The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon: As much as I giggled through Twilight, I full-on laughed for the entirety of New Moon. There was clearly a great effort to be as true to the book as possible, down to silly details like Jacob and Bella’s banter about their relative ages. This devotion to the source material does not do the plot any favors, of course. Bella treats Jacob abominably, and being the lovestruck teenager that he is, he just rolls over and takes it. Bella and Edward’s relationship has become more ardent but not any more believable. The audience is continually bashed over the head with Romeo & Juliet references. I suppose if I took the film at face value, with all its earnestly melodramatic angst, I would have thrown up my arms in disgust. However, I came in expecting an awesomely bad movie, and that’s exactly what I got.

Technically speaking, it’s a much better film than its predecessor. The CG wolves were both better and worse than I’d expected, occasionally impressing me with their convincing facial expressions but most of the time obviously not really there. The vampire sparkle effect was vastly improved over Twilight’s CG glitter lotion, which sadly only emphasized the silliness of the whole idea of sparkly vampires. The vampire make-up was better as well (though admittedly that’s not saying much): they appear to have learned a bit about blending at the jawline, but Edward really needs to ease up on the lipstick. The only truly terrible effect was the Edward hallucination, which came across alternately as creepy (full-body apparition Edward) and hilarious (floating head Edward) – but never convincing.

The acting skills of the principals haven’t improved much since Twilight. Kristen Stewart (Bella) continues to be twitchy and stuttery (though from watching interviews it seems this isn’t acting); Robert Pattinson (Edward) totally Shatnerizes most of his lines, most notably the very last one of the movie. Taylor Lautner is charming as Jacob and delivers his lines well, though he could use a couple more facial expressions to add to his repertoire. Luckily, the supporting cast is excellent almost without exception, and though they only have a couple of lines each, they really brighten the relatively few scenes that involve more people than the three main characters. The Volturi – the “vampire royalty” – were especially fun, if underused in favor of a prolonged fight scene in which Edward gets the crap kicked out of him. Aro in particular was awesome; I hope they film Breaking Dawn just so I can see him again. The Wolf Pack, on the other hand, were great fun as individuals, but whenever they appeared as a group I started having West Side Story flashbacks and expected them to start snapping their fingers menacingly.

In short: it’s awful and I love it and I have to see it again. I’m also looking forward to Eclipse next summer, for that’s when the Twilight Weirdness really kicks in, what with the imprinting and the newborn vampires and the disturbing back-stories and all. Should be good times.

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