Friday, November 20, 2009
Review: "The Twilight Saga: New Moon"
What's more stressful than dating a vampire? Being dumped by one.
That's the premise of the sequel to "Twilight," the movie about a girl who falls in love with a nosferatu.
In "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is abandoned by undead love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who leaves with his family of fellow vampires because they decide that the tiny town of Forks, Washington has become too dangerous for them.
Bella predictably pouts and even wakes up screaming in the night, the pain from having lost Edward is so bad. Fortunately, there's a hunky new man-child around to offer comfort and a very broad shoulder to cry on.
In the first movie, Jacob Black was a slightly nerdy 15-year-old American Indian who helped clue Bella in to the fact that Edward and the other Cullens are vampires (although the "vegetarian" kind that only dines on animals, not humans). Now he returns as a heavily-muscled hunk who woos Bella persistently. He also has a habit of turning into a wolf, part of the vampire-hunting tradition of his tribe.
At the "New Moon" screening I attended, the audience was filled with lots of teen-age girls but also plenty of their middle-aged moms, who cooed appreciatively whenever Lautner's frequently shirtless, chiseled torso appeared onscreen.
Lautner himself said he put on 30 pounds of muscle in just eight weeks before the filming of "New Moon" started. Call me a steroid conspiracist, but such things simply do not happen naturally. Lautner's transformation is equivalent to a starlet pressured into getting oversized breast implants so she can land better roles.
The acting of Stewart and Lautner hasn't improved since the first movie, and Pattinson is absent from most of the movie, except for some visions that appear in Bella's head. New director Chris Weitz (taking over for Catherine Hardwicke) has a better flair for the action scenes, which are more frequent, too.
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg hasn't gotten any better at fixing author Stephanie Meyer's clunky dialogue, such as: "Carlisle told me how you feel about your soul."
Still, all things considered "New Moon" is an improvement over the original film, which was draggy and dreary. The werewolf plot is pretty interesting, especially Jacob's ambivalent feelings about his newfound powers.
If you're expecting a huge throw-down between Edward and Jacob, you're apt to be disappointed. Yes, Edward reappears near the end of the film, which leaves the love triangle slightly unresolved: Bella's heart is with the vampire, but she clearly has feelings for the wolf-boy.