Review — Our Two Cents
We tried putting it off. Tried to wait as long as we could before braving the crowds of fang-wearing tweens and middle-aged moms dragging their scowling significant others into the theater boasting the “New Moon” mylar. (We’re sorry, boyfriends and husbands. So sorry. We hope you at least got some after sitting through this dreck.) But we could only put it off so long. Living in different cities makes it difficult to coordinate outings such as this, so we had to take advantage of Thanksgiving weekend when we were both at home. We would have liked to put more time in between our viewing and the release of the second installment of the “Twilight Saga” (seriously, since when does it deserve “saga” status??), but since that wasn’t possible, we settled on a 10 p.m. showing on Saturday night. Thanks to Spider Monkey’s recent employment at the theater of choice, we scored a couple of free passes, and were ecstatic not to be contributing to the millions the film would be pulling in that second weekend. The theater was actually far emptier than we had anticipated, which was probably a good thing, since no one should voluntarily want to go see this film.
To review “New Moon,” we could easily just copy and paste most of our “Twilight” review, since they’re basically the same movie. Let’s be honest — “New Moon” is not really a “sequel” at all. It’s really just a reincarnation of the first film, with less of that weird blue tint and more Native Americans, who happen to turn into large wolves.
Bella and Edward are still pasty, angsty and in love at the beginning of the movie. Forks is still grey and wet. The plot is still nonexistent. Edward leaving Bella doesn’t seem like the heart-wrenching plot twist that it should, mostly because there doesn’t seem to be any chemistry between them anymore. Also, we’re still not convinced the two love birds can act.
Even though we had hopes that “Twilight” was a fluke and that, maybe, just maybe, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson actually had some talent, we were clearly mistaken. We could try to blame it on the terrible source material and painfully literal book-to-script adaptation by Melissa Rosenberg, but we can’t ignore the fact that KStew and RPattz still have trouble with rudimentary acting skills. You know, like evoking the right emotion at the right time – or, really, evoking any emotion at all. KStew’s angry, sad, frightened and in-love faces all resemble one another. The only facial expression she seems to have down pat is that one where she gnaws on her bottom lip and blinks far too much. Which, honestly, doesn’t do anything for us. RPattz, while nailing the crooked grin every now and again, varies from simply looking sickly to looking like he’s ready to laugh at himself and the ridiculous role he’s locked himself into for the rest of his life.
Taylor Lautner is the only main actor who seems believable as his character. He plays the spunky best friend falling in puppy love with Bella moderately well. Just like in the books, we don’t hate him. But we do hate the awkward shirtless-Indians-running-off-into-the-woods-in-the-rain scenes. What, are they gay werewolves now?
We also hate how blatantly obvious it is that director Chris Weitz was catering to the teenie-bopper crowd in making this film. There’s an unnecessary amount of scantily-clad, tanned, ripped boys. Most of them probably jailbait. Yes, we know that this is technically how Stephenie Meyer wrote it (shirtless young men running around town wearing nothing but cut-off shorts), but it was still a little bit overdone. And let’s not even go into Edward’s pasty, sparkly painted-on abs in Volterra…. Bahahahaha. Anyone who found this sexy should be committed.
And the script does nothing to help. The adaptation from book to screen is word-for-word in many instances. Which, in this case, is not a compliment at all. Pulling painful dialogue from the page and actually putting it into the actors’ mouths was a poor choice. Though, admittedly, the stuff that wasn’t directly from the books wasn’t much better. We nearly wet ourselves at the beginning, when Edward is breaking up with Bella, telling her he’s leaving, and she yells, “I’m coming!” To which Edward replies, “No! I don’t want you to come!” If that’s not a “That’s what she said” moment, we don’t know what is. And we reacted appropriately in the theater. … We’re mature. We swear.
Following so closely to the “plot” of the book just means that “New Moon” drags. And drags. We spend far too much time watching boring, quiet scenes where various people talk at each other. We lost interest so many times. The Destroying Angel wished more than once that her Sour Skittles contained alcohol. As it was, though, “New Moon” was giving her heartburn.
It was almost as if Weitz was aware of just how boring his ab-fest of a film was going to be. So he added in a lot of “extra” scenes, many of them trying to pass off as “action.” Perhaps this would have worked better if the scenes had been integrated more cleanly. And if the effects weren’t totally lame.
Since “Twilight” was such a box office smash, we assumed that “New Moon” would get a big enough budget to actually invest it in some of those werewolf transformation moments. … WRONG. The CGI in this film leaves a lot to be desired. The wolves are robotic-looking and not at all scary. The “hallucinations” Bella has of Edward are laughable. And we’re a little irked in general with the “fight” scene in Volterra that involves some high-flying wire action. This wasn’t anywhere in the book; not even close. And the action is so lame that it just hurts the film instead of enhancing it. We were hoping when Edward got that crack in his perfect cheek that he would explode into a pile of glitter. But, alas, we’re not that lucky.
But now for the positives. … Wait, are there any? Well, we suppose the Volturi are sufficiently creepy-looking with their red eyes and long greasy hair. With the exception of Caius – seriously, who invited post-Hogwarts Draco Malfoy into the heart of vampire-dom? The casting of Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen actually seem to work. Sheen plays Aro with the right amount of sickeningly sweet bravado, and Fanning is actually sort of chilling as Jane. Too bad their scenes are ruined by the fact that they also include Bella and Edward.
And, again, the soundtrack to this film is pretty awesome. Gah. WHY? Also, we got giddy at the end when Carlizzle is wearing not only a man scarf, but also a man cardigan (“mardigan”)!!! You rock our socks, Carlizzle.
We’d like to end this review with as dumb a line as the movie ended with. But how can we possibly beat a sparkly man taking five painful minutes to spit out the words “Marry me” to a girl who looks like she’s got something stuck in her eye? We can’t possibly deliver a better cliffhanger than that!
We don’t have any commentary yet for this movie, but we will eventually. (Ugh… that means we’ll have to watch it again, doesn’t it?)
For now, go on to the Little Things That Really Irk Us about this film.