Thursday, September 27, 2012

Movie Review: New Moon (with RiffTrax)

In 2005 I enrolled in a creative writing class at BYU. I didn't need to take it for credit, I took it because I wanted some motivation to write the many story ideas I have.[1] We had three major writing assignments. The first had to be a short story or a chapter of a novel. The second had to be three poems.[2] For the third we could choose whether to write another short story/chapter or three more poems. The majority of the students in the class (there were only about twenty of us) were girls who were Freshmen or Sophomores and were English majors. I was a bit alarmed that for the first assignment three of them wrote a chapter of a book that dealt with a normal girl in high school who unknowingly started dating a vampire.[3] I didn't know it then, but one year before the novel Twilight had premiered and these impressionable young girls, fresh out of high school, were caught up in the frenzy of it to the point that they were essentially writing knock-offs or fan fiction.[4] That experience left such a bad taste in my mouth that the only way I could bring myself to watch the Twilight movies was with the "spoonful of sugar" that is RiffTrax.[5]

My verdict: When we watched the RiffTrax for Twilight, we constantly had to re-sync the RiffTrax with the movie because of commercial breaks.[6] We had an easier time syncing this one up since our recording didn't have any commercials. Hands down my favorite line was "The Twilight series summed up in nine words." The frequent riffs on "change me" were pretty funny, too—probably more so since we have a baby, now. As before, there were several unintentionally funny scenes that left RiffTrax guys speechless. For example, when Bella cuts herself and Jasper loses control, he looks hilarious, not freaky.

And a few comments about the movie itself: The movie tried to be character-driven, but since Bella doesn't have any character, it just sort of wandered. It didn't help that Kristen Stewart really is a terrible actress. Her speech is halting and she's unable to convey emotion through her facial expressions. Near the end they discover that vampires' special abilities don't work on Bella—even though Jasper and Alice have both successfully used their vampire special abilities on her…[7] Jacob looks a lot better with shorter hair, but the shirtlessness was really quite gratuitous. Edward, as always, looks like he's been dead for several centuries.


[1] I keep several MS Word documents filled with story and poetry ideas. The story ideas are further sorted according to genre: fantasy, horror, science fiction, etc.

[2] One of the poems I wrote for the class can be seen here.

[3] We were so merciless about their writing that, thankfully, for their third assignment they wrote more poetry instead of subjecting us to more teen vampire romance schlock.

[4] Let's face it: Stephanie Myers wasn't writing fiction; she was daydreaming with her hands on a keyboard.

[5] RiffTrax is the successor to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (to read some of my MST3K reviews, see here, here, and here). Rather than record their commentary over the movie (which requires them to purchase distribution rights), now they just record their audio commentary and you play it while watching the movie. You can preview and/or purchase the RiffTrax commentary for New Moon here. For other humorous treatments, see 30-Second Bunny Theater: New Moon and Bad Lip Reading: Edward and Bella.

[6] See my review of the RiffTrax for Twilight here. (You can also read my review of the third movie, Eclipse, with RiffTrax, here.)

[7] The lead vampire that discovers this also appears in the Underworld series, which is about vampires vs. werewolves—a dichotomy I'm getting rather tired of.

Image attributions:

New Moon is by Tomruen, available at Moon.jpg.

No comments:

Post a Comment