenes scattered here and there in an otherwise unspectacular movie. Ashley Greene is spontaneous as Alice and plays her part well. Except for a sparkling performance by Aro (Michael Sheen), the Volturi fail to make much of an impact. Emmett (Kellan Lutz) is engaging as always, in addition to looking hot. The werewolves are depicted in an ordinary fashion, and I found myself disappointed. Why the lack of special effects when there was so much opportunity? Terrible, terrible costumes and bad make-up. Some of the music is good, but for the most part nothing remarkable. Decent editing, nothing to write home about.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is New Moon for you. I paid 120 for the movie itself, and easily got 75 bucks’ worth from Taylor Lautner. Say, 15 from Pattinson purely because he played Edward. About -15 from Kristen Stewart for zero acting and frozen expression. Do the math. At least 40 rupees… mere paise barbaad ho gaye! Well, okay, not all of it.
Final Verdict: Worth watching for Lautner, some small actors and because we read the books and loved the Twilight saga – but only if you pay less than a hundred for the ticket- preferably, get your date to pay or freeride in some other way on paying altogether.