LISTED Film Previews – November 2011

Now, by this point, you’re probably wondering to yourself “How come there have been all these previews of films coming out, and yet we’ve hardly seen ANY actual reviews of these films? Whats going on, Mister? Why are you doing this to us? Whywhy?” Well, I’ll tell you – I’ve been massively busy on other projects in the works (mostly being that I need an actual job so I can afford things… like food…).

One such project I mentioned in a previous post, and that is the new Film Review Radio Show/Internet Podcast I am now a part of called May Contain Spoilers! We go out live every week on Thursday nights at 9, and our podcast follows shortly after in the week so you can catch it even if you didn’t hear it live. To keep up with our shenanigans and stay up to date with our fantastic competitions and news, you can add us on Facebook by searching May Contain Spoilers, on Twitter through @FilmSpoilers or you can e-mail us for information or to suggest a Soundtrack of the Week at maycontainspoilers@thebayradio.com. So come along, have a listen and get involved in the action yourself – its guaranteed to be 100% better than trying to eat a shoe!!

Now that’s done, shall I tell you about what to see this month? Yes. Yes I shall…

THE RUM DIARY (15) (Dir. Bruce Robinson)

Johnny Depp is Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist writing for a newspaper in the Caribbean who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life. As he tries to carve out a niche for himself in the journalistic world of Puerto Rico, he begins to fall in with crowds of lost souls. And if you notice that it bears a resemblance to Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas then you might not be surprised that The Rum Diary is also adapted from a novel by Hunter S. Thompson and written and directed by Bruce Robinson, so you can expect a few trippy scenes here and there. Possibly not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those that enjoy a bit of madness mixed in with their drama. Released November 4th.

IN TIME (12A) (Dir. Andrew Niccol)

Starring Justin Timberlake in an altogether different role, this sci-fi thriller is set in the near future where people stop aging at 25 but can only live for one more year, meaning time is used as currency so the rich stay young forever and the poor die early. But when a young man (Timberlake) finds himself with an abundance of extra time, he is swiftly on the run from an elite police force lead by Cillian Murphey called The Time Keepers. While the trailer seems like Logan’s Run, there may be more to offer than first meets the eye. Released November 1st.

IMMORTALS (15) (Dir. Tarsem Singh)

Appearing at first a bit like 300 Again, Immortals tells the tale of Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man chosen by Zeus (Luke Evans) to lead a fight against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a ruthless leader who is on a rampage through Greece with his disfigured army on a quest to find a weapon that could destroy humanity. While you can expect the action and effects to be just as stylised as 300 or Clash of the Titans, you can also expect more references to Greek mythology and the Greek Gods. While there might be a few reasons to see this in 3D, it’s also a good opportunity to see Henry Cavill in action before he takes on the Superman mantle in next year’s Man of Steel. Released November 11th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 (12A) (Dir. Bill Condon)

Those cash-cow teens (and the one that can’t keep his shirt on) are back again for the first part of the final film of the saga. In Part One of Breaking Dawn, we see Bella (Kristen Stewart) finally tie the knot with her sparkly Vampire lover Edward (Robert Pattinson), much to the dismay of muscly wolf-boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Only thing is, after returning from their steamy, private honeymoon, Bella discovers she’s pregnant and the Vampire sprog inside of her not only poses a threat to the Quileute Wolf tribe and the Volturi Vampire coven alike, but could also be killing her from the inside. Perhaps it’s a message about abstinence, but at the same time this movie has taken the giant leap from being a cult phenomenon to becoming just a tad ridiculous. Expect lots of teenage angst drama in the build-up towards next year’s final conclusion. Released November 18th.

As published in Listed Magazine and online at http://www.listedmagazine.com. Search “May Contain Spoilers” in Facebook for information on all these films and more.

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LISTED Film Previews – November 2010

Once again, I bring you another list of some films you should (and some, maybe you shouldn’t!) go and check out this month. It also sees the return of the money-making machine that is the Harry Potter franchise. Make of it what you will, but needless to say, this is going to sell out everywhere. If there was ever going to be a “Big One” for this generation, this one and ultimately the very last one will be it! Mark my words, this is going to be massive stuff! Get your eyes on it:

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART ONE (12A) (Dir. David Yates)

With the last instalment of the already multi-million dollar franchise being split into two parts, it’s really hard to not question the ratio between doing the most crucial book justice with creative integrity and milking the final cash-cow for all its worth before it all ends. That being said, anyone who liked the very stylistic (if somewhat plot-holed) Half-Blood Prince will be happy to hear that the same director and writer are on board for this final venture, so fans of the teenage wizard troop are sure to get the kind of film they’re hoping for. What’s more, this will all be in “magical” 3D so all the cool broomstick and spell effects will seem a lot more lifelike, which will provide more entertainment for the seven people out there who haven’t read the final book! Released November 19th.

