It's been one year since Twilight was released to the world and I think it's safe to say it was a hit. Not unlike the never ending Saw franchise, Twilight is looking to capitalize on its present popularity by pumping out as many sequels as quickly as it possibly can (the third film is set to release in only seven months). Hopefully we won't get to the sixth installment in this one.
For now, though, we have to contend with New Moon (which is stupidly preceded by The Twilight Saga, as if we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into), and it is wretched. It is nothing more than 130 minutes of swooning, longing, lustful desire that should be laughable to anybody already out of high school, but for some reason is not. Hordes of women across the country have latched onto this tedious series that I'm comfortable ranking as one of the worst cultural phenomenons of all time.
New Moon begins with a dream sequence where we learn that Bella (Kristen Stewart) is afraid of getting old because her newfound love Edward (Robert Pattinson), being a vampire and all, will stay forever young. She fears that he won't love her when she is old and wrinkly. This becomes an overarching motif throughout the movie because she wants to be turned into a vampire, though Edward refuses because he is afraid her soul will be damned to hell for all eternity (or some nonsense like that). It is Bella's birthday and she is over at Edward's house celebrating. While there, she cuts herself and starts to bleed. One of Edward's family members attacks her, but Edward thinks quick and saves her. Fearful of what could have happened, he leaves the area and Bella behind, telling her that she will never see him again. It will be as if he never existed.
Meanwhile, she kindles a relationship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), but she is seeing apparitions of Edward. Before he left, he made her promise that she wouldn't do anything reckless, so every time she is faced with danger, he appears and tells her what to do. How he's doing this is never explained, but isn't it just so adorable how he can inexplicably manipulate space and time to emotionally control Bella? Aww, how sweet.
The thing about last year's Twilight was that it was bad, but it wasn't a disaster. At least it was competent enough to stand on its own two feet. New Moon, on the other hand, is not. This is an awful angst ridden "pity me" film where the characters egocentrically sulk over their problems as if nothing bad has ever happened to anyone. So Bella and her boyfriend broke up. Boo hoo.
That said, I know I'm not in the demographic for this film. This one is definitely for the ladies. You wouldn't believe the shrieks that came from the audience when Jacob first walked onscreen. I'm pretty sure I missed dialogue due to the fits of uncontrollable adoration.
This didn't bother me, though, because I've said many times that women should be allowed to stare all googly eyed at men in movies. We males get to all the time because women always seem to be taking their clothes off in Hollywood. They bare it all. Men hardly do and you know what? They should. It's not fair. New Moon more than delivers on this unfairness. It doesn't go the full nudity route (damn PG-13 rating!), but it gives the ladies an ample amount of ripped ads (and one very weird looking nipple) to weaken over.
However, the bareness that the characters expose in this movie doesn't happen for any reason other than to please the ladies. It becomes a distraction and that is unacceptable. One early scene shows Bella falling off a motorcycle and cutting her head. At this point, a rotating disco ball may as well have dropped from the sky and bumping techno should have blasted through the speakers because Jacob walks up to her and rips his shirt off to tend to her wound because, naturally, an entire shirt is the only way to cover a minor injury.
The gratuitous skin showing was enough to tip my opinion negative, but when you have dialogue that sounds like it was ripped directly from a daytime soap opera (and yes ladies, that is a bad thing), you have an irredeemable movie. To borrow a quote from my critic friend Brandon Fibbs on his feelings after walking out of New Moon, "I was struck by the odd sensation that I was suddenly living in an alternate universe where the world was peopled by vampires and the movie we'd just seen was their version of Days of our Lives." Oh yes, Mr. Fibbs was not exaggerating. With lines like, "The only thing that can hurt me is you," New Moon shoots lower than low. It takes an already insipid story and creates an even more insipid screenplay out of it.
My buddy, who I somehow convinced into going to this movie with me, had not seen the first film and asked me a few questions in preparation. When I explained to him that these vampires don't die in sunlight, but only sparkle and that Edward only goes to school during overcasts, he gave me a look of abhorrence, as if a light went off in his brain and he realized that he was about to sit through what could be one of the dumbest movies of the year, and he responded with only a cockeyed, "Really?" I could only smile knowing that I had suckered my friend into wasting his night away with me. I almost feel bad.
But then I think of all the laughs we got from it and my conscience gets wiped clean. This movie features endless unintentional humor in the form of the characters lovingly staring into each others' eyes and saying authoritatively, "Kiss me," which elicited tears from the easily amused fans, but guffaws from the people who could separate quality from garbage like this.
With poor acting, a stupid werewolf/vampire/human love triangle and chemistry that's as authentic as a Sean Hannity newscast, New Moon is about as fun as chewing on razorblades.
New Moon receives 1/5