It’s almost like having a week off when a release like this comes along – there’s almost nothing else to talk about, because the decks have been cleared for this blockbuster to put as many bums on seats as possible in its release week.
But at the same time it’s actually really hard. Nothing I say will have any impact on anyone’s decision to see this film or not, so how to approach the review?
I could just write a synopsis, so let’s start there. It’s the first part of the final instalment of the phenomenally successful teen vampire romance series.
Edward (vamp) and Bella (human) are en route to marriage and parenthood, which troubles lovelorn Jacob (werewolf) and their respective clans.
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The clans, you must appreciate, are worried about the threat their unborn child possesses.
What gets me – and it’s not just Twilight, it’s all of them including Potter – is why they so callously stretch the series out for commercial reasons.
Peter Jackson showed with Lord Of The Rings that you can take an epic and complex book and make one, complete, cinematic film that isn’t served up in two chunks just for box office reasons. And come on, the Twilight stories are hardly Tolkein.
Yes, I’m aware he is releasing The Hobbit in two parts, which shows that it’s a studio commerce decision, and as far as that affects the integrity and impact of filmmaking, it sucks.
All that distracts me from a review, so let’s get back on track.
Sorry. I don’t like the Twilight movies. They feel laboured, and miserable, and full of angst for angst’s sake.
This is not an indictment on the books, which I admit I’ve never read, it’s purely a response to boring films that could be amazing screen stories if freed from a controlling, greedy set of paws.
There seems to have been a real resurgence in pulp-esque crime stories in recent months but there’s no denying that they don’t all hit the mark.
Like Twilight there is a real sense of commercial drive being the crucial factor rather than creative desire – and the result is that so for every masterpiece like Drive there are clumsy disappointments like this.
Nicolas Cage continues to pay off his tax bill – yes, I know I made the same comment last week when he popped in opposite Nicole Kidman in Trespass, but it is a whopper of a tax bill – with this tale of a man who in the angry moment of his wife being insulted decides to allow a mysterious man (Guy Pearce) to seek revenge on his behalf.
This seemingly noble gesture becomes a curse for Cage when he is asked to repay the debt.
The film strives for a modern Strangers on a Train feel and director Roger Donaldson does his best to handle the story.
But the script never knows how pulpy to be – it’s almost as if it is ashamed of its down and dirty origins, or unclear as to what pulp crime actually is.