Tag Archives: new moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon: As much as I giggled through Twilight, I full-on laughed for the entirety of New Moon. There was clearly a great effort to be as true to the book as possible, down to silly details like Jacob and Bella’s banter about their relative ages. This devotion to the source material does not do the plot any favors, of course. Bella treats Jacob abominably, and being the lovestruck teenager that he is, he just rolls over and takes it. Bella and Edward’s relationship has become more ardent but not any more believable. The audience is continually bashed over the head with Romeo & Juliet references. I suppose if I took the film at face value, with all its earnestly melodramatic angst, I would have thrown up my arms in disgust. However, I came in expecting an awesomely bad movie, and that’s exactly what I got.

Technically speaking, it’s a much better film than its predecessor. The CG wolves were both better and worse than I’d expected, occasionally impressing me with their convincing facial expressions but most of the time obviously not really there. The vampire sparkle effect was vastly improved over Twilight’s CG glitter lotion, which sadly only emphasized the silliness of the whole idea of sparkly vampires. The vampire make-up was better as well (though admittedly that’s not saying much): they appear to have learned a bit about blending at the jawline, but Edward really needs to ease up on the lipstick. The only truly terrible effect was the Edward hallucination, which came across alternately as creepy (full-body apparition Edward) and hilarious (floating head Edward) – but never convincing.

The acting skills of the principals haven’t improved much since Twilight. Kristen Stewart (Bella) continues to be twitchy and stuttery (though from watching interviews it seems this isn’t acting); Robert Pattinson (Edward) totally Shatnerizes most of his lines, most notably the very last one of the movie. Taylor Lautner is charming as Jacob and delivers his lines well, though he could use a couple more facial expressions to add to his repertoire. Luckily, the supporting cast is excellent almost without exception, and though they only have a couple of lines each, they really brighten the relatively few scenes that involve more people than the three main characters. The Volturi – the “vampire royalty” – were especially fun, if underused in favor of a prolonged fight scene in which Edward gets the crap kicked out of him. Aro in particular was awesome; I hope they film Breaking Dawn just so I can see him again. The Wolf Pack, on the other hand, were great fun as individuals, but whenever they appeared as a group I started having West Side Story flashbacks and expected them to start snapping their fingers menacingly.

In short: it’s awful and I love it and I have to see it again. I’m also looking forward to Eclipse next summer, for that’s when the Twilight Weirdness really kicks in, what with the imprinting and the newborn vampires and the disturbing back-stories and all. Should be good times.

New Moon Soundtrack

My sister, upon hearing me (affectionately) describe the sound of Alice in Chains as an acid spill slowly eating through the floor, told me I should write more music reviews. The fact of the matter is that I don’t listen to much music these days. When I’m in the car alone I listen exclusively to audiobooks, and when there’s anyone else in the car we’re usually talking, which means I’m not really listening to the songs.

So since I’m pretty much completely out of touch with modern music, I figured the best way to dive into the music game was with a movie soundtrack. Mashable gave the heads up that the New Moon Soundtrack was available in its entirety for streaming from the Twilight MySpace page. I was curious, so I swallowed my distaste for MySpace and gave it a listen. (And coincidentally, it comes out in stores today. How uncharacteristically timely of me!) Overall, it’s a little heavy on the slow songs, but still a marked improvement over the Twilight Soundtrack, which featured way too many cringe-inducing vocalists. (Robert Pattinson, for example, sounds like Tracy Chapman on barbiturates.) I mean, wow. There were a lot of really bad songs on that soundtrack. Anyway, without any further ado, here are my thoughts on the songs from this soundtrack.

Death Cab for Cutie – Meet Me on the Equinox: Gets stuck in my head a lot. Good but not spectacular.

Band of Skulls – Friends: A fun little ditty. Lame, but in a cute way.

Thom Yorke – Hearing Damage: Very reminiscent of the techno songs I enjoy listening to as background music. I really like it, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d expect from the frontman of Radiohead.

Lykke Li – Possibility: Pretty, but very boring. Something about her voice bugs me. I can’t put my finger on it.

The Killers – A White Demon Love Song: Pretty typical Killers. Not bad, but not something I’d go out of my way to listen to. Reminds me a little bit of The Beta Band.

