Synopsis: Bella struggles to regain control of her life while Edward tries to stay away from her to keep her safe.
Release Date: November 20, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
When Jacob Black (17-year old Taylor Lautner) takes off his shirt for the first time teenage girls literally faint and more than half of the theater audience can now be classified as cougars. I’m not attracted to guys, but one doesn’t have to be gay to admit, “Damn, that boy is stacked!” Not since Brad Pitt took off his shirt in 1991’s “Thelma & Louise” has a shirtless bod made such a lasting impression on pop culture. And yet, Lautner’s abs, a ridiculously attractive cast, some slightly improved special effects, nor turning up the volume of the pop soundtrack during action scenes can possibly save this movie from sucking. Sure the relationship between high school senior Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and heart throb vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) may be overly melodramatic, but that’s not the problem. The problem is there’s not enough of that cheese and rather the audience is tortured with a werewolf storyline that seems to drag on for Edward’s 109 year-old lifetime. Fans of the book will be quick to defend, but ladies, movies ain’t books. In this specific case, a faithful adaptation is more constraining than satisfying because the Bella-Jacob storyline seems to lack any real tension. Nothing really happens for the majority of the movie and so when something does, such as Bella racing to save Edward, we don’t really care. There’s plenty more wrong with the movie: ridiculous slow motion, cutting away too soon from potentially exciting scenes, laughable fading Edward holograms, etc., but I don’t want every “twi-hard” out there to hate me. The film compares the Bella/Edward relationship and the Vampire/Werewolf feud to “Romeo and Juliet” very early on. I’m no English professor, but I’m sure Shakespeare would agree with me: the only tragedy is one must wait 120+ minutes before the end credits begin to roll.
If anything can be blamed for this ultimately disappointing film, it would definitely be the writing. One can’t help but feel sorry for Kristen Stewart since she must recite lines such as, “They’re not bears, they’re wolves, like huge wolves!” Are we supposed to be watching a teenage melodrama or a campy comedy? Hokey lines of dialogue aside, and there’s plenty of them, the real problems lie in the actual story elements. None of the characters are true individuals, but rather annoying weaklings who can’t live without one another. Instead of idiosyncratic character details to help the audience empathize with the plights of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, we get over the top events instead such as Bella cliff diving or Edward’s attempt at suicide by revealing himself to the human race. I understand that the Twilight saga is set in high school, and I can still remember the whole “there’s no way I can live without you” mentality, but it takes great writing and true character development for an audience to relate to any world, including that of a teenager. Unfortunately there’s almost nothing in the screenplay that has us actually believe Bella’s love for Edward. As for the Bella and Jacob storyline, there’s no heated chemistry at all and therefore no tension. The reasoning behind this may be that Bella’s true love is Edward, but if the majority of this specific movie revolves around Jacob and Bella, someone better pull some sexual energy out his/her a%# and write some of it into the script because we only have two hours here. The aim might have been romantic, but due to bad lines, poorly developed characters, and a tension-free love triangle, the end result is two hours of boredom.
With a bigger budget, the special effects in the film have definitely improved over its predecessor. Edward’s glitter skin is subtler, Jacob jumping into Bella’s window is less comedic than Edward’s spider monkey skills, and the wolves look pretty cool. The wolves are obviously still CG though and so although better, the effects are far from being inspiring.
I belong to the camp that finds Ms. Stewart very attractive, and I’ve enjoyed her work in films like “Into the Wild” and this year’s “Adventureland”, so it sincerely pains me to say this, but her acting in “New Moon” is in a word, horrendous. Her character, Bella, starts having nightmares after Edward leaves. I’m not doubting how torturous those dreams may be, but I doubt they’re as nightmarish as having to watch Ms. Stewart’s over the top screaming in bed from one night to the next. One can’t help but mutter, “oh my”, in sheer flabbergasted blankness. And in one scene Bella mopes over Edward from October to December. We would feel for her if not for the fact she looks more drugged than depressed. The good news is that the movie does possess some decent acting from Dakota Fanning as the sadistic Jane and a great Michael Sheen as Aro. The bad news is that the Volturi vampires barely make an appearance, leaving Bella as prey to critics like myself. I fear I may have thrown any chance at a date with Ms. Stewart out the window, but oh well, preserving integrity is much more important, not to mention, far more realistic.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Chris Weitz
- Producer(s): Melissa RosenbergKristen Stewart (Bella)
- Screenwriter(s): Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen)Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black)Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen)
- Story: Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen)
- Cast: Peter LambertJavier AguirresarobeDavid Brisbin
- Editor(s): Tish Monaghan
- Cinematographer: Amexandre Desplat
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: MastersFX
- Casting Director(s): Tippett Studio
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA