Directed by Chris Weitz
Written by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick
Running time: 130 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (violence and action)
Well, folks, it’s finally here. The movie that ravenous Twilight fans, Robert Pattinson-aholics, teenage girls and apparently suburban moms alike have been awaiting with bated breath.
It’s time for New Moon.
The Twilight Saga has become a full-fledged, international phenomenon. Kind of like the Backstreet Boys or the Macarena. Twilight is massively popular and raked in the most money in terms of dvd sales this year, but it’s also one of those phenomena that lack the universal appeal of, say, Harry Potter. Despite the limited demographic and even though substantial mockage has been made of the Twilight Phenom (check out the awesome SNL Parody starring a brunette Taylor Swift in “Firelight“), it’s an international blockbuster – and the legions of fans busting down doors at midnight tonight and all day tomorrow care not what the cynical critics say! It’s New Moon! Shirtless underage boys on steroids! Chalky emo vampires with bad contact lenses, sparklies, and pixie hair! Cheesetastic lines about endearing, all consuming love!
Now while I’m obviously not a huge fan (Breaking Dawn was amazingly terrible), I’ll grant that Twilight has its own appeal. It’s one of those guilty pleasure, silly, I-probably-shouldn’t-be-watching-this-but-I-can’t-look-away films. So far as adolescent vampire love story films go, Twilight is an entertaining as they come. When I was lucky enough to get invited to watch an early screening of New Moon, I experienced a strange mixture of emotions. My hopes weren’t high by any stretch of the imagination – but I was expecting to be entertained, even if it was on a guilty pleasure level.
Sadly, New Moon just isn’t a very good movie. On any level.
At just over a draggy two hours, New Moon has some moments of intentional humor and genuine sweetness, but these are far and few between – not to mention, they are overshadowed by poor pacing, shoddy direction, and an abundance of unintentionally hilarity.
After a comically bugeyed Jasper (audiences burst into laughter at his “serious face” – no joke):
attacks Bella when she cuts herself opening a birthday present at the Cullens’, Edward decides that woah woah woah, this relationship is waaaaay too dangerous, so he tells Bella that this will be the last time she ever sees him. He lies and says that he’s bored with her and that he’s moving on without her (psh). Bella goes catatonic after the love of her life (at all of eighteen years old!) leaves her, and she has weird bouts of screaming in her sleep, gasping, sighing, morosely staring out her french windows as Chris Weitz decides to use awkwardly dizzying 360 camera techniques to illustrate the passage of time.
Doormat Bella never really gets over Edward leaving – though she does come to rely on best friend Jacob (a ridiculously ripped Taylor Lautner). After he helps Bella to feel human again, promising that he’ll never hurt her the way Edward did, OMG he turns into a werewolf (the curse of his clan, charged with protecting the innocent humans of Forks from the vampires that prey upon them). Jacob’s refusal to talk to Bella leads her to relapse into her funk – and she soon discovers that by taking idiotic, suicidal risks, she’s “gifted” with misty apparitions of her beloved Edward (giving her the very helpful advice “BE SAFE,” and other insipid cautionary remarks before dissolving into inky swirls of poorly CGI’d smoke). Bella eventually takes it too far, jumping off a cliff (for the ultimate rush, ya know), and via Alice’s visions, Edward thinks Bella has died, and decides to go off on a half cocked plan to reveal himself to humans in Italy, provoking the Volturi (a big bad association of vampire granddaddies) to kill him too. Only, Bella didn’t die when she jumped off the cliff, so she and Alice rush to Italy to stop Edward before it is TOO LATE.
Where do I begin with the problems New Moon had? Should I start with the hollow performances, even from the lovely Kristen Stewart (who is a fine actress, but feels sadly drab in this film)? The laugh-inducing choices for certain special effects (did you know that when Misty!Edward appears, his sweet Volvo does too)? The sloppy transitions and hilarious slomo scenes of characters running through the forest (yes, this really happens. Multiple times.)? There’s not a lot that’s very good with this film.
So far as writing goes, the script for New Moon is intensely loyal to the book, and in all fairness does a good job, weaving Bella’s depression with her growing friendship/romance with Jacob, ending in a dramatic encounter at Volturi headquarters. Though, one can’t help but think that one of the film’s greatest weaknesses – especially so far as the Edward fandom is concerned – is how absent Edward is from the film. A welcome surprise, however, is Taylor Lautner’s undeniably brawny Jacob Black, lending a warmth and humanity, an endearing, dogged (hardy har!) love interest for a decidedly wooden Bella.
The interactions between Jacob and Bella are alternately funny and touching, and comprise the best of the films few high notes – a scene where Jacob, Bella and Mike watch a movie on an awkward triple date, a ride home in Bella’s truck with Jacob driving, an almost kiss in the Swan kitchen. Too, the members of the Quileute tribe (or rather, pride) are decently entertaining in their shirtless uniform.
