The Twilight Saga: New Moon
OK, let’s just get the predictable stuff out of the way. The second installment of Stephanie Meyer’s beloved Twilight series is just an awkward fit on film as the first... that is, unless you’re a teenage girl or a gay man. The plot is slim, the acting only moderately good, and the pace of the film is... well, brooding. It’s full of angst, and for a sultry vampire movie, it steers clear of both sex and blood - hardly thrilling to the older set (and I mean 20 and up).
But then, Taylor Lautner arrives to save the day.
Were it not for Lautner and his fellow Native American werewolves, the film might have felt like a drawn-out repeat of the first film, minus exposition. Bella (Kristen Stewart) remains hooked on Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his elegantly-coiffed, gold-eyed family of bloodsuckers - except as mentioned we oddly never see them suck any blood. The closest they come is when Edward’s brother goes on a tear after Bella’s throat when she accidentally gets a paper cut. After this incident, Edward decides he’s not a good influence on Bella, and the Cullens up and leave. Bella then begins an agonizingly long mourning period, punctuated by extraordinarily artful camera moves, doleful pop music, and pages and pages of exceedingly dull dialogue.
Bella does manage to discover that, when she performs reckless acts, she sees Edward in some sort of hazy visions; apparently that’s enough to convert her into a massive thrill-seeker. Of course, her version of thrill-seeking includes taking an impromptu ride on a Harley with a dangerous-looking stranger and cliff-jumping into the ocean, which presumably are the only thrilling things to do in Forks, Washington. She finally decides to renovate some mountain bikes (don’t ask, just roll with it) and conscripts suddenly-buff Jacob Black (Lautner) into assisting her. He does so by smiling winsomely and occasionally whipping off his shirt to show her his ripping new musculature (to the gratified sighs of gays and pubescent girls everywhere). But Jacob has a secret too. (Spoiler alert, for those who have been studying the ways of Rinpoche in Tibet and haven’t been permitted to watch television, read magazines, or surf the net). He’s a werewolf. Of course, this version of werewolves includes a pack of hot, older teenaged boys running around with no shirts, occasionally transforming into oversized wolves, and chasing vampires around the woods. They don’t hurt people - at least, not intentionally.
The film picks up a little steam once the non-romance between Bella and Jacob gets steamy, but then we’re off to Italy, where Edward has become embroiled in an argument with the evil Volturi (translation: vampires who actually do nasty things like suck blood) and Bella runs headlong into an Italian square to complete the emotional circle that thrusts her into a true love triangle.
Look: "New Moon" is just not a great movie. But let’s face it: Stephenie Meyer has the swooning girls/gay boys market locked up. It matter not who directs the film; Chris Weitz does a credible job here, but his only real requirements were to elevate the pulses of the audience via Lautner’s biceps, Pattinson’s good looks and Stewart’s passion for both, while keeping the material entirely chaste. It’s cheesy, silly, and unforgivably erotic; that won’t satisfy those of you who prefer to stay home and watch porn, but if you’re a romantic at heart who doesn’t mind shelling out $12 to watch a couple of adolescent boy hotties strut their stuff, you might as well just go and enjoy the eye candy. ’Cause it’s kind of worth it.