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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What is your best reason to see ‘Twilight: New Moon’ (or not to see it)?

Cinematical yesterday posted “The Top Five Reasons to See Twilight: New Moon,” which includes:

Michael Sheen.

Speaking of the Volturi, Michael Sheen plays their leader. Sheen’s been around for years, and is certainly no stranger to performing in broad-appeal films, but his recent starring roles in Frost/Nixon and The Queen have made him one of my favorite character actors, making it a comfort to know that he’s in the cast. Sometimes a great actor in a small, but good role can go a long way.

And actually, that’s a really good reason, and one that I kept putting out of my head — not deliberately. The fact that one of my favorites actors is in the film just kept getting overwhelmed by all the many reasons I’ve been dreading the film. (Not to mention that inevitable fact that Sheen simply won’t be in the movie enough.)

So Sheen is probably my best reason to see the film. Until I read this five minutes ago, however, my best reason was that, since I had to choose between seeing Twilight: New Moon tonight or The Blind Side, which is having its NYC press screening at the exact same time, I figured that New Moon would be more fun to review — even if I end up loving it — and will draw more readers.

What is your best reason to see Twilight: New Moon (or not to see it)?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • Isobel

    Not to see!

    Reason 1: if the audience for New Moon is anything like the audience in the YouTube clips of Twilight viewings, it’ll be squealing and ‘oh my god it’s Edward, I love you Edward’ every time poor Robert Pattinson appears on screen. Steam would start coming out of my ears about 3 minutes in.

    Reason 2: I’m just not interested in watching a film that romantises a girl trying to kill herself over a boy, and that likewise makes stalkery behaviour ‘romantic’ with the removal of engine parts from cars ‘for her Bella’s own good’ and all that malarky (I may be getting my books muddled up here, but it’s all the same anyway – Bella gives up life and any control over herself to scintillating, beyoootiful, sparkwy Edward).

  • Not. I’m a grown-up. As Gary Trudeau once had Rick Redfern say in Doonesbury: “The world needs grown-ups, Zonker.” (That said, were David Tennant in it, I might reconsider. Or rent the DVD and fast-forward. I’ve just shot myself in the foot, haven’t I?)

  • chuck

    Can’t see it. Why?

    – I’m afraid I’ll go all goth, dye my hair black and start insufferably whining about all of the many persecutions and injustices that are aimed at me personally.

    – I’ll stop taking calls from my mom.

    – I’ll find myself impossibly attracted to a male character, and then will need to find someway to explain it to the wife and kids.

    – My expenses for makeup will go straight through the roof.

    – I’ve never really been able to say OMG with just the right valley accent. My squealing needs work.

    But enough about me, Alex Dobuzinskis in his Reuters column starts out with this to say

    “In ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon,’ lovelorn character Bella Swan gets dumped by her vampire man, sinks into depression and later flies to Italy to pursue him. While that may sound too extreme, actress Kristen Stewart thinks Bella is setting a good example to girls.”

    Damn, and I so would like to go to Italy.

  • CB

    Not to see: Will probably be even worse than the first one.

    To see: My best lady is an absolute sucker for a hot native american boy who turns into a big fuzzy doggie, so I basically have no choice. But also, there will hopefully be as much unintentional hilarity as in the last one, and the crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse will be as enthusiastic about laughing at the movie (the laughter at the sparkle reveal was deafening). There are worse dates possible, that’s for sure.

  • Bluejay

    I propose a challenge: Criticize this film (if you hate it) without trashing the people who like it. Ready? Go.

  • Cori Ann

    To see:

    1. Christopher Heyerdahal (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0382216/ )–This guy makes an excellent space vampire (i.e., Wraith), and I enjoy his Jack the Ripper, so I’ll be quite amused to see him as an Italian vampire thinkin’ bout killing off Edward.

    2. Also, I have to agree with CB about the unintentional hilarity. I read all of the books and enjoyed them but didn’t really feel the need to see the first movie. Ended up seeing it in the theaters on a whim at the very end of its run, with a friend who had never read the books and prefers her vampires to be a lot more “hardcore” than depicted in the Twilight saga–now she’s already trying to schedule a time for us to go see New Moon because we both laughed so hard through the first one.

