1. Twilight: New Moon (Summit Entertainment, 4,024 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Well, this film is finally here. The Twilight franchise is known to inspire strong reactions from people. Whether you are a”Twi-hard” who screams at the mere mention of Robert Pattinson’s name or a San Diego Comic Con goer who thinks the film “ruined” the con for you, you either love or hate the franchise.
I have to admit, I kind of lean towards the latter. I haven’t seen the previous film so I’m not basing it on personal experience. It’s just that there is nothing in the concept that appeals to me.
It’s not that I don’t believe a vampire romance can’t be good. The themes of undying love in this context are ones to be explored. But Twilight seems to examine it in the silliest way possible. It is more melodrama than drama.
Let me just show you what I mean. This is the plot description for the film of at IMDB:
Last time we see saw Bella Swan she was narrowly escaping the clutches of the evil vampire James while finding love with ”vegetarian” vampire Edward Cullen. Bella and Edward’s lives have been full of nothing but love and bliss however, it all changes one fateful day. On Bella’s birthday, her new found friend and sister of Edward, Alice, decides to throw her lavish party, complete with balloons, ribbons and cake that could feed an army. All is well until Bella accidentally cuts her finger whilst opening a present. The result is that Jasper Hale, the newest addition to the Cullen clan, succumbs to his blood lust and attacks Bella. Edward decides that while he and his family are around, Bella’s life will always be at risk. So he decides to leave her for her own good. Bella feels her life is over. Enter Jacob Black, a member of the Quilite tribe who manages to bring some joy and meaning back into Bella’s life. However as the two become closer, Bella discovers Jacob has a secret of his own- he’s a werewolf. As if that wasn’t bad enough Bella can’t seem to get the love of her life, Edward out of her mind. With new dangers, new friends and new enemies, Bella finds herself choosing between holding on to the past or accepting a new future. But what and more importantly who will she choose?
Vegetarian Vampire? Does this mean he only sucks the blood of vegetables? And. unless Bella was opening presents with a chainsaw, I doubt that a paper cut could generate enough blood to be visible, let alone cause a feeding frenzy. And of course the vampires competition for the girl’s heart would be a werewolf. It’s the next sexiest supernatural creature. You don’t expect Bella to be locking lips with a zombie, do you?
I’m sure any “Twi-hard” who stumbles upon this post will take me to task for dissing their beloved Twilight. To them I say, tell your friends, the site could use the extra hits. Other than that, I say I am happy you found something that you love so unconditionally. It just doesn’t have the same effect on me.
2. The Blind Side (Warner Brothers, 3,110 Theaters, 128 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I seriously think that Tim McGraw is being type cast. Between this movie and Friday Night Lights, he is cornering the “cinematic father figure to football stars” role.
One of the most touching stories to come out of the 2009 NFL Draft was that of Michael Oher. He was a homeless African -American youth taken in by white couple who rose to become a first round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens.
A story like that seems a natural for a movie adaptation. And here that adaptation is. But is it a good film? I’m not sure.
The trailers seem to indicate that the film might be overdosing on the sentimentality a little bit. And the first few ads I saw made Oher look lie a Rain Man-esque simpleton, which is well-spoken interview leads me to believe that he is not. So, in the place of an inspiring story, we appear to be getting a sappy tearjerker.
3. Planet 51 (Sony/Columbia, 3,035 Screens, 91 Minutes, Rated PG): I have to admit, I love this concept. It’s an alien invasion movie where we are the aliens. Instead of a bunch of little green men invading our planet, a human astronaut lands on a planet of little green men.
Now, the concept isn’t all that unique. Planet of the Apes had a similar plot up to the twist ending. But it does seem to be one that lends itself to CGI animation fairly well.
Of course, a good concept is nothing without the proper execution. This could be an awful film (although I find it hard to believe that any film that stars John Cleese and Gary Oldman, even if only as voice actors, can be completely bad).
Although, I have to say, I love the fact the alien’s family pet looks like the alien for the Alien franchise. That’s a nice touch.