Friday, November 30, 2012

Movie Review: "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" by David Pretty

To me, the absolute worst thing you can say about a movie is that it's boring.  Bad I can take, as long as there's a modicum of amusement value.  Unfortunately, The Twilight Saga: New Moon is the equivalent of watching a glacier move.  I can't recall the last time I actually nodded off while watching a film at home and, let me tell ya, I've made it through a lot of dull-ass flicks.

As I said in my Twilight review I was willing to give these movies a shot just based on their popularity.  At first I was pleasantly surprised with the first film's budding sense of mystery as Bella and Edward got to know one another.  I was also pleased by the indie-sensibilities of director Catherine Hardwicke, who brought an artistic eye to the composition.  Although gaping holes in logic and storytelling caused things to unravel somewhat in the second half, the film was still reasonably salvageable.

Then along comes New Moon, the cinematic interpretation of the saga's second book and sweet jeezum crow does it ever suck.  Now, I know I'm not the target audience for this sort of thing but I would gladly watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked over re-watching this under-baked hunk of garbage ever again. 

So here's the "plot": on the occasion of her eighteenth birthday Bella (Kristen Stewart) becomes paranoid that Edward (Robert Pattinson) will always look as if he's seventeen while she's eventually going to look all gross and forty.  I think a much more interesting conundrum is how a being who's over one-hundred years old can possibly find a callow teenage girl to be so fascinating.  But I guess that's up to higher authorities to answer.  Like Hugh Hefner.   

Anyhoo, during a birthday party organized by the Cullen clan Bella cuts herself while opening her gift and Edward's younger brother tries to eat her.  OMG, awkward!  Wisely, Edward decides that having a human girlfriend hanging around a group of blood-sucking in-laws is akin to leaving a Beggin' Strip-cloaked pot roast dangling around in a room full of Rottweilers.  So he unceremoniously dumps her and the entire vampire family disappears not long after.  Man, talk about severing ties.    

This leaves Bella sullen, cranky and despondent, er...even more then usual.  Months creep by (in both the story and what feels like actual screen time) until she starts hanging out with the be-mulleted Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who turns out to be a werewolf.  This revelation inevitably puts Bella in danger, which suddenly and inexplicably allows her to see fleeting images of her beloved Edward.  Uh-huh

Desperate to see her plasma-deprived beau once again, Bella begins to flirt with the possibility of suicide but regrettably she never quite succeeds.  After Edward is led to believe that his one true love is dead, he goes to Italy (?) to try and convince the elder vampire statesmen, the *yawn* Volturi, to let him follow her into the afterlife.  Naturally Bella somehow gets wind of this and tries to rescue him. 

They manage to prevent Edward from turning himself into a briquette but now the Volturi are super-pissed that Bella knows the secret of the vampires and demands that she...HEY!!!  Are you still reading this?  Really?  Why?!?  I'M not reading it and I'm TYPING it, fer Crissakes.  Seriously, gone are the artistic flourishes that made the first film half-way palatable.  Gone is any hint of mystery and discovery.

Also clearly absent is the participation of the actors.  Kristen Stewart has doubled her repertoire of expressions from one to two: alternating between focused intent (likely achieved by some sort of self-inflicted head trauma) or borderline panic (produced via the same procedure but with a brow-wrinkling twist).  Her line deliveries betray pure boredom with Bella's self-indulgence and she spends the lion's share of the film hunched over, scowling or rolled up into a ball.

L'il Cedric Diggory doesn't fare very well either, especially considering that he's virtually awash in pancake flour, lip gloss and enough hair gel to constitute a walking fire hazard.  Most of the time he looks like Marge from The Simpsons after Homer blasted her in the face with the makeup gun set to "whore".  Every time he appeared on screen I thought that a pouting vortex was going to cause his head to implode. 

Like the old saying goes "while the vamp's away the wolf will play" so Taylor Lautner gets a chance to shine a bit here.  Honestly he seems like a genuinely decent kid but the character of Jacob is completely and totally vacuous.  All that seems to matter is that you could conceivably grate a brick on his abs.

Although the run time of this thing is hideously protracted it still feels as if large chunks of the story were excised from the final reel in editing.  Why is everyone suddenly in Italy and how did they all get there?  Where did the sports car come from?  What the heck do these Volturi guys have to do with anything? There is absolutely nothing original or inventive here as it relates to the vampire vs. lycanthrope myth.

On top of all this we get this most ridiculous ending possible with Edward promising to turn Bella into a vampire if she agrees to marry him.  What the fuck??!  These are supposed to be VAMPIRES, people! Remember vampires?  Rip-yer-fuckin'-jugular-vein-out vampires?

Seriously, I have no friggin' clue what the appeal is here.  If your kids are hankering for some quality vampire-human relationship stories with some rich and clever world-building then steer them towards Buffy and Angel.  At least that way they'll be watching something that sucks in a good, traditional, neck-chompin' vampiry kinda way.

  Tilt: down.

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