‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ review

So it's....three people in the woods. And over 25 million people have gone to see it.

So it's....three people in the woods. And over 25 million people have gone to see it.

The popularity of the ‘Twilight’ franchise isn’t particularly surprising. After all, week after week new action movies pile into movie theaters, and ‘Twilight’ just so happens to be an old-fashioned romance with good-looking characters (Edward and Bella for those of you that don’t know). It features every girl’s dream man. Simply put, it fulfills peoples’ desires for an old-fashioned romance.

The plot behind this franchise: Edward is a 109-year-old vampire, who happens to look like a 17-year old teenager. Bella is, in fact, 17. The two meet and fall in love. This is basically all that happened in the first film, “Twilight”. In this one, “New Moon”, Edward has to leave Bella forever, putting her into a deep depression. However, her friend Jacob comforts her while Edward is away, and she realizes that Jacob is a werewolf. Does Bella have any friends that are, you know, human? (It’s annoying how casual she is about keeping foreign company.)

The ‘Twilight’ series is, in my opinion, a phase that will be forgotten about in a matter of years. The source material, the insanely popular books are completely overwritten. Some direct quotes from them include, “Look after my heart, I’ve left it with you.” and “I dream of being with you forever.” But the film tends to eschew all the bad dialogue, but they are pointless: Because the films never display why exactly Edward and Bella are so deeply in love, (and the plot depends on their bond), the films lose their purpose. Rather than tell a story, the movies are basically re-enactments of parts of the book, strung together to form a “plot”.

Of course, fans of the book will thoroughly enjoy the film. It stays true to the source material, has the same good-looking actors, and sets itself up perfectly for the next installment, Eclipse. (due out next June) It has everything the fans demand of it. But take away the screaming fans, take away the popular books, take away the teams Edward & Jacob, take away all the hype that surrounds this movie, and what do we have? A film with mediocre acting, a terrible script, and no personality.

‘2012’ review

Observe the cool poster. Skip the terrible film.

Observe the cool poster. Skip the terrible film.

I walked out of ‘2012’ confused, bored, and practically numbed to the mindless destruction. Some end-of-the-world movies blow up a skyscraper and can call itself an epic. ‘2012’ transforms Yellowstone into a volcano, demolishes Los Angeles within 10 minutes and crushes the Vatican, all in the first half of the film. ‘2012’ is three hours long, and for each hour has a distinct agenda: The first hour “explains” the science behind the end of the world, the second is, well, the end of the world, and the third hour a (failed) attempt to become a movie with a “message”. Needless to say, the film tries to be intelligent by presenting some (admittedly) interesting moral dillemas, and yet it wants to be dumb enough for a 7-year old to understand it.

John Cusack stars as Jackson Curtis, a failed novelist who is camping with his family. Due to a massive solar flare, the end of the world is impending and Jackson will do whatever it takes to survive. A sub-plot involves the White House, and its efforts to preserve humanity. (I know the film was made in America, but you’d think a country other than us might bother preserving their species)

I am of two minds of the destruction on display in ‘2012’. On one hand, it is easily some of the best special effects ever made. Honestly, I have never seen such realistic, well-done visual effects. (Well, the scenario is ridiculous but the effects look real) How can you not admire the talent that went into making it?

And then again, there’s the senseless-ness with which the destruction is displayed. In one scene, the main characters charter a plane to fly out of a (sinking) Los Angeles. When they’re flying away, two large skyscrapers collide into each other and their plane ducks under the collision. Have the people who made this movie lost their minds? The main characters show seemingly no remorse that basically everyone they’ve ever known is dead. Showing millions of men, women, and children dying just for a “cool explosion” is stupid, immature, and goes above and beyond tasteless.

Not to mention the fact that ‘2012’ is ridiculously boring. Okay, Woody Harrelson being pummelled by a large volcanic eruption looks incredible once. But the explosions lose their “cool” factor after the first three. And there’s way more than three in this film. You feel numbed to all the death in the movie, but when you leave you just realize how tasteless it all was.

‘2012’ is about as over-the-top and corny as you can get. It is essentially one big contradication: It exploits the death of billions for the sake of a cool action sequence, and yet tries to present a message of “hope”, and most laughably, it tries to present a message.

Of course, people will see this film. The director, Roland Emmerich (director of ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Day After Tomorrow’) cannot make a good movie, but he makes big, stupid, crowd-pleasing ones.
‘2012’ is stupid, pointless, poorly acted, and yet masterfully executed in terms of production and visual effects. A contender for the worst of the year.