Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
From Lisa Walden, New Rochelle, NY:
The "Twilight: New Moon" DVD was just released last week and I rented it. I am a 52 year old African-American woman who truly enjoys film. I attempt to see as many films in theaters as I can but time may not allow my catching some so I have to make do with rental.
When "Twilight" first came out ion 2008 I was unfamiliar with the books and really wasn't passionate about running to see what I perceived as a 'teen flick'. So when it finally was released to DVD I was completely surprised on how such a fresh directing (thank you Catherine Hardwicke!) approach made this film so engaging and mesmerizing to watch. The chemistry between the two main characters was compelling. Robert Pattinson was memorable and fully committed in his acting. Miss Stewart was so engaging. Not the typical teen star. She was awkward but in this charming, unpretentious way. I was struck by their chemistry. And the film itself was so beautifully constructed. I know by your review that it may have seemed over saturated with beauty but is was so dreamlike and seemed to be made with loving detail. It reminded me a bit of the 1930's version of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" with James Cagney et all. Just so dreamlike and beautiful. Anyway -- I can now say I've seen it play on cable over a dozen times and I seem to never tire of it. In fact, it endears me to the actors and the directors' vision.
So when "New Moon" came out I made an effort to see it in a theater. And woe be to me! I have to say that disappointment doesn't even come close to describing the depth of my reaction upon seeing the processed lunch meat that this movie had become. How could Chris Weiss (sp) do SUCH a bad job? It was like he had some kind of contempt for young people, for young BEAUTIFUL people, that he had to make sure they would all look their possible worst. And the story -- so hacked to pieces and disjointed. What a miserable waste of so many talented actors lives and careers.
I come for a music industry background and it remaindered me so much of music production. Years ago a talented artist would be teamed up with a talented producer (someone who was typically an actual musician) and if the hit music gods allowed a whole album would be created that when a consumer purchased it would contain one memorable song after another. But the something happened and in the 90's music companies lost faith in having on producer and would instead have an artist produced with a slew of producers and the company hoping for at least ONE hit song. This meant the album had no real 'sound'. No signature sound for an artist. A few were able to escape that such as having Jimmy Jam & Tery Lewis produce Janet Jackson or Quincy Jones' great albums with Michael Jackson. But the rest, well, ca you name an album in the last 15 or so years that you loved EVERY single song? Hardly none.
So why, oh why, did the producers of "Twilight" chuck the vision of Hardwicke for the butchering of Weitz? If timing was an issue why didn't they consider locking her in after the first film? At the least they could have hired someone who could emulate her style. I am still reeling for what should have been a great experience.
I read your reviews of both films Mr. Ebert. Couldn't agree with you more on your review of "New Moon." But I think you should look at "Twilight" one more time. It has more charm than I think you may have given it credit. This charm is that it CAN be watched several times without being tedious.
Thank you for your time in reading this is you indeed got this far! You are the one reliable film reviewer that I always turn to for your wit, respect and love of film.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...