Reviews

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Reviewed by: Ed Douglas
Rating:
4 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here


Cast:
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen
Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black
Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen
Jackson Rathbone as Jasper Whitlock
Michael Sheen as Aro
Dakota Fanning as Jane
Jamie Campbell Bower as Caius
Christopher Heyerdahl as Marcus
Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen
Anna Kendrick as Jessica
Michael Welch as Mike
Justin Chon as Eric
Christian Serratos as Angela
Christina Jastrzembska as Gran
Billy Burke as Charlie Swan
Daniel Cudmore as Felix
Charlie Bewley as Demetri
Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria
Elizabeth Reaser as Esme Cullen
Kellan Lutz as Emmett Cullen
Nikki Reed as Rosalie Hale
Chaske Spencer as Sam Uley
Gil Birmingham as Billy Black
Graham Greene as Harry Clearwater
Michael Adamthwaite as Chet
Kiowa Gordon as Embry Call
Tyson Houseman as Quil Ateara
Alex Meraz as Paul
Bronson Pelletier as Jared
Edi Gathegi as Laurent
Tinsel Korey as Emily

Directed by Chris Weitz

Summary:

Despite the change in director and the addition of some stronger actors, "New Moon" isn't just more of the same; at times, it's even more grueling than the first movie. The sporadic action and decent FX do make up for it, but only barely.

Story:

After an unfortunate incident at the 18th birthday party for Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), her immortal vampire lover Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his family leave Forks, Washington, leaving the miserable girl pining for him. Over the next few months, she starts spending more time with her Native-American friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) to help get over her loss only to learn that the boy also has a supernatural secret.

Analysis:

As with any sequel, such as this anticipated second installment in Stephenie Meyer's supernatural teen romance, one needn't worry whether the movie lives up to the book or not, especially if like me, you've never read it and have no intentions of ever doing so. No, the real question on the minds of fan and detractor alike is whether the second movie helmed by Chris Weitz can improve upon the first movie's obvious flaws and whether having gotten introductions and general set-up out of the way, the story can be taken in a more interesting direction a second time around.

You probably needn't have read the book to know the general plot of the sequel by now, but it opens with Bella worrying about aging while being romantically involved with an immortal vampire. Edward refuses to change her, and an incident at a birthday party thrown for Bella's birthday reminds us all why vampires and humans shouldn't mix. Edward and his family leave Forks, Washington in order to protect Bella from themselves. After months of hiding out in her house moping over the break-up, Bella starts hanging out with her Native American friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who also has fallen in love with her, and she starts being more reckless, after realizing that she has visions of Edward whenever she's in danger, one of the ideas introduced in "New Moon" that reinforces the idea that author Stephenie Meyers is literally throwing every idea she has at the wall to see if any of it sticks.

The writing is godawful, trite cliché ridden, and not even up to the par of most soap operas, and despite his "American Pie" roots, Weitz doesn't have Hardwicke's chops at pulling strong performances out of the cast of young actors. One might excuse some of it, since Weitz was essentially stuck with the cast hired by Hardwicke for her film, a similar challenge faced by the various directors of the "Harry Potter" series who actually worked harder to turn that cast into great actors, but Weitz isn't able to get any of the leads to step up their game even a little from the first movie.

The grueling pace of all the incessant and mostly unnecessary exposition and drama might not be so bad if Kristen Stewart could pull any of it off with even the slightest amount of emotion. Instead, we have to endure over two hours of her moping, mumbling lines through gritted teeth in the same bored monotone she seems to be incapable of getting away from, putting big gaps in every statement in order to try to give them weight. Pattinson's presence in the movie at the beginning, end and in Bella's visions, mainly consists of him standing around with an ever-present smirk, casually delivering a few lines with very little gusto. In just two movies, he's been relegated to eye candy for teen girls to swoon over rather than a character anyone else could truly care about.

Taylor Lautner wasn't very good in his small role in the first movie, but his role has been expanded to create another leg in Bella's supernatural love triangle. It's more than a little odd when we see the long-haired Jacob cozying up with Bella at a movie theater then a few minutes later, he's sporting cropped hair, walking around shirtless (as he'll be for the rest of the movie) and looking and acting completely different. We have absolutely no idea how much time has passed, but apparently, it's been months, something we learn in conversation about how Jacob has fallen in with a bad seed from his tribe named Sam who is leading a band of werewolves in a crusade against vampires who breach their treaty by entering Forks.

