The marketing machine behind The Twlight Saga: New Moon wants you to pick a corner. Are you repping Team Edward (the hunky vampire played by Robert Pattinson) or are you rooting for Team Jacob (the buffed up werewolf played by Taylor Lautner) as they vie for the affection of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart)? For a girl to have these two after her she mush be quite the catch right? Wrong. Bella has a personality that envies Peanut M&M’s, the enthusiasm of a date rape victim, and in is short the worst central character I have ever seen. Perhaps that’s a major influence on how I feel about this movie.
Known by most as New Moon, and based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer, this is the sequel to last year’s box office smash Twilight. It mostly concerns the continuing escapades of Bella Swan as she deals with high school life with her boyfriend who happens to be one of a few friendly neighborhood vampires. Edward comes to the conclusion that Bella is safer without him in her life, and so he leaves their small town in Washington. Deeply troubled by this Bella begins to rekindle her friendship with normal kids in town, primarily her best friend Jacob. Wouldn’t you know it, Jacob has a secret—he’s a werewolf. Meanwhile on planet Earth, Edward is having second thoughts about his split with Bella and considers suicide by revealing himself to humans, thus causing vampire monarchs to shred him apart.
Of course there are a myriad of questions to be raised regarding the dynamics of a world with vampires and werewolves, especially since these vampires are “immune” to sunlight and can endlessly repopulate their ranks. I’ll look past that because I enjoy movies with time traveling robots and spaceships with artificial gravity. My problem is that the tone is generally not well executed. It was a problem for the previous director and it carries over with the new chair Chris Weitz. Sure Weitz used some know how from The Golden Compass to breath new life into the special effects. He also made a good call in giving characters more realistic skin hues. However, underneath every scene of brooding teenage angst is an inopportune laugh. I found myself snickering at almost every line said by Bella. She talks like she’s just woken up and is trying to figure out what movie she’s in. When it’s not her fault, there is some contrived reason to see a young male go shirtless or walk in slow-mo. The same treatment to the opposite sex would be met with further ridicule, but for The Twilight Saga it’s both a comeuppance and a likely source of revenue.
Compared to the first foray, there are minor improvements. The werewolves look great at times, acceptable at other moments. The fight near the end was well choreographed. The plot actually started to get interesting near that point, which in the glass-half-empty frame of mind you could say that too much of the film was boring. My reach being what it is isn’t going to keep anyone out of the theatre for this one, so know that if you saw the first then you’ll be seeing a very similar movie this time. **