Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 | Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg | Directed by Bill Condon

The first part of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn was finally released two days ago. Although all the anticipation for this new film has awakened Twilight fans everywhere, I was less enthused. I was completely unhappy with the decision to split the book into two films; I believed that we'd get an adequate film adaptation otherwise. Well, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 ended up being much better than I expected. I actually really enjoyed it!

As we all know from watching Eclipse or simply watching Breaking Dawn, Part 1's trailer, Bella (Kirsten Stewart) is finally going to marry Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), her long-term vampire boyfriend. Of course, this would result in a honeymoon... Which ends with a pregnancy scare. But what exactly is the species of the abnormal fetus that is weakening Bella?

Now, it is to the point where Edward is in need of Jacob's (Taylor Lautner) help to defend who they both love.

During the first quarter of the film there was plenty of eye-rolling from me. Other than the bits of humor we get from nearly everyone, everything was just so corny and the acting just seemed too gushy for me to digest. This gave me a bad first impression of the movie, especially since it seemed to be just as bad as my extremely low expectations that prevented me from being excited to see Breaking Dawn, Part 1. For those who will probably end up experiencing the same first-hand disappointment, my advice is to hold tight. The last half of the film makes it all worthwhile. Even the acting somehow magically gets better.

On normal circumstances, I always stress that Twilight films are strictly for those who read the books since the films are nice but do not give the same effect; therefore, those who see the movies without reading the books first may not truly understand the allure. Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is an exception to that rule. The last half of this film is so awesome and intense that anyone who hasn't read the book should get the full effect. Even cross-over appeal is present with the film's new found intensity, but I'm not going to say much so I don't spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet or have missed previous films.

We get in on some major drama within the wolf pack this time, and it intertwines with Bella's pregnancy predicament. In the process, Jacob becomes a stronger character that not even Taylor Lautner could ruin (I say this because in the past I have been unimpressed by his acting). However, the portion of the book that was narrated by Jacob isn't included in the movie. I don't really think it was needed since I read the book, but I'm not so sure if those who haven't will see the change that I saw in Jacob. In that portion of the book, I gained a lot of new respect for him, but I'm not so sure if others will see that change.

Despite the film is ended with what could be considered a cliff-hanger, it's a very satisfying one, embedding anticipation for the next film into my brain (though my favorite parts of the book were all at the end of this movie) but letting everyone know what happens.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is the best of the film series, surpassing my expectations by a longshot as well as doing the book justice in the process! Thanks to the second half's great save, I loved it!

4/5 Stars

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Artist Evolution

Bands and singers tend to change or tweak the sound of the music they make over time. This happens constantly, whether you've noticed it or not; if they didn't, all of their music would sound the same and result in being very boring. Sometimes, a band will noticably change very quickly by getting a new lead singer or something, and their fans tend to respond very negatively, claiming that their favorite band is now terrible, and "sold out to mainstream" or "are just trying to make money."  If the circumstances were more normal, I'd be able to understand these viewpoints. However... I really can't take any of these extremely annoying people seriously.

Left: Anette Olzon, the new singer of Nightwish
Right: Tarja Turenen, Nightwish's previous singer
For example: Nightwish. Nightwish is a rather popular symphoniac metal band from Findland. Their original female lead singer, Tarja Turunen, had a very distinctive operatic vocal style that went perfectly with the epic metal compositions. So, when Tarja had to leave the band by all of the other members' request, the fans were upset. When Nightwish released their 2007 album entitled Dark Passion Play (which was already musically different than Nightwish's norm) with Anette Olzon, who had a much different vocal style than Tarja... people went crazy. And I mean crazy. Tarja has a lot of extremely devoted fans. All over the internet people argue "THIS ISN'T METAL ANYMORE WE LOVE TARJA BOOHOOO!" Don't get me wrong, Anette has loyal fans who defend her honor as well, but what am I supposed to do when I like both eras? I still felt like it was the same band that I loved, but they have just renovated their approach. They evolved.
Just recently, Within Temptation released a new album called The Unforgiving. Within Temptation has gone through a lot of different eras; no two of their albums sound too similar. But for whatever reason, when this album was released people started to freak out again. Much like the Nightwish ordeal, many people kept complaining that Within Temptation wasn't "metal" anymore, since this new album included more upbeat tracks. What made me laugh most was that they actually considered that album to be pop... Pop? Within Temptation? Ever heard of this genere called rock? It's pretty epic, too. (But I personally still consider Within Temptation to be a metal band; I still consider their new material to be metal.) While I read angry comments concerning this on YouTube, all I could think of was "If I was in a band, I think I'd want to mix the sound up as we went on, too." Within Temptation's been around for over a decade; they can do whatever they want, in my book.

I've also seen this a lot with Evanescence since their albums tend to vary in sound (which is mainly due to lineup changes, and don't we all know that causes drama). "This isn't Evanescence anymore boohoo." Really, it isn't? Sure sounds like them to me. Isn't it awesome how they can make CD after CD and the songs are completely different? Or am I the only one that thinks that...? In this case, sometimes it's just a matter of getting new sets of songs from an artist that makes everyone have hissy fits.
Lady Gaga
She has even evolved visually!

Even the most popular woman in the world is sometimes criticized for evolving her sound. Occasionally people complain that Lady Gaga is too weird now and needs to return to her beginning stages of fame. Usually when people argue about an artist's evolution, they complain that they're less unique in comparison to how they started, but that doesn't apply in this case. Lady Gaga's first album, The Fame, was nice and everything, but it didn't have too many songs where you can say you've never heard anything like that before. Her music is now more artistic and has more variation, in my opinion. One thing that I think everyone can agree on is how much her voice has improved since her debut album, giving her new songs more power since her voice has more power.
And besides, do you really think Lady Gaga wants to act normal?

That is my point, ladies and gentlemen. At the end of the day, it's up to the artist and what they want to do. If they want to change the style of their music then they're free to do so. We as listeners and even fans cannot choose what our favorite bands and singers should do, only they can. It's their decision; it's their right. Have some respect.

Just because your favorite band sounds a bit different doesn't mean that they sold out. How would you like to perform the same old stuff all the time? Even if your favorite metal band "isn't metal anymore" in your opinion doesn't mean they've reverted to pop, because there are so many different types of metal! Plus, rock is still an existing genere. And quite frankly, it's possible to like the changes that they undergo. I do. It's all just evolution.