While not even mentioned in the first movie, the shirtless Wolf Pack are everywhere in the sequel, as they try to protect Forks from all these invading vampires. Fortunately, they look far more menacing in their wolf form than any of the vampires, but the action choreography is weak and sloppy, not that we spend more than a few minutes in action mode, before we're right back to more talking and exposition.

The film gets infinitely more interesting when Bella travels to Italy to stop the despondent Edward from committing suicide after he thinks Bella has been killed, allowing us to admire the strongest additions to the cast: Michael Sheen as the head of the Volturi, sort of a vampire Pope at the head of a vampire Mafia, while Dakota Fanning is particularly underused, saying a few lines and showing her powers then done. Who knows why the talented actress thought that was a good career move after starring as the lead in countless movies? Neither of them have very much to do until roughly the last half hour of the movie, but they're easily a leap above the rest of the cast.

In trying to remain faithful to the source material, "New Moon" allows for a lot of unnecessary fat in the storytelling. Rachel LeFevre's Victoria is back so briefly, going after Bella now that the Cullens aren't around to protect her, that one wonders why she's even in the movie. (She's actually quite good in those brief moments, so why is she being replaced for the third movie?) The cast was already fairly unwieldy for the first movie, and the amount of time Bella spends with her human friends does nothing for the overall story, except to add some weak comic relief, which feels completely out of place with the dark romantic tone of the rest of the movie. Because the story is meant to be about the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob, there is no need for another love interest to be introduced as Bella's friend Mike also spends much of the movie looking at her all moon-eyed. One starts to wonder whether the blatant "Romeo and Juliet" references early in the movie are meant as a boast about Meyers replacing Shakespeare's classic love story in young girls' hearts?

To her credit, Hardwicke created a gorgeous looking movie that greatly took advantage of the Vancouver locations where it was shot, and the music was used well. While "New Moon" has an impressive soundtrack album, most of the pop-rock tunes don't mesh as well with the visuals or what is taking place in the story, making it clear that Weitz may not have been the best match for the franchise.

To add insult to injury, we don't even get an entire story; like in Weitz's "The Golden Compass," the movie ends with a cliffhanger. Not that any of the fans will care since they'll patiently wait the seven months for the continuation whether they like this installment or not.

The Bottom Line:

Like "Twilight," the sequel alternates between grueling amounts of bad dialogue and silly humor for the teen set, and except for a few moments involving the werewolves and the Volturi, it's fairly dismissible drivel whose popularity among seemingly smart young women will forever elude anyone else.

| 13 comments | Add a comment

Comments

Posted by: Eo on November 20, 2009 at 19:16:26

I've been pretty dissapointed with this site lately..i love it and come to it everyday, but the news has been weak and the reviews sub par..i dont want to give up on you shock but when i see you post reviews for a movie made for teenage girls...i start to lose hope...
Why would you post a review for this movie??


Posted by: A True Horror Fan on November 21, 2009 at 00:26:17

I think Jeff Allard's heart is crushed right about now!. It's okay Jeff, just watch "The Box" again!.


Posted by: Mike237 on November 21, 2009 at 12:10:31

Eo is totally right. Shock shouldn't even be mentioning this crap. Do you review Goosebumps books too? Twilight is badly written crap for twelve-year-old girls. You guys are better than this...and 4 is about 4 too high a rating.
We expect better guys...


Posted by: ??? on November 22, 2009 at 02:49:53

this is ****ty it should be 2 stars


Posted by: Kemp on November 22, 2009 at 09:40:15

OK, first of all, although the Twilight Saga is classified as young adult, there are many women and men older than 12 who read the books. YES, I said MEN. Second, I am a huge fan(if you couldn't tell) and I hate this movie. There are so many things they could have done differently to make the story flow more evenly and make sense to people who "have no intentions to read the book." I never wanted to see these books come to the screen because I knew that time would not be taken to properly formulate the books into movies. I'm 20 years old and I would have gladly waited 10 years to see a good adaptation than 1 year to see a piss poor take like this.


Posted by: mike on November 22, 2009 at 11:16:05

Wtf Ed Douglas u suck so bad this movie kicked a$$ so shove u rating up ur effin a$$! F-U-C-K you u stupid a$$hole.