  • Not to see:

    I’m annoyed at it simply because of its title — each sight of anything New Moon-related presses “play” on a certain Duran Duran song in my head. Banishing that shit is like trying to get engine grease off a white dress shirt.

  • So I take it you have no intention of seeing New Moon on Monday, Derek? ;-)

  • markyd

    to see it:
    My wife is really into vampires, werewolves, etc. She tends to read the more “hardcore” stuff, but she just had to see what the whole Twilight thing was about. She said they were fluff, but not horrible. We rented the first movie and found it to be decidedly mediocre. I think she wants to see the new movie simply out of curiosity, although the Werewolf dude is probably part of it. I’ll see if I can convince her to wait for video.

    not see it: see everyone’s comments above me.

    and BlueJay, thats quite a challenge. Like asking an atheist to criticize religion without busting on it’s followers. Simply not fair! ; – )

  • Top 5 Reasons to see the new Twilight:

    1. It’s a great chance to mingle with the emo girls. I’m really into chicks who wear flannel shirts and cut themselves.

    2. The special effects look amazing. I have not seen a werewolf look that scary since Teen Wolf.

    3. Robert Pattinson’s hair.

    4. I heard that there will be even more sparkly vampire scenes.

    5. The cashier at Hot Topic recommended I see it.

  • Bluejay

    and BlueJay, thats quite a challenge. Like asking an atheist to criticize religion without busting on it’s followers. Simply not fair! ; – )

    Hmm–now that’s hard. Not impossible, though; Carl Sagan did it. Although living up to his standards would be a challenge. :-)

    Seriously, though, beating up on young girls trying to figure out puberty isn’t really a fair fight, is it?

  • LaSargenta

    Best reasons for me not to see it:

    1) Haven’t read the books.

    2) Not particularly into vampires, although I will read a book with a vampire if the book is good enough or I am desperate enough…just as I’d do with just about any other character type.

    3) Have something else to do with my $12.

  • Hank Graham

    Yeah, and it isn’t a fair fight picking on young boys trying to figure out puberty, either. But it is sometimes just too damn much fun.

    I say throw every stone you can find, as hard as you can. What you lose in fairness, you’ll make up in honest laughter.

  • Alli

    1) Really don’t want to watch a teen girl try to kill herself over and over for 2 hours just so she can see her vampire boyfriend.

  • Isobel

    Bluejay – I see your point re: young girls and puberty, but my friends and I did manage puberty without getting to quite the level of hysteria that Twilighters seem to manage, we would never have been squealing at cinema screens or dumping our actual flesh and blood boyfriends because they weren’t enough like a fictional character (as anecdotal evidence would have is the case with some of the more extreme Twilight fans). I dunno – maybe times have changed and the whole celebrity thing has a lot more power (and seems to extend to fictional characters) but the think I dislike most about the Twilight books is the reaction they seem to have stirred up in not just pre-pubescent girls, but in young adults and grown women as well.

    Back when the last book came out, I came an across an article written online by a college student, setting out the reasons that she didn’t like Twilight. She wrote a good balanced essay, it wasn’t snarky or insulting to fans of the book. There were about 2,000 comments, I think (no exaggeration), a good half of which were from fans. They were mostly along the lines of (and I’m probably softening these here) ‘how dare you say horrible things about the book you bitch! You don’t deserve the right of free speech! I hope you choke and die’; but there were also far more disturbing comments about Stephenie Meyer being right, women should stay at home and cook for their fathers, give up their careers for their partners, risk their lives for a pregnancy etc etc. And then of course there were all the comments about how Edward was the perfect man, how every creepy manipulative stalkerish thing he did was for Bella’s own good, and it was because he loved her, and they had the perfect relationship.

    Without wanting to sound patronising to teenage girls (and I probably will anyway), girls that age are extremely impressionable and books like this, and by extension the films based on them which will probably reach an ever wider audience, are pernicious. There’s no point saying ‘it’s only a book/film’ because if you go anywhere on the net where girls are commenting on Twilight, you can see the effect it has. YouTube is full of it – girls pretending to be Bella and trying to act like her, looking for boys who behave like Edward.

