Much of what’s wrong with New Moon seems tracable to director Chris Weitz. In the view of L.A. Times critic Kenneth Turan, Weitz is a “polished” and “smooth professional who makes the vampire trains of Melissa Rosenberg‘s capable script run on time, but he almost seems too rational a director for this kind of project. This lack of animating madness combined with the novel’s demands give much of New Moon a marking-time quality.”
It was precisely this animating madness, a kind of “crazy-in-love energy” that made Twilight work as well as it did, Turan believes. (As do I.) All of this seemed to come from original director Catherine Hardwicke, whom Turn calls “a filmmaker of intense, sometimes overwhelming and out of control emotionality who seemed to feel these teenage characters in her bones.”
The reason Weitz recently told Moviemaker magazine that he might hang it up before too long, or so I suspect, is that deep down he knows he dropped the ball and screwed the pooch. “I still feel that I’m learning,” he says, “and yet I also feel that the number of aspects that go into making a film of the sort that I’m making now have become so multifold that it’s really exhausting.
“Every time I make a movie I’m pretty much convinced it’s the last time I’m going to be able to do it and that really it’s a rather silly occupation to undertake. But I think I have maybe one more film in me.”
He also talks about wanting to “learn to be a better surfer,” and “learn to speak Spanish fluently…I’d like to travel around, live in Italy; I’d like to learn kung fu…It’s nice to make movies, but it’s also really hard.”
Weitz is also talking about the arduous making of The Golden Compass, and how his New Line cinema bosses were awful to deal with and how the failure of that film kind of broke his spirit. But his more recent New Moon experience is obviously weighing on his mind right now, and we all know that people don’t talk about wandering around Europe and eating elegant dinners at sunset and becoming better surfers unless their souls are in need of healing.