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Lets be honest, Serious Shortcomings..., 30 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Firstly, I should point out that I am not someone who hates the Twilight franchise, and I have read the books; neither am I a 15 year old girl who has fallen hopelessly in love with one of the two male leads.

The film had several problems with it that became increasingly obvious as the film progressed.

The acting, and not all the acting either. The really sad thing is that there were some strong performances here (more on these later), but Kristen Stewart… dear God she can't act. In Twilight she was annoying, in New Moon she is indescribably annoying, but nevertheless, I'll try to describe it. For one, she blinks a lot and she twitches a lot, I don't know why she does this. Also, she only ever wears one of two expressions: slightly shocked, or utterly disinterested. She just looks bored to be there, I'd rather fill out tax returns for the rest of my life than watch another minute of Bella moping about, looking depressed. I know she does this in the book, but the film isn't the book. The director took liberties elsewhere; he could have found a better way to portray this.

Moreover, even before Edward breaks up with Bella she's a complete cipher. In the book Bella is interesting, compassionate and full of life; someone you could fall in love with. In the film she is a boring, boring, boring kill-joy who can't even accept gifts on her birthday without kicking up a fuss. Why does Edward like her? Yes, she's quite hot, but that's about it. She has nothing else, no personality at all.

Next, the music. It wasn't that I didn't like it (I love Paramore), it just wasn't even remotely appropriate most of time. Film music is film music: it compliments a scene, it shouldn't dominate it. The one exception to this was the scene in which Harry Clearwater has a heart-attack; I felt the music here actually worked quite well.

Oh, and the colouring/lighting… I don't even know where to begin. It was awful. Really, really awful, in fact, it was almost as annoying as watching Kristen Stewart. The colouring was alternately too dark, too washed out, or too bright. Also, did anyone else notice the camera constantly flicking between people's faces, as well as the totally unnecessary close-ups? Apparently Kristen Stewart wasn't the only one feeling twitchy. The camera-work alone made the break-up scene in the woods between Edward and Bella a complete joke. And that's before you include Kristen's total inability to act; Patterson kept cringing every time Bella delivered another terrible line, by the end he was starting to look embarrassed to be involved in scene more wooden than the trees surrounding them.

That said, the film did have some redeeming features. The CGI on the wolves, which I know some people didn't like, I thought was pretty good. The wolves looked a little bit cuddlier than I imagined, but that's fair enough. Also, was it really necessary for the Quileutes to be quite so topless? It just felt a bit cheap and exploitative.

Some of the supporting acting I quite liked too. Most of the Cullen's (especially Alice) were good, Bella's friends were good, Dakota Fanning pulled off menacing quite well too, even Robert Patterson and Taylor Lautner were OK, if unexceptional. Michael Sheen was also decent (although I didn't buy into him quite as much as I did in the Underworld series, in which he was immense), and added a little bit of genuine class to the cast list. The problem is that all of these little performances are overshadowed by Kristen Stewart's monstrous tribute to bad acting.

In short, don't watch this film. It's immensely frustrating and self-involved. After about an hour of watching it, I really wanted to kill Bella, and by the end of the film I would have settled for killing just about any of the cast. If the film had lasted another 10 minutes, no one would have been safe. I did, however, get some free popcorn and a hug from my flatmate, so not all bad. But seriously… train wreck.