JACKASS 3-D (18) (Dir. Jeff Tremaine)

Ok, so there’s never really any plotline, there are no dynamic characters or multi-layered threads of development of any kind. There are no cool computer effects, no action stars, and hardly even a script. But let’s face it, even the sternest of film critics will have a moment of weakness and let slip a giggle when they see someone get smacked across the room by a giant, spring-loaded rubber hand! Jackass may have been somewhat left behind in recent years, but the fact that this latest effort from Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and the rest of the danger-facing crew has been filmed using 3D cameras might add a touch more interest for the people out there cringing at the thought of this film taking up precious screen time at their local cinema. It does beg the question, though: Just how much many dangerous stunts can you really do in 3D, and are they going to be awesome? Released November 5th.

THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST (18) (Dir. Daniel Alfredson)

Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy finally comes to a close with the high-octane final instalment! After the events of Girl Who Played With Fire, Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is fighting for her life in intensive care whilst Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is fighting to prove her innocence. This is set to round off the trilogy in a pretty big way, and is very hotly tipped for some Oscar Nominations (Rapace is in the running for Best Actress) this year. Make sure you catch this film, as well as the first two, before the Hollywood re-make with Daniel Craig is released next year! Released November 26th.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (15) (Dir. Jake Scott)

Married man James Gandolfini grieves over the loss of his daughter and his gradually fading marriage when he meets a young runaway (Kristen Stewart) on a business trip in New Orleans, and forms a questionable relationship that begins to bring all three broken people into a new life together. This is probably a film anyone who hasn’t seen any Twilight films might gravitate towards as it looks genuinely dramatic, but might also bring in a crowd eager to see Stewart wearing not very much at all… Released November 26th.

As published in Listed Magazine and on www.listedmagazine.com

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Contains Spoilers)

Essentially, this is almost the same deal as last time, except there’s no awesome story of how I took back both of the tickets I had and yet still managed to sneak into a fully packed cinema and find a seat near the people I came there with this time. We did it the legit way this time – booked our seats ahead of time and then turned up and sat in them. Only we also didn’t do the whole midnight screening thing either – I think one overdose of Twilight Fever is enough really! Instead, we just went to one the next morning, which is WAY less extreme, right?… Right?…

Anyway, after seeing the film the whole way through and not once laughing at any bits that were meant to be serious and poignant, I can safely surmise that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is probably the most interesting of the Twilight series so far. The book, I personally thought, did not have much going on, as it is obviously from Bella’s point of view, and therefore you only see whats going on through her perspective. And what does go on is mostly her STILL having trouble choosing between her sparkly Vampire true love boyfriend Edward Cullen and super-tough macho Wolf friend Jacob Black, until the short pay-off at the end with all the fights happening. As such, I figured that the film would be much the same, and would consist mostly of static mid-shots of angsty looking teens trying to be all dramatic.

However, as with New Moon, all of the predictably dramatic scenes are broken up with exposition that isn’t part of the original book. This basically means that at the points that everything is getting very same-y and dramatic, the script gets broken up a bit with extra exposition that, in this respect at least, is actually pretty cool – namely scenes with Riley (played by newcomer Xavier Samuel) and Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas-Howard), and their creation of the Newborn Vampire army that comes to attack Forks. And it’s exactly these scenes that add a more sinister element to what would otherwise be a pretty sappy teenage drama film. I’m not saying it completely redeems it or turns it around into something else, but it does provide some new viewing elements than what would otherwise be a film taken straight from the book.

On top of this, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse does provide something else alongside the main storyline that brings another interesting element to the film, and that is the exposition behind more of the main characters, in particular Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), and Rosalie. Their background stories are strong and compelling ones, and to get the insight behind them on the screen is more interesting than having it in the book as (again) it is from their perspective and done as they see it. The results of these background expositions is that you finally end up liking these characters a lot more than before. Up until this point, they have been part of the main cast but have also been kept mostly in the background – we were introduced to them in Twilight, and then in New Moon they were only in it at the beginning and at the end. Finally, we get the explanation behind their characters and start to like them more as they should have been from the first one!

