Well, we here at MTV News are certainly excited that “New Moon” has been green-lit: Without the “Twilight” sequel, there would be a big hole in our lives around here, so as an editor, I’m happy. But as a Twilighter? I’m apprehensive.
I’ve been an irrationally enthusiastic “Twilight” fan since April. And in the months since the books and pre-movie hype became a full-fledged pop-culture phenomenon, thus open to full-fledged criticism, I’ve been a “Twilight” apologist — defending the series in spite of its flaws. And when bad reviews of the movie started coming in, I braced myself for the fight.
Sadly, there was no fight in me when the credits rolled. Instead, I cried out to anyone who would listen all the ways that this could have been the movie I’d waited so long to see. But rather than launch into my own critique (and seriously, I could go scene-by-scene), I’m going to concentrate on the next film, which still has a chance to be great. Catherine Hardwicke and company, here’s my wish list for “New Moon”:
1) Go back to the books and re-examine what makes us fall in love with Edward and Bella, as much as what makes them fall in love with each other. Yes, their story overflows with gooey melodrama, but there’s also a healthy serving of sarcasm and light-hearted banter, which is when the readers can actually see themselves in the characters. Before you jump into those “I can’t live without you” scenes, give us a little bit of Edward reading her friends’ minds to eavesdrop on her clumsiness. You did it right in that scene when they arrive at school together and she says that everyone’s looking at them. “Not that guy,” he offers, and then has to retract. We really needed more of that before the meadow scene. You’ll have a chance to do this in the beginning of “New Moon,” before the birthday party turns into a disaster. And when Edward leaves, the audience will be counting on some cuteness from Jacob and Mike to keep us all from jumping off a cliff.
2) Beef up the roles of the other Cullens. Without backstory, they all seem like pretty, flat background characters. Those black-and-white, costume flashbacks were cool. More, please. Especially when you illustrate Carlisle’s wild days with the Volturi.
3) Cut back on the special effects, a lot. If vampires move too fast for humans to see, then why would we even have seen those cheesy blurs? All of that worked way better in our imaginations, and maybe it should stay that way. I’d rather see them appear out of thin air, than whoosh around like characters in a Sci Fi Channel movie. And whatever you did to make Edward sparkle was so unlike the rest of the movie, it took me completely out of the story and made me laugh. Everything else about the aesthetic of “Twilight” was beautiful, and I’m ready to book a vacation to the Pacific Northwest right now. I realize the werewolves pose a big problem, and you run the risk of them looking either like Falkor or something out of “Episode I.” Please, I beg you, use real wolves!
4) Nix the ’80s electric guitar solos in the score. (See above, re: Sci Fi Channel.)
5) Let Kristen Stewart do her thing. There were moments in “Twilight” that really reminded me of the gritty, natural teen angst of “Thirteen” — the actors had room to breathe and act like real people, with real problems. I was in tears when Bella told Charlie she was leaving Forks for good. In “New Moon,” Bella’s depression can be Kristen’s chance to shine as an actress, so don’t muck it up with layers of dramatic music. While you’re at it, for the Volturi, let’s get some good character actors who won’t ham it up like cartoon vampires. More Gary Oldman than Tom Cruise, if you will.
6) OK, this is reverting to the gripe list I said I wouldn’t write, but can you also do away with the silly crouching pose the vampires do before they fight? What is that about? These are graceful killing machines. Not little kids pretending to be lions.
Now it’s your turn, Twilighters. What’s on your “New Moon” wish list?