I saw the first Twilight movie on DVD at home. I’m glad I did because somehow its shortcomings were more forgivable in the comfort of my lounge. Having seen New Moon, the second in the vampire romance series based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer, in a cinema, the feebleness of the franchise was glaringly visible up there on the big screen.
New Moon kicks off from where we last left emo teen Bella (Kristen Stewart). She’s in love with a gorgeously moody vampire named Edward (Robert Pattinson) and although she’s been accepted by his adoptive vampire family, it’s still not easy dating a bloodsucker. There’s the problem of his siblings uncontrollably trying to rip out your jugular for lunch and the fact that other evil vampires are determined to kill you in order to get their revenge on Edward and his clan. To add to the poor girl’s emotional turmoil a handsome werewolf who’s loyal, kind and built like an Adonis comes into the picture. What’s a girl to do?
And that really sums up New Moon. It consists largely of the annoyingly inarticulate Bella being emotionally torn between two beautiful men. It’s hard to describe how irritating I found the self-absorbed character of Bella. She looks despondent, she looks confused, she looks forlorn, she sighs dejectedly and then she mopes some more.
I can’t remember the last time a film’s leading character was so unlikable and un-engaging. It’s hard to tell if this is the fault of Stewart, director Chris Weitz, or the writers, but they all conspire to create a thoroughly dull persona. God only knows why any self-respecting vampire, werewolf or even human would fall for this miserable waif.
Pattinson doesn’t fare much better. In this case I suspect it’s largely because he has little to work with. The camera still loves this man – the lens seemingly desperate to ravage him – but he has much less screen time than in the first movie and his character doesn’t change or grow at all.
Then there’s Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. In much the same way that Twilight saw Pattinson break out as an international sex symbol, Lautner is this film’s revelation. And not only because he’s shockingly hunky for a 17 year old and spends the entire movie shirtless – but because he manages to generate some real onscreen excitement with a warm and likeable performance. He seems like the only alive character up there. You will most likely fall madly in love with his Jacob Black.
Towards the end of New Moon, something call a plot suddenly kicks in and, for the first time, there’s a sense of urgency as Bella must travel to Europe to save Edward – despite being grounded by her equally pitiful sheriff dad. In Italy we meet some new kinds of vampires, which add a little more detail and interest to the bloodsuckers’ world, but it all comes too late.
To get to that moment we must also endure inept special effects (think cartoon-style werewolves) cringingly awful slow motion sequences (the audience laughed at times) and truly abysmal dialogue:
Bella: So…you’re a werewolf?
Jake: Last time I checked.
Bella: Can’t you find a way to…just stop?
Jake: It’s not a lifestyle choice, Bella.
New Moon might make for a good date movie if you’re a soppy kind of guy or if you’ve just broken up with your boyfriend, but to enjoy it you’ll have to check your brain at the door and revert back to your hormonally unbalanced teenage days. If you’re an adult who doesn’t enjoy weepy chick flicks, then move along. There’s nothing to see here.
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