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Chapter Two: Jon Favreau & Kristen Stewart
New Moon, Iron Man 2 and Zathura

By Brett Beach

January 20, 2011

Have you seen my shirt?

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Not that anybody has asked but I can’t begin a discussion of New Moon without divulging on which side of the Team Edward/Team Jacob divide my loyalties rest. It’s actually a no-brainer from where I stand: Mopey shirtless pale and scrawny vs. mopey shirtless healthy and buff. To approach it from another angle (suggested to me by the fact that alternative rock icon Peter Murphy cameos in Eclipse), it is really a smack down between the point of view in TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” and that in Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi Is Dead.” At this point in my life, I am more interesting in banging along to the beat and singing

“Got a curse we cannot lift/shines when the sunset shifts/There’s a cure comes with a kiss/ The bite that binds the gift that gives”

than doing the gothic shuffle to

“The virginal brides file past his tomb/Strewn with time’s dead flowers/ Bereft in deathly bloom/Alone in a darkened room.”




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Several years ago, I gave Twilight the time of day, much as I have for literary phenomena of the last two decades ranging from The Firm to The Bridges of Madison County to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to The Notebook. At some point, the fact that millions and millions of people are setting aside hours of their day to read a book to such a degree that it becomes a pop culture event gets the better of me and I check it out. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, at times I was moved as I was during Francine Pascal’s Fearless series, but for me the defining moment of being in possession of the book was reading it in public at a Burgerville restaurant, glancing over to a table a few feet away and seeing a young girl, out for dinner with her parents, lugging around her copy of Eclipse. I attempted the opening pages of New Moon a few days later, but there was no spark there.

I have not seen the film adaptation of Eclipse yet, but Chris Weitz’s handling of New Moon has made me both less excited to do so and more appreciative of Catherine Hardwicke’s grasp of the milieu in the first film. Both have backgrounds in tales with teen protagonists (Thirteen and the American Pie films), offbeat fare (Lords of Dogtown and About a Boy) and potentially volatile religious-themed material (The Nativity Story and The Golden Compass), all of which come to play in one manner or another in the series. Since both directors worked from adaptations of the novels by Melissa Rosenberg, it’s interesting to note their approach to the material.

I caught Twilight in the cheap seats a couple of months after it came out and then watched it again at home before checking out New Moon for the first time. Both films are founded upon pulpy, ridiculously melodramatic source novels. Hardwicke’s film flounders during the brief action scenes but plays up the overheated romance so adroitly I would swear that she set out to intentionally make a deadpan sex (less) comedy (which, given that Twilight has a “happy ending” with its “Edward and Bella dance at prom” climax, it satisfies at least one longstanding tenet of the rules of comedy).


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