In contrast to the warmth of the werewolves of the Pacific Northwest, the vampires feel trite and, frankly, lame. Something happens with redhead vampire Victoria (who has it out for Bella because…Edward killed her mate and so she must kill Edward’s mate to MAKE HIM PAY!) and dreadhead Laurent because he’s helping Victoria…but that fizzles out into so much boring background noise. Though, I will say Rachelle Lefevre’s red hair looks pretty as it whips around in the forest. Robert Pattinson’s mopey Edward with his stupid hair and scrawny, (sporadically hairy) pale torso emerges late in the movie, giving the impression that he’s hollowly disinterested in the role.
The Volturi (for all five minutes they are in the film – all of which have basically been revealed already in the previews), with their blood red contacts and ornate hair and styling, feel ridiculously silly. In the age old vampires versus werewolves showdown, reimagined in New Moon, werewolves clearly win.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about New Moon and the Twilight Saga in general is how insipid a message it projects – especially to teenage girls. It is not cool for you to go catatonic, severing all ties to your friends and family when a boy decides to break up with you. It is not cool to try to kill yourself repeatedly just so you can experience hallucinations of said boy, warning you to “be safe.” I understand that first love is intense, scary, and passionate. And experiencing those highs and lows are all part of growing up. But it is kind of ridiculous that the prevalent female role model right now is a doormat – a bland, no-personality girl whose idea of a good time is to jump into life-threatening situations in order to feel closer to the boyfriend that left her behind.
Leaving New Moon, I felt as though a literal lunar month had passed since the start of the film. If you’re a Twilight fan, you’re probably going to watch this anyway, regardless of what some reviewer has to say. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend waiting for this one on rental.
Rating: 4 – Pretty Bad (Although I’m pretty damn sure the box office sales and Twilight fandom will disagree with this assessment)
heidenkindNovember 19, 2009 at 1:04 am
Hahaha! This movie sounds reeeeeally bad. Very entertaining review, though. Edward and his Volvo make me lawl. 😀
Sandy WilliamsNovember 19, 2009 at 1:14 am
I was debating watching this one. Honestly, I just didn’t know how the director would pull off a book in which Bella is in that catatonic state. Sounds like he didn’t.
SusiSunshineNovember 19, 2009 at 3:30 am
So I think my decision to not watch it in cinema was right!
MandiNovember 19, 2009 at 5:11 am
HAHA – I expect nothing less than a cheesy, poorly acted movie. It will never stop me from going though:) The Twilight books were fun to read, (BD did make me throw up in my mouth a bit;) but the movies are just the cheez whiz on top. What makes the movies a bit more enjoyable is if you partake in some cocktails before the movie starts (heck – sneak some in) – all of a sudden, the movie becomes quite entertaining 🙂
I’m going Saturday night – I swear if I am the oldest person there, I may walk out;)
Natasha A.November 19, 2009 at 6:26 am
My friend and I saw Twilight together. We couldn’t look at each other without laughing. Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy the movie, but it is going to become a tradition. We will be going to see New Moon shortly, and I know at least one scene (where Jacob turns into the wolf while jumping over Bella – you see it in the trailer)where I am going to bust a gut!
JamieNovember 19, 2009 at 6:42 am
I’m being forcibly dragged to the movie this Saturday by a couple of super fans. I can’t believe they want me to go to this one since I sat in the back of the theater and heckled all through the first one. But they love me – Not sure why. That said, I can’t wait to see Jasper “go nuts.” That should burn at least 50 – 60 calories with the gut busting belly laugh that is sure to follow. 😀
zeekNovember 19, 2009 at 6:49 am
Great review- as I was one of those who thought the FIRST movie was lame and insipid, I’m not surprised with your thoughts on this one…
So many people have been riding me about reading the series, that I actually caved. (Mostly because a friend lent me the series.) I will give that from what I’ve read of Twilight thus far, the author is good at drawing a reader into her realm- but I’m just not sure I’m all that crazy about it like everyone else. I may give the second book a chance but honestly, I can’t work up much enthusiasm.
MelanieNovember 19, 2009 at 8:05 am
My cousin (a pretty major Twilight fan) is taking a group of her friends and me to see this movie on Saturday. It should definitely be interesting! I enjoyed the first movie in exactly the I-probably-shouldn’t-be-watching-this-but-I-can’t-turn-away you described. I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure, for me. Great review! I laughed just thinking about it.
GinaNovember 19, 2009 at 8:48 am
Wow. No fear in decimating something, huh? 😯
I myself am a Twilight (series) fan, more book than movie as unfortunately there are many drawbacks to the silver screen version versus your own imagination. That said, I still think that if you take them as they are…and adaptation not an actual representation, they hold their own. Just saying….I’ll still be there at midnight, tickets in hand ready to watch.
katiebabsNovember 19, 2009 at 9:27 am
It sounds that the movie pretty much stuck with the book, because bella does become the sad sap who can’t go on because sparkle boy has denied her. But then Jacob comes along and saves the day!!