As well as the Cullen family exposition, there is also the history behind the Quileutes and how they came into existence, providing even more exposition behind the characters we already know. This device of the film adds that extra amount of substance that means it ends up being a lot more than just a static viewing experience that you might expect from these films.

The other aspect of Eclipse that makes it mostly worth viewing is the huge fight sequence at the end. Surprisingly, it’s a lot more epic than one might imagine of a film of this ilk. It’s fast paced, it has Vampires and Giant Wolves ripping each other apart, and it’s pretty much the most entertaining bit of the film. Even the part where Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) ends the existence of the malicious Victoria ends up getting a bit gruesome and thusly making everyone cheer, because finally these Vampires are actually killing things like they’re meant to! It’s also worth mentioning here that Bryce Dallas-Howard’s Victoria is far more entertaining to watch than Rachel Lafevre’s Victoria of the past two films, especially as we see a lot more of her in Eclipse. It’s no wonder they originally offered the part to Bryce Dallas-Howard, only for her to turn it down and then get it re-offered once Rachel Lafevre lost her job.

Generally, there are more aspects of Eclipse that make it a lot more interesting than the other two films. Twilight started it all, and New Moon introduced the Wolves and more bad guys, but Eclipse introduces more background behind the characters and more action sequences which means you’re not just watching a love triangle for 2 hours. Eclipse also had the most kept in from the book – there were no scenes of any importance from the book that got skipped over, and there were all the right things in the right places. And the fact that director David Slade manages to work some outside humour into the film as well (such as Edward’s comment about Taylor Lautner’s Jacob “Does he not own a shirt?”, or the awkward “sex talk” between Bella and her dad) means that at least this time round, they are a few more elements toward a well-rounded film.

But, this does not mean that its obvious appeal toward daydreamy teenage girls is any less deniable. Although Eclipse does have its moments of undeniably compelling scenes (like the aforementioned fight scenes, cut-aways and expositions), it is still at its heart a film about a love triangle centred around Kristen Stewart’s Bella who still just can’t make up her mind, even though a majority of the audience would happily make it for her. And still, Stewart has that one look of confusion that she seems to wear on her face for the majority of the film even though they have obviously and undeniably prettied her up to make her less plain than the other two film, even though that’s the major part of her character. The fact that they’ve prettied her up that much obviously means that they are trying to go for the proper actress look for her, and the fact that she’s obviously wearing contacts throughout the entire film to darken and widen her eyes just goes to prove this.

At the end of the day, anyone who knows the books well enough knows that Eclipse is likely to be the last one with any kind of action in it of any kind considering the storyline yet to come in Breaking Dawn, which is now officially going to be in 2 parts considering how long the book is, thus making them even more money. And considering that Eclipse has made $121 million dollars just in its opening weekend, this series is clearly a money-making machine whether you like it or not. Overall, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has some good bits in it that I did enjoy, but for the most part I still felt the unshakeable feeling that I wasn’t watching a Vampire movie until the end. Worth a 5 out of 10 for the effects and the fight scene at the end, but it’s still best to go and form your own opinion!

LISTED Film Previews – June ’10

Ok, so these may be a tad late, because I thought I had put them on already but wasn’t sure, and also because I’ve been working on the next month’s ones as well as all my normal work, which has all been building up to the final few days which are still yet to come. And yet I still find time to do these film previews for you lovely people. Because I’m just awesome like that. Wrap you’re dirty great eyelids around these then!

GET HIM TO THE GREEK (15) (Dir. Nicholas Stoller)

Somewhat of a spin-off from Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Russell Brand returns to reprise his role of the outlandish rock star Aldous Snow. Jonah Hill (from Superbad) plays a lowly intern at a record company who is given his big break when he has to accompany an out-of-control Aldous and get him to LA’s Greek Theatre in time for his concert. Get Him To The Greek looks set to have some great performances from its cast, mainly because Jonah Hill is naturally very funny, and Russell Brand only has to be himself to play this part. This could well be choke-on-your-popcorn comedy! Released June 4th.