Anya Marina – Satellite Heart: A sweet little song about unrequited love. Not a huge fan of her voice, but it’s an okay song.

Muse – I Belong to You: Sounds like it could be a fun tune, but only the first thirty seconds were available for streaming. So I got sneaky and found it on YouTube. And you know what? I like it. It’s catchy.

Bon Iver & St. Vincent – Roslyn: Mellow. Lovely acoustic guitars. Too bad the vocals are so obnoxious, but I think it could grow on me with repeated listens.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BMRC) – Done All Wrong: A good addition to this soundtrack, which is pretty much a breakup album anyway. I like the simplicity of this one.

Hurricane Bells – Monsters: Kinda fun. Makes me bob my head. Not bad, but pretty generic.

Sea Wolf – The Violet Hour: Reminds me a little bit of The Killers. I like this one. It’s interesting, catchy, something I wouldn’t mind hearing repeatedly on the radio. Probably my favorite on the entire album.

Ok Go – Shooting the Moon: I dig the weird electronic sounds and harmonies. A very sweet song; I like the dichotomy between the heavy bass drum and the quiet vocals, as well as the instrumental madness at the end. Man, I heart Ok Go; I can’t give an impartial review.

Grizzly Bear with Victoria Legrand – Slow Life: I like the chorus, but the verses are a little too stark. Makes me sleepy.

Editors – No Sound but the Wind: Very old-timey, like a lounge singer. A beautiful song on its own, but this rendition comes across as a little cheesy. The singer sounds like he’s wearing a toupee and a sparkly suit jacket, and I just can’t shake that mental picture. Which is a shame. It’s quite a lovely ballad.

Alexandre Desplat – New Moon (The Meadow): A little bit of the score, I assume. Gorgeous solo piano piece. A nice close to the album. Very quiet, peaceful, hopeful – as should be the aftermath of any breakup, once the tears and heartache have passed.

So there you have it.  I guess it’s more of a “thoughts while listening to the songs” than an actual review. Overall, I kinda dig it. Sure, it’s likely that big names like Thom Yorke attached themselves to this soundtrack because of its guaranteed success, but I’m not complaining. Think of how many people will be hearing great bands they never would have otherwise discovered. Though not strong enough for me personally to purchase it, I can see this soundtrack having something to appeal to even the most die-hard of Twilight-haters. After all, none of the songs are bad. At worst they’re generic or kinda meh. Definitely worth a listen.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (unabridged audiobook read by Ilyana Kadushin): Shortly after Bella’s 18th birthday, her vampire boyfriend Edward abruptly dumps her and leaves with his vampire family for parts unknown. She is, in a word, devastated. However, she finds the pain eased somewhat when she does something stupid or reckless, because she hears Edward’s voice in her head, telling her to stay safe. She becomes addicted to these delusions, and pulls more and more idiotic stunts to get her fix. Meanwhile, childhood friend and would-be paramour Jacob Black is more than willing to step in, and the two become close.

Though the technical issues are still present in this book – Bella’s repetitious stream of consciousness, the overuse of adverbs, the underuse of “said”, etc. – the plot moves much more naturally. Jacob is a very likable guy, and I felt bad for him even though I think Edward and Bella are a better match, what with their angst-ridden, melodramatic tendencies. The constant Romeo and Juliet references got really old. The delusion angle wasn’t wrapped up very well either, but I was able to more or less ignore it. It’s not like I didn’t already know Bella’s crazy and obsessive.

The werewolf treatment is interesting as well. They are as unaffected by the moon as the vampires are by the sun; they more resemble The Incredible Hulk, in that they turn into wolves when they lose their tempers. Vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies, which is nothing new, but the whole vampire-human-werewolf love triangle is kind of fun. The last few chapters are especially good as Bella attempts to convince Edward to turn her into a vampire, despite several unexpected complications.

And here comes the confession: I found myself utterly sucked into this one. I zipped through it in record time, unable to put it down. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m champing at the bit to start Eclipse. Clearly there is something wrong with me.

P.S. – A new moon and a lunar eclipse are not the same thing. Just sayin’.

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