Entertainment :: Movies

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Friday Nov 20, 2009
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Taylor Lautner in "New Moon" - can you say woof?
Taylor Lautner in "New Moon" - can you say woof?  

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.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Bella Swan :: Kristen Stewart
Edward Cullen :: Robert Pattinson
Jacob Black :: Taylor Lautner
Jane :: Dakota Fanning
Caius :: Jamie Bower
Aro :: Michael Sheen
Laurent :: Edi Gathegi
Dr. Carlisle Cullen :: Peter Facinelli
Alice Cullen :: Ashley Greene
Esme Cullen :: Elizabeth Reaser
Jasper Hale :: Jackson Rathbone
Emmett Cullen :: Kellan Lutz
Rosalie Hale :: Nikki Reed
Victoria :: Rachelle Lefevre
Alec :: Cameron Bright
Sam Uley :: Chaske Spencer
Marcus :: Christopher Heyerdahl
Paul :: Alex Meraz
Jared :: Bronson Pelletier
Charlie :: Billy Burke
Jessica :: Anna Kendrick
Eric :: Justin Chon
James :: Cam Gigandet
Harry Clearwater :: Graham Greene

Director, Chris Weitz; Screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg; Executive Producer, Mark Morgan; Executive Producer, Greg Mooradian; Producer, Wyck Godfrey; Producer, Karen Rosenfelt; Executive Producer, Marty Bowen; Executive Producer, Guy Oseary; Production Design, David Brisbin; Cinematographer, Javier Aguirresarobe; Film Editor, Peter Lambert; Original Music, Alexandre Desplat; Casting, Joseph Middleton; Art Director, Catherine Ircha; Set Decoration, Lesley Beale; Costume Designer, Tish Monaghan.

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his husband and daughter in Dedham MA.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2009-11-22 01:09:51

    You need to read the books - as your comments seem to stem from lack of familiarity with the stories. I thought the acting was in keeping with what I read in the books and some constructive critiques rather than a pan of the movie would be better. New Moon follows the book much better than the first movie Twilight did and that’s what we, the obsessed readers, want to see. You don’t get it, do you. This movie series is all about conceptualization of the books. Too bad for the rest of you who haven’t read them. And for those of us who have, this movie was great. Lets remember, the book series is for young adult readers not adults who’s tastes run afoul of bad choices.


  • Anonymous, 2009-11-22 04:25:37

    I have read the series and think this movie was definately better than the first. I agree that the acting isn’t great but it’s an honest effort on all parts. I think Alice is terrific and Pattison and Stewart do what their supposed to be doing in keeping with the tenor of the books. Let’s keep in mind that the target audience is pre-teens and teens. For older, more mature viewers, it is a bit chaste but a decent love story all the same. Sometimes less really is more!


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