KILLERS (12A) (Dir. Robert Luketic)

Playing the rather unexpected role of an international super-assassin Spencer, Ashton Kutcher takes the leading role alongside Katherine Heigl who plays his newly wedded wife Jen. They live quite happily in domestic bliss, until the morning after Spencer’s 30th Birthday, when they discover he is the target of a multi-million dollar hit. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the hired killers have been stalking the happy couple for years, and they begin to suspect each of their neighbours! This could easily be hollow entertainment for the masses, a la The Bounty Hunter, but if you’re in the mood for simple comedy then this could prove to be ideal. Released June 16th.

JONAH HEX (12A) (Dir. Jimmy Hayward)

Delving even deeper into the world of comic books, Josh Brolin plays DC Comics’ scarred colonial bounty hunter with supernatural powers, who gets hired by the US Military to take down a terrorist (John Malkovich) who is preparing to unleash Hell on Earth. Many original fans are amazed that such a little-known DC Comics character is getting his own film release, despite how much potential Jonah Hex has as a hero character. The two things that will likely bring this film down is a bad case of Ghost Rider­-itis in the script, and Megan Fox’s flat acting. Hopefully, the character and the action will be enough to carry this film on their own. Released June 25th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE (12A) (Dir. David Slade)

Although the first trailer for the third instalment of the infamous Twilight Saga made it look more like “Static Mid-Shots of Miserable Teenagers 3”, the second trailer released on the internet managed to gain back some credibility with the promised story of a pack of newborn Vampires led by vengeful vamp Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was originally offered the part in the first film) moving to attack Forks, and teasers of mass-vampire slaughtering courtesy of the Giant Wolves. Interwoven in this is the continuing conundrum of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) decision of her love between super-buff Wolf Jacob (Lautner) and sparkly Vampire dream-boy Edward (Pattinson). It’s likely, though, that some of us might start wishing she’d just make up her mind so we can see some vampires get torn apart… On the whole, though, this film WILL be a success, whether you want it to or not! Released June 30th.

The Runaways (Contains Spoilers)

After seeing her play what I can only describe as a one-note role as Bella in the Twilight Saga films, I was all too prepared for Kristen Stewarts role as Joan Jett in this film to be a bit more of the same. But, after having seen promising trailers that changed my mind, and then going and seeing The Runaways on its opening night, I can honestly say I was totally surprised at how she has broken way out of her acting shell and come out with something totally different. Forget being a Vampire’s love interest, this is where Kristen Stewart is making her proper mark in her acting!

The Runaways is a biopic that tells the story of the fledgling band of the same name, the first ever all-girl rock band of their time. Its 1975 when all of this takes place, and straight away, I was totally convinced by everything down to the type of decorations people have in their homes. Everything about The Runaways is centred on the music, and the drama that surrounds it. It doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not, and thankfully didn’t go off on a total tangent about their private lives (well, none more than was necessary to the story), or focus on how they made their first big hit and then stop. The Runaways was dramatic, intense, and filled with the kind of rock-and-roll attitude that they themselves became famous for.

Whilst you might be mistaken for thinking that Kristen Stewart has the centre role here, it’s actually Dakota Fanning’s portrayal of Cherie Currie that the main story follows. This could be, in some way, done in an ironic way as it was her media attention that split her off from the band originally, but I’m pretty sure that it’s down to the fact that this film is based (in part, at least) on the novel “Neon Angel” by Cherie Currie herself. It makes sense, then, that most of the drama we see comes from her failing home life and her dwindling relationship with her sister and divorced parents. Whilst we don’t get much of an insight into the lives of the other members of the band, The Runaways still has enough of the drama needed to successfully carry the film without either overdoing it or underwhelming us and leaving us bored. Kristen Stewart’s Joan Jett, obviously, takes a lot of the storyline too, but that’s because she’s Joan Jett! None of the “family drama” seeps into her character too much, but instead we follow Joan Jett as she starts out worshiping her idols and picking up a guitar for the first time, to putting together her band and leading them on to success.

The thing that I liked most about Stewart’s acting as Joan Jett is that she only does the annoying, stutter-y, shy, “Bella” character once throughout the entire film. The rest of the time, she is rock and roll personified, like Joan Jett was. She cuts the figure of someone who is a determined leader, focussed on what she wants and how to get there. And it that kind of convincing acting that shows just how much more Kristen Stewart is capable of.

Something that truly surprised me, though, is how much older (and yet, no more mature) Dakota Fanning has been made up to be in this film. Again, since she is the main focus of the film, we see her gradual progression from a shy, retiring hopeful young girl to a rebellious front-woman of a world conquering band and slowly slips into the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll lifestyle that comes with it.

There was very little about this film that I didn’t like, and I think that is mostly down a lot of the little things that make an overall bigger effect on the film. It would have been all too easy for the people behind the film to focus on the songs that The Runaways became most famous for, but in fact the soundtrack is so varied that you get a mix of a lot of their original material as well as other songs that influenced the band and were huge at the time. It also would have been easy to focus on the success of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts that came after the disbanding of The Runaways, but instead this is only touched on at the very end of the film, which means that The Runaways STAYS as a story about The Runaways. The fact that the main cast got together for a month before the film began shooting to practise and record The Runaways’ songs clearly made a difference, because it shows during the performance scenes when they all act as a band together and are able to sound like one too. The fact that Kristen Stewart doesn’t just look the part (and she truly does!), but that she totally projects Joan Jett onto the screen as well is awesome. The fact that (though I was unsure during the film) the events that take place are somewhat accurate to those that went on originally in the 70’s amongst the band means that the subject source is more reliable. And this comes mostly from the fact that not only is the film based on Cherie Currie’s novel, but also that Joan Jett herself was an Executive Producer on the film. It is all of these kinds of elements that truly make The Runaways what it is.

All in all, I thought that The Runaways was an entirely satisfying film filled with rock-and-roll mentalities, good music and a well-written story behind it. For these reasons I’m giving The Runaways a 9 out of 10, and will probably have “Cherry Bomb” in my head for days to come now!

LISTED Film Previews – March 2010

Because of changes in the printings for Listed Magazine, these will actually be going out monthly now, as opposed to covering two months in one go – which means more movie previews packed into a months space than before, making your movie-going choices even more difficult than before! I love being helpful!!

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (PG) (Dir. Tim Burton)

Tim Burton, master of the wierd and gothy, has struck once again – this time turning his hand to Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece! Taking on a slightly different storyline to the usual concept, this version sees a 19 year old Alice returning to Wonderland to fulfil her destiny of ending the Red Queen’s reign of terror over Wonderland. Burton has given the film’s visuals his own unusual-but-accurate approach, and with a star-studded cast including Johnny Depp (of course) as The Mad Hatter, Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat, Michael Sheen as The White Rabbit and Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen to name just a few, this is definitely one (acid) trip you’ll want to go on! Miss this, and you’ll miss out! Released March 5th.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (15) (Dir. Neils Arden Oplev)

After having a huge reception, this Swedish adaptation of the bestselling book is reaching our shores soon! A journalist (played by Michael Nyqvist) and a computer hacker are paired up to investigate a girl’s disappearance. But the more they investigate, the more they uncover about the families history and a string of murders from the past… Even though Sony have already optioned for a remake, you’ll want to check out this original version first and foremost! Released March 12th.

THE RUNAWAYS (15) (Dir. Floria Sigismondi)

A chronicling of the rise to fame of LA rock band The Runaways, who were an all-girl band in a man’s rock world in 1975. Written and directed by Sigismondi, this film sees Kristen Stewart break FAR away from her previous Twilight Saga role to play teenage lead singer Joan Jett, as well as Dakota Fanning looking surprisingly grown-up playing Cherie Currie. A must see for drama lovers and music lovers alike! Released March 19th.

CLASH OF THE TITANS (12A) (Dir. Louis Leterrier)

Whilst 2010 seems to be “The Year Of The Bad Re-Makes” (stay tuned for future months for more on those…), the Clash Re-make starring Sam Worthington (of Avatar fame) looks like it could satisfy anyone having withdrawal symptoms from 300! Loosely based on Greek myth, Perseus (Worthington) embarks on a mission to destroy Hades (Ralph Feinnes) before the underworld can spread to Earth and seize the power of Perseus’ father Zeus. The visual effects in Clash Of The Titans looks fantastic from the trailer, so you can definitely get more bang for your buck in this one than any other action film this month. Expect every other re-make this year to look awful compared to this! Released March 26th.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (PG) (Dir. Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders)

From the same studios that brought you Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon is an adaptation of the children’s book of the same name that follows a young Viking named Hiccup Horrendous The Third as he finds his very own wild dragon, Toothless. If you’re a fan of kid’s films with things for the parents included, then this is a great comedy adventure for the family. Catch it in 3D if possible, too! Released March 31st.