Posted by: djblack1313 on November 22, 2009 at 14:40:31

mike, i agree w/ you. i REALLY liked this movie. Kemp, i've never read the books and the story flowed just fine for me. i knew enough for me to enjoy the flick. the werewolves parts were actually some of my favorite parts. with the sound FX and when seen in context, their scenes were VERY intense and cool! and the entire Volturi parts were EXCELLENT. Michael Sheen, as usual, was spot on perfect! for those on the fence on whether to see this, this is MUCH more action-y. it didn't drag AT ALL. i admit the acting (even though i like all the players) was iffy, though.


Posted by: kelly on November 23, 2009 at 11:48:55

They aren't werewolves they are shapeshifters. They change with mood not the moon.

Loved this film just like i imagined while reading the book. Very close to the book but i think they did miss bits out that would explain some more for non twi-hards.


Posted by: ravenlord on November 23, 2009 at 14:43:26

Well Mr. Douglas were you really surprised at the quality of the movie?

It's obviously an age and pop culture thing. As a discerning adult you don't really understand the pull that certain things have with younger generations. It's like going back and watching your favorite shows or cartoons from when you were a kid and seeing the flaws and mistakes in them now that you're a more learned adult. When you were a kid those things hit a chord with you so you enjoyed them. Even with age regardless of those flaws you still enjoy the silly campiness of it all because it brings back good memories.

While I completely agree with everything you've said about the quality of this movie and the source materials it's based on this is just a sign that you and I are getting older. We can't help but be a little jaded about youth. I think the only clencher here is that someone like Stephenie Meyers beat us to the punch by cashing in on today's teen angst. Too bad we didn't think about writing our own crappy teen vampire series.

Maybe we should come up with something else to cash in on all the teen monster romances? How bout a love triangle story with a teen descendant of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Swamp Thing's grandson and the local high school hick girl from Alabama? Sounds like a solid gold hit to me!!! LOL


Posted by: frankiebigs78 on December 1, 2009 at 11:18:31

The only sad part of all this hoopla isn't the movies, the books, or the teens and adults that watch them, it's the fact that in today's society it's just as cool and acceptable to hate something that's really popular as it is to like something that's really popular. People don't want to give Twilight a chance and actually look at them from an unbiased point of view, but rather people only hear bits and pieces about a different take on a very classic story and take every oppertunity they can grasp to ***** and moan about constantly. It's not just the teens that like this stuff that need to grow up....it's also the adults that hate on this stuff that need to grow up.


Posted by: Justin D. on December 29, 2009 at 14:44:56

Hey frankiebigs78, nice attempt at trying to expose some kind of hidden agenda by the masses to go out of their way to criticize and hate on a fad just because its a fad, but lets call a spade a spade shall we. The series is poorly written hog swallop conceived by an author that has admitted to knowing nothing about the creatures that she's using. Yes, a select few adults read the series but the majority of the fans - based on book and ticket sales - are girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Twilight is not good. It will never be good. I watched the first movie and have hated the series ever since. I used to like vampires but now I wish they would take a long walk through the park in the daylight. My girlfriend read the first book to see what all the hype was about and was mad the whole while reading it. I could sit here and list for you every reason why it was bad but that would be fruitless. Fanboyism runs through your veins and nothing can save you from it. You say the haters need to grow up? I think the adult readers you mention need to grow up. That way they can differentiate Mormon allegory and sophomoric ideals of "love" from true romance. As for some of the earlier comments; I agree. This site is above reviewing slop like this. It's not horror. It doesn't even have real vampires or werewolves in it. You know what this movie is? Bad comedy.


Posted by: Ray Rubio on December 30, 2009 at 18:16:06

New moon is not a movie
that im really interested
in, however due to the huge
financial success of the
previous sequel, we cant
ignore this one from a critic
point of view and see what
the director did right and what
wrong.

Ray
http//latestmoviereleases-ray.com


Posted by: Agent_Valentine on January 17, 2010 at 16:28:41

Why is this on a horror movie website? Ugh. Twilight makes me vomit in my mouth. Actually everywhere else for that matter.


Add a comment

Name:   

 

E-mail:   

 

Comments:   

 

Security Code:   

 

 
 

 Remember my name/e-mail address