Twilight: Dueling critics debate. Day Four
In anticipation of the release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Time Out Chicago’s Hank Sartin and Time Out New York’s Joshua Rothkopf will be exchanging emails discussing and debating the cultural phenomenon that is Twilight. Tonight, they're finally seeing the new movie, so today they discuss their expectations.
To: Joshua Rothkopf
From: Hank Sartin
Tonight's the night we finally get to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and only this morning I hear that in a MovieMaker interview, director Chris Weitz says he thinks he's got one more film in him and he's done. (What is it with directors announcing they're bailing out?—Soderbergh is making the same noises). Not that it matters to the Twilight crowd, since they've got director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) working on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as we speak.
I'll confess I'm actually pretty excited, and here's why: As you rightly noted yesterday, Kristen Stewart is a good actress, and there's every indication that this film will give her some fun stuff to do (feeling rejected by Edward's departure, getting wild on motorcycles with Jacob). And honestly, though I've been the house crank in this debate, I think Weitz might bring an interesting energy to the story. To be honest, while I didn't like Golden Compass much, I felt the reactions to it were more negative than it deserved, and I thought Weitz did pretty well (he's pretty frank about how the film was taken away from him in editing, and I wonder if it might have felt more coherent if he'd retained control).
So there you are. The cranky naysayer admits he's pretty excited about seeing New Moon tonight. What about you?
To: Hank Sartin
From: Joshua Rothkopf
I'm impressed with your open-mindedness; that's the Hank I know. Tonight's semi-public [invitation-only] screenings should be crazy scenes: screaming girls, etc. So there should be plenty to turn your stomach. But the movie could be an improvement over the first installment, as most second iterations of franchises are. It makes sense: more dramatic complications, less of the heavy lifting that introducing characters requires. I have high hopes.
Thrillingly, I know absolutely nothing about New Moon. Nada. I mean, yes: I've learned that shirtless werewolves are somehow involved. But I've managed to stay completely "tabula rasa" on the second story, and having never read the books, I'm prepared to have a blast. This raises a provocative (if general) question about film criticism: How important is it to read the book on which a movie is based? Obviously, reading the source material lends a critic more authority. But authority is not the only important component of a review—there's also engaging with what's actually before you (and not merely on page) and writing entertainingly about it. I'll be able to see if the movie works on its own terms. I personally don't give Chris Weitz much credit here; the true auteurs are the costars—and maybe the tweens themselves. Thoughts?