As printed in Listed Magazine Issue 25 and on www.listedmagazine.com

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Contains Spoilers)

After a long, convoluted series of events that finally led to me getting a perfect seat in the same auditorium as my friends at a midnight screening in L.A., I actually managed to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon on its opening day. Of course, much to my expectations, the atmosphere was complete pandemonium – people were queuing for ages just to get good seats, most of the people there were wearing branded T-shirts of the film, some of their Mums were wearing branded T-shirts as well, inside the auditorium was packed out and people couldn’t stay still from the excitement, etc… It was complete madness, and part of me was a little shocked that I got mixed into it all. But  sort of couldn’t hear that part of me, for there was a bigger part of me that was saying “You’re getting to see this film at midnight with your friends in a different country, what the hell are you complaining about??”

All the seats erupted into screams of delight when Robert Pattinson appeared on the screen… In a trailer for his next film Remember Me. “Good God” I thought “This is just the bloody previews!!” That, fair people, is exactly the sort of madness that The Twilight Saga stirs up in some people. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why people get so into it, as the subject matter speaks to certain people in the same way that Harry Potter does and people go just as mad for that as well. But then, a majority of the people there were also there to see sexy vampires and buff werewolves, so you take the good with the bad, I suppose. Me? I was there because I got into the storyline of the book and because I knew there were going to be some awesome Werewolf scenes as well!

Anyway, once the film actually started, you were able to tell immediately that it was not the same director as before (Catherine Hardwick had other projects to work on and Chris Weitz took the helm for New Moon), as it opens with the shots of what’s in the book as the prologue – of Bella Swan running through the town square in Italy trying desperately to get to the clock tower. This wasn’t done in Twilight, which made sense as it was just the start of the whole story anyway, but it still meant you’re able to distinguish the different styles of direction straight away. This is something I personally thought would benefit the film, as you’re not expecting it to be anything like the first one that way. Which it completely isn’t!

As almost the entire population will already know by now, the storyline to New Moon takes what was set up in Twilight (i.e. the relationship between Bella Swan and her Vampire love Edward Cullen) and completely rips it to pieces after one of the Cullens nearly kills her after she cuts herself. After all the Cullen’s then disappear from town, she is left alone and faces life without her true love, which consequently leaves her with her best friend Jacob Black, who is part of a tribe of Native American’s (the Quileute Tribe), who turn out to be Werewolves, which are the only other thing in the world that can kill Vampires… understand? Good.

The scene that everyone was hoping, nay praying, that they got perfectly spot on is the scene where Edward has to tell Bella that him and his family are leaving, and that they can’t be together anymore. This scene, I have to admit, they got perfect. A majority of it follows exactly how it happens in the book, down to the tone of voice each of them uses, but it’s also how the scene first starts out that really sets everything up. Now, we’ve all been there – on the receiving end of a break up line, but we all know how the conversation has to start. So when Edward utters in a low tone “Let’s go take a walk”, everyone is automatically in the mindset for what is about to happen. What starts as a gentle opening of “It’s safer for you if I’m not around you”, turns into a full on “You’re not good for me. I don’t want you to come with me”. And as the scene progresses, you do get the sense that it is becoming more and more devastating for these characters. Tears and sniffles are exchanged throughout the cinema at this point, as one second Edward kisses Bella goodbye, and the next he has disappeared from sight, supposedly never to be seen again. The devastation that hits Bella after this is very well crafted, as she then slips into a nearly comatose state for the months that then follow, drifting emptily through life just as is described in the book.

I could go on, with a scene-by-scene breakdown, but I’m just going to stick to the main bits! The thing with New Moon is that it is very much Jacob Black’s story, and how he discovers that it is his birthright to be part of the Quileute Wolf Pack. Another thing that was established early on after the first teaser trailer that the producers definitely HAD got right was the Wolf effects in the film – The Quileutes aren’t the traditional Werewolves so much as people who can spontaneously erupt into giant wolves, the size of stallions. This, when described in the book, is very cool. This, when seeing on the screen, is freakin’ bad-ass!

The first time you get a glimpse of one of them (the Alpha of the pack, when Bella is crushed by Edward leaving and is stranded in the forest) it IS just a glimpse – but its more than enough to keep people on tenterhooks to see more! Which means the first time you ACTUALLY see the Alpha Wolf, closely followed by the rest of the pack, you ARE on the edge of your seat and I personally was completely gob-smacked at how incredible and formidable they have made the Werewolves look on the screen!