I’m watching this for the landscaping, mean the shirtless boys that I will not admit are too young for me to appreciate.
Don’t bash the Volvo now. I heard it is a pretty reliable car.
Britt, Book HabitueNovember 19, 2009 at 10:02 am
I love it.
Haven’t seen then movie(s), don’t intend to….:D
Maya M.November 19, 2009 at 10:03 am
I’d laugh if it wasn’t groaning so much.
My son’s Grade 7 class is going to see this tomorrow as part of their Literacy class. I can’t believe that of all movies available, this was the one the teachers chose, and can only imagine they’re trying with some degree of desperation to latch on to a topic the kids will be interested in.
So not only did I seriously dislike ‘Twilight’, as a reader and as a parent, but now I have the salt in my wound of having to pay for the privilege of my child doing his part to swell the take for this second installment.
AdrienneNovember 19, 2009 at 10:26 am
The books weren’t terrible (with the exception of Breaking Dawn…it was fan fiction at the worse) New Moon actually was the strongest in the series (come on, you were shocked at all those blank pages) Twilight movie was SOOOOOO bad-I was waiting for you two to do the review and you didn’t disappoint! 😆 I’m still getting dragged to see it at 10:30 tomorrow night…wish me luck!
P.S., if we think New Moon is bad, how horrible will Breaking Dawn be??? Will that keep that bad feather scene in the movie?
Diana PeterfreundNovember 19, 2009 at 10:55 am
Taylor Lautner is hawwwwwwwwt. Probably highly inappropriate of me to say so, but wowsa. I don’t know what Bella is THINKING.
Also, the look on Jasper’s face and his general horrific acting abilities makes me dread him as Sokka, one of my favorite characters of any piece of fiction ever ever. Poor Sokka. He deserves better.
katiebabsNovember 19, 2009 at 10:56 am
Diana, you and I agree. And good for Taylor! The producers almost let him go because they didn’t think he was up to the bulking up his man titties.
Should I feel dirty? Nope.
AnimeJuneNovember 19, 2009 at 11:00 am
LOLOLOL, great review Smugglers! I had advertizing-exhaustion from this movie as far back as August. Didn’t like the first book, didn’t like the first movie (Jasper’s “Serious face” is there, too – he looked like he needed to take a giant vampire dump except THAT IS IS FORBIDDEN in the presence of HUMANS). Sounds like I’m missing exactly nothing. Hooray!
MarieNovember 19, 2009 at 11:40 am
I loved the books, but admitted, thought the Twilight movie campy. However, that will not deter me from watching New Moon…at midnight (yes, I know! no need to say it!)
I figure that my friends and I are there to help raise the average age to…oh, maybe 14. LOL!
Diana PeterfreundNovember 19, 2009 at 11:54 am
Ooh, Taylor Lautner should play Sokka! He’s not Inuit, but he is part Native American, and besides, he knows karate too. Plus, did I mention the cuuuuuuuuuute?
Stupid Avatar movie. I kick it. Except for Dev Patel.
DanielleNovember 19, 2009 at 11:57 am
God, I remember when Kristen Stewart was in good movies (notably directed by Sean Penn). And Shirtless!Edward is just disgusting.
darla dNovember 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm
I so agree with you re. the non-okayness of Bella’s reaction to Edward leaving. Argh! It’s why I stopped reading the series after this book. :-/ Great review of the film – I feel like I’ve seen it now. 🙂
music_lover3November 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm
Great review! I was really hoping that with the new director, the second movie would be better than the first, but based on this review, I would say not. I think I may rent it, though, just because I’m curious. I have a love/hate relationship with the Twilight Saga (the books). On the one hand, it’s a fast read and keeps me interested, but on the other hand, I found many things wrong with it that really annoyed me. It’s one of those things where I like it but don’t like it. 🙂
SammyNovember 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm
Your review is quite hilarious, I would admit it made me laugh reading it. I read all 4 books. I loved it. I loved twilight and regardless of bad reviews I would still watch new moon. If action is what people expect then they did not read the book. Action is quite minimal in this book. It is all about heartbreak and holding on to someone whom you are still very much inlove with. To those who once in one point or another of their lives fell inlove and lost their love would be able to relate. The movies are adaptations not an actual representations. If the movie potrayed the book as I would assume it did, based on your review…then it did its purpose. The book is not for everyone. Those who did not read nor understood what the book is all about will never see the point of relevancy in the movie. Nonetheless, it was quite entertaining reading your review. Thanks…
GillianNovember 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm
Oh, you so do not want me to get started on the topic of Bella as the current role model for teenage girls. We could be here all day. I don’t think there’s a soap brand in the world that would have enough boxes for me to be ranting from!
I will, however, eventually see New Moon. The first movie and the books were a bit like fairy floss (cotton candy for those in the US): light, fluffy, not a whole lot of substance, completely bad for your hips and, