Monday, November 23, 2009

Twilight New Moon

Opening Day for Twilight New Moon is a historic day in the realm of movies. The movie took in more on opening day than any movie in history. While it didn’t take the all time lead for the weekend, it fell behind Batman The Dark Knight and Spiderman 3, it still had a remarkable opening weekend brining in 141 Million dollars. Among those throngs seeing the movie on opening day was my wife and I, and the experience of the movie in many ways raises more questions and thoughts than the movie itself, but more on that later.

For those who have been following the series, New Moon is the second installment regarding the Twilight movie saga; it is the second of the fourth book series. It is a continuing story of forbidden love, much like the popular Romeo and Juliet themes by Shakespeare. Of course the director of New Moon intends that, it is why we see the book on the bed of young Bella Swan, played by Kristen Steward in the opening scenes. The second installment of Twilight has the Romeo mirror character, Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, leaving Bella because he is afraid of the harm that will come to her if he stays in the region and with her as a romantic partner. Part of the forbidden love theme has young Bella as a senior in High School who is living with her father and divorced from her mother. They live in the Pacific Northwest, a perfect environment for the vampires who live there, of which, Edward lives. While Bella is a young 17 year old high school student, Edward is a handsome 109 year old vampire who hasn’t aged due to being a vampire. While Edward leaves, a new romance begins to develop for Bella, along comes young, handsome, well built Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner. There are several problems that come about as time goes by with this relationship, Jacob is a werewolf and Bella hasn’t really gotten over her vampire boyfriend, Edward.

New Moon actually moves at an okay pace but the film is plagued with several pitfalls. First is the acting, it is just not all that good and is mediocre at best for a movie that has as much anticipation as this. It seems as if the best acting in the film is by minor actors. While the editing, sound and music is quite decent, the movie is also plagued with the story itself. Likely no other film has done as much to destroy the vampire or werewolf lore and legend as has Twilight. For a fan of the genera, as a fan of the history of film, I just have to wonder as to the reasoning for this. While historically there have been strong religious themes displayed in these types of stories, the Twilight series is virtually void of these themes. Vampires can walk around in the day, but originally chose the Pacific Northwest because of their being able to adapt better to the cloudy days, yet when Edward and his family decide to move to help protect Bella, where do they go, well the place we all want to go at some point, the sunny beaches and local of Rio De Janeiro Brazil. There are these and other inconsistencies that had me wondering out loud to my wife, why can’t this girl just find a regular guy, it isn’t like they don’t exist? But it isn’t just there the movie falls short. In a movie like this, it is obvious there needs to be quality special effects. Twilight is tremendously disappointing in the reality of the werewolf’s and the transformation sequences. I don’t know where all the money went in making this movie, but it certainly didn’t go in providing quality special effects. There is one quality shot of a time passing shot with Bella that is quite impressive, but that one shot does not make the movie worth the price of admission.

There is something about the film I think is worth mentioning. My wife and I attended a 7 PM show on opening day, we purchased our tickets at 4 PM and we literally purchased the last 2 tickets for all shows that day as every other theater, four for opening night, and 6 for the midnight showing were all sold-out. At that particular theater, every show, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were sold-out. There is a tremendous following for this movie. It is here I have to address some thoughts.

I had to arrive an hour early to stand in line to guarantee a decent seat to see the movie. While in line, I had the opportunity to talk and make notice of a number of people. The line I was in was for two screenings with over 1,000 seats; at that point there were very few men. Once in the theater I noticed that out of 250 seats, I noticed only 11 were men, the rest women, not just young girls though, there were a few teenage girls, it was mainly young adults up to about the age of 35. I was amazed, but my amazement didn’t stop here.

There were two specific incidents I noticed that were frankly, somewhat of an epiphany. All of the women around my wife and I were there for a ‘girls night out’ and most were participating heavily in alcoholic beverages. Now don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy a beer on rare occasion, but not 2 32 ounce pictures as did the three young women next to me. Virtually all of those around me were partaking to the point that I didn’t want to get on the roads and drive after the movie. The other thing which was eye opening was the strong sexual applications and responses to the characters in the movie by many of the women in the audience. There is one scene in particular where Jacob (the werewolf) takes off his shirt and you could hear yells of joy, pleasure, and comments of sexual desires all around the theater. I recall the days when sexual comments from women, the voicing of sexual desires was something you just didn’t hear. I heard more sexual comments in Twilight than any movie I have ever attended, and remember, out of 250 seats, only 11 men in the theater. I was talking to a man in his 30’s after the movie and we were talking about this, his response was, “Man I wanted to rip my shirt off and say I am here when that happened.” He was of course alluding to his noticing the sexual outing if you will that seems to have also taken place in the female population. It was the closest thing to experiencing a Chippendales event in a movie theater I expect I will ever experience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one to review movies and normally talk about the audience, but I think in this case the appeal of Twilight has done something and painted a picture that is causing the effect by many women, but not just young women. I believe the women appreciate the romance, and the genuine love displayed in the story. There is the desire to show love despite the forbidden nature. Guys may be at blame in a large part of this. Do we still romance the women we come into contact with? Do we still do the special little things to show our love? In the Bible you see a romantic experience take place in the book The Song of Solomon. You see a story where women are appreciated, respected, loved and caressed and real love, no matter what costs takes place. I had to ask myself the question, has the love as is exhibited in the story of Romeo and Juliet been lost in contemporary society? If the reactions of the females at this movie is an indication of where we are as a society one couldn’t help but conclude, that for many, yes the reality of real lasting, romantic love has been lost.

I have to admit, I don’t understand the success of Twilight. The books have brought many back to the place where they read, I value that. I will admit I haven’t read the books; I likely should to see what they are about. I can only comment on the movie, so my comment is I was really disappointed and found it to be a lackluster flick. Don’t get me wrong, it was okay, but nothing special, certainly nothing great, and absolutely, with the quality movies that are also entertaining, not worthy of the third largest weekend opening of all time at the time of this writing. Yet, that is exactly what Twilight New Moon did, it broke records and drew in masses of people, at least 85% of which nationally were women, likely more if the theater chain I attended is any indication of the national averages. I’m not a woman, maybe I’m not the best to review the film but I can comment on the things I have, including the very lackluster quality of the technical merits of the film.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the four books that exist on this story up to this point, I give a rather disappointing 4.

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