The transformation of Jacob Black from the skinny best friend, to the beefed-up super-jock with a chip on his shoulder is gradually seen over the first half of the film as well. Like I said, this is very much Jacob’s story, and Taylor Lautner has clearly put a lot of work into his look and his acting to get this role perfected. Throughout the rest of the film, even though Bella’s reckless stunts on a motorcycle are her only means of seeing visions of her lost love, by the time she knows all about the Quileutes you are wanting her to pick Jacob over Edward, because of his dedication to her and his promise of constant protection from any outside dangers (namely the vengeance-seeking Victoria, whose mate got killed in the first film).

The good thing about adapting a book into a film, is that can be perspective-less. This opens up a variety of new possibilities for direction. Because the book is only told from Bella’s perspective, we only know and see what SHE knows and sees in the book. In New Moon, there is an entire scene where Jacob and the rest of the Wolf Pack hunt down, fight and chase Victoria through the woods of Forks. This was definitely NOT in the book, but the fact that they managed to work in more Werewolf scenes into the film than there is in the book was an unexpected surprise that made all the difference. Clearly, this is because they spent so long developing the technology to get the Wolf effects just right, that they wanted to make it worthwhile and not just have a couple of scenes with them in, but instead give them more screen time than is suggested in the book, because clearly this is what people have really come to see. And its 100% worth it! The Werewolf scenes in New Moon are phenomenal, and you find yourself damn near cheering them on as they’re chasing Victoria.

The only thing that I will say is that there is quite a fair amount of slow-motion during these sorts of scenes, and whilst it is mainly used to show (ironically) the speed with which these creatures can move, it is only borderline distracting when you want to have a bit more action going.

The film then develops into a race-against-time to stop Edward from provoking the Volturi, who basically are the Vampire Royalty that reside in Italy. They lay down the law and destroy anyone who doesn’t obey. So when Edward gets the wrong end of the stick and thinks that Bella has somehow killed herself, he decides to piss off the Volturi by showing people he’s a Vampire on the most crowded day of the year at 12 when the sun is at its highest. This means that Bella has to stop him from doing something he might then regret, which then leads to them all going to the chamber of the Volturi. Dakota Fanning plays the creepy, spooky young Volturi member Jane, who many were opposed to when it was announced, but she actually plays her part with the right kind of malice that her character requires. Micheal Sheen also plays his part of Head Volturi member Aro with the right kind of finesse mixed with sinister to get the character just right.

Anyway, the scenes with the Volturi are the set up for how the story will continue after New Moon and into Eclipse next year, and even though there is no such scene in the book, a massive Vampire fight breaks out in the middle of the Volturi’s chamber. Well, of course it had to, right? The Werewolves have had their fight scenes, now it’s time for some Vampires to have a cool little skirmish with some awesome effects! I got the feeling that this was sort of thrown in to not make either side look more dangerous than the other, but it was still fun to watch as these guys smack each other about the room and through concrete and stuff. Mixing in the violence into the romance, as it were.

By the time the film comes to a close, you are left at the scene where Jacob reminds Edward of the treaty the Quileutes hold with the Cullens, and what could happen to Bella should the treaty be broken. This is a tense enough moment in the book. So, when it suddenly breaks out into an unexpected scrap between Edward and Wolf-Jacob in the film, the audience are taken a-back as the rivalry that will drive the next film is formed, and people are left debating who could take who in a fight to the death! The film then comes to a slightly unforseen (even though people know this is the end of the film) when Edward makes his proposal for Bella’s transformation. Literally. This bit of dialogue was not meant to be introduced until the start of the next book, but the fact that they have ended the film on the words “Marry me, Bella” means that people will be begging for the release date of the next one to come as soon as possible. Clever, Chris Weitz, clever.

Anyway, overall, the film is awesome. It’s exactly what I expected it would be – the Werewolves are bad-ass, the script is very close to the book, minus a few scenes that help the story along everything that needs to be in there was there, and the high-running emotions and tensions are all felt throughout. So, it’s definitely everything that it needed to be, and possibly a bit more too. Also, if you’re weren’t already on the side of Team Jacob before seeing this film, by the end you’ll be cheering on the Wolves as loudly as everyone else!!