    Anyway. Incoherent rant over, with apologies for the horrible grammar and endless sentences.

  • GnuHopper

    Best reason to see it:

    I really liked Moon last summer and have really been looking forward to the sequel …

  • Bluejay

    All good points, Isobel. I appreciate that your ire is directed at Twilight and its effect on its audience, rather than mocking or taking cheap shots at the audience itself. Which is all that my challenge was really about.

    I would be careful about extrapolating from online comments to a general population, as 1) people tend to be louder and ruder online, and 2) people with extreme opinions on an issue, or who disagree violently with the original article, are more likely to post comments than people who agree with the article or have more moderate views (or don’t care). I agree that these are disturbing opinions, and I don’t doubt that a lot of people hold them; I just think it’s hard to pinpoint what percentage of the population they actually represent. Smaller, I hope, than what it seems.

  • LaSargenta

    I meant to have a #4 above…

    4) Edward isn’t named Ulric and the books aren’t by Pat Califia.

    ;->

  • Paul

    I’m old enough to remember when vampires were a warning example of the dangers of pre-marital sex.

    I haven’t finished Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.”

    I don’t want to give a movie date the idea of trading up on the food chain.

  • Bluejay

    Without wanting to sound patronising to teenage girls (and I probably will anyway), girls that age are extremely impressionable and books like this, and by extension the films based on them which will probably reach an ever wider audience, are pernicious.

    Been thinking about this a little more, Isobel, and I’m probably opening up another can of worms here, but…

    It’s possible that many girls (not all, but possibly many) are buying into Twilight as a *fantasy,* and might be better at separating fantasy from reality than we think. Abusive boyfriend onscreen? It might have its imaginary attractions, but maybe many girls are smart enough to know they wouldn’t want one in real life.

    In the same way, maybe, that gangsta rap is enjoyed by many people who aren’t necessarily thuggish or criminal or misogynistic in their daily lives. Or in the same way that I *love* The Godfather, and used to fantasize about being part of that world–but I don’t actually condone organized crime or the casual sexism that the Corleones practice. A lot of other factors come into play: parental guidance, school, peers, books and films with better messages, etc. Which is not to excuse Twilight for its flaws, only to say that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And that maybe its fans are more savvy than we give them credit for.

    Too optimistic?

  • Isobel

    Bluejay, I do think what you are saying is true to an extent (or maybe even in the majority of cases), but there are also those who seem to be taking all this so frighteningly seriously, like it’s a recipe for how to live your life, or something. And it’s odd, because Harry Potter (for example) was hugely hugely popular and yet it didn’t seem to attract the same kind of obsessive behaviour. I don’t understand it – maybe at the grand age of 32 I’m just too old :)

    In terms of extrapolating to the general population from internet commenters, I do understand that the internet tends to attract obsessives and somewhat irrational people, but I also wonder whether what you see on the internet is also more true in some ways than what you see offline – people aren’t restrained by social convention as they would be in a face-to-face situation and so they’re actually expressing how they truly feel?

  • fluffy

    The best reason to see new moon ..is to see the book of the same name come to life in picture…and the director and actors ,s interpretation of it.. the best film made from a book for me was the accidental tourist..

  • Bluejay

    I do understand that the internet tends to attract obsessives and somewhat irrational people

    Obsessives? Ridiculous. I have no idea what you mean. ;-)

  • chuck

    Bluejay – MaryAnn’s question was

    “What is your best reason to see ‘Twilight: New Moon’ (or not to see it)?”

    Not really asking us to review what we think of the movies or books without dumping on anyone, just why we would go or not.

    My comments about why I would not be seeing Twilight relate to the difference between me being a middle aged man and the young teen girl that this movie seems to be aimed at.

    MaryAnn’s own comments in a later post “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG” etc. are her way of stating who she believes this movie appeals to.

    I am sure that a young teen girl might have something funny or “dumping” like to say regarding what I enjoy for a past time.

    So I imagine most of the other comments are based on their authors different take on their position in life,and how this movie probably appeals to them.

    By far the best comment was posted by GnuHopper…
    “Best reason to see it: I really liked Moon last summer and have really been looking forward to the sequel …”

    Brilliant, wish I had thought of that.

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