Friday, November 20, 2009

Why I think New Moon will suck (but I'm still going to see it anyway.)

Ever since I first dissected the Twilight saga, I've found myself roped into the whole melodramatic mess in a way that I'm not entirely comfortable with. In fact, this Sunday I'm actually going to see the sequel movie New Moon.

Mood: Brooding, with a slight chance of angst

Now, you all know my objections to Twilight:
  • It's melodramatic
  • The vampires don't abide by the accepted rules of vamparism
  • It's romanticizing a clearly abusive and co-dependent relationship between Edward and Bella
  • It's teenage wish fulfillment (new girl meets boy who literally wants to devour her)
  • It's materialistic (Edward's pretty cars)
  • It's focused on looks (everybody's beautiful.)
  • The author might have plagiarized the whole saga
  • The author wants to ban gay marriage
But my main reason for hating it, of course, is that Stephanie Meyer casually wrote Twilight over the course of three months, got a $750,000 advance and now has millions of adoring fans making her wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice (or Militant Ginger.) And she's not even half the writer I am. Bitch.

Anyway. Before I go and see the new movie, I wanted to explain why I hate that too - even though I'm secretly excited about sitting down with a bowl of popcorn this Sunday.
It's got a new director:

Even now, Hollywood's not exactly packed with female film directors - so when Catherine Hardwicke took the helm of the original Twilight, it was a thumbs up to women's lib and all that liberal nonsense.

Hardwicke did a bloody good job, too. Twilight wound up being a pretty good film (even by my standards) and Hardwicke coolly earned the distinction of having the best opening weekend of any female film director in history.

Hence why I was astonished when Summit Entertainment dropped her from directing the sequel, New Moon, without as much as a by-your-leave.

Like benching your quarterback when he's just scored a touchdown, Summit sacked their star performer and replaced her with a guy.

Not that New Moon director Chris Weitz is exactly a nobody - he was nominated for an academy award in 2002. It's just I don't the reason for ditching a successful director - especially not when her vision of the original book was so spot-on.

They ditched the ginger:

Rachelle Lefevre, the Canadian actress who portrayed sexy vamp Victoria in Twilight, will be back for New Moon - and up to her old tricks again. Yet Summit Entertainment, clearly establishing a pattern against well-performing female team members, canned her toned little tush for the third film in the series, Eclipse.

Lefevre as Victoria: She can bite me anytime.

"I was stunned by the decision," Lefevre admitted, "and greatly saddened not to continue my portrayal of Victoria." Legions of fans appealed to Summit to 'bring back Rachelle' but their plea landed on deaf ears. In Eclipse, Victoria will now be played by Terminator: Salvation's Bryce Dallas Howard.

It's fan service.

So one of the things I liked about the original Twilight movie was that it stuck pretty closely to the book - but improved upon it.

There was no real sense of danger in the original Twilight, as the 'bad guy' was a single rogue vampire and Bella had a whole house full of sycophantic Aryan bloodsuckers to protect her. In Hardwicke's movie adaptation, she at least upped the ante and made Bella genuinely appear to be in danger.

But in New Moon? No difference at all.

Literally, no differences at all. In fact, if you look up 'differences between the book and movie' on the Twilight wiki (Warning: This is the very heart of the Twilight fan consciousness - those who visit might not escape alive) you will see the differences are reduced to:
  • Bella wears a green dress to her birthday party, instead of a blue shirt.
  • The Volturi wear red cloaks instead of black ones.
  • At Bella's party, the birthday cake is green instead of pink.
That's it? That's it?

Come off it! Here you are, transferring a story from one medium (print) to an entirely new exciting, immersive medium (celluloid) and the only way you can think to improve and expand upon it is to do a wardrobe change?

Suddenly the reason they canned the original director, Catherine Hardwicke, becomes obvious. She must have had some wild and crazy 'vision' for the movie that was considered too outlandish to pass muster with the fans. Perhaps it involved making a totally disruptive change to the story - like having paper napkins in the scene at Bella's birthday party, instead of cloth ones.

Listen, I'm all for consistency - but when you fire the director and one of the stars (the ginger one, no less) of the original movie, I think you're then permitted to take a few further risks with the script at well.
Okay, so maybe I'm ranting a little - but these reasons are why I'm dubious of New Moon. Perhaps my arguments would be a little more convincing it I wasn't (in a manly, totally non-squealing teenage girl way) still a little excited to see it.


Occasional Professor Tom said...

You see on your driver's license, where it says sex: M?

Yeah... you're going to have to surrender that, and get one that says sex: F. I'm sorry, but those are the rules.

The good news is you have 90 days to make the trade!

Roland Hulme said...

Tina just wet herself - almost, in an everything but having actually done it sense, wet herself - after reading that.

Occasional Professor Tom said...

So what you're saying is that there's still more to be done?

Roland Hulme said...

I'll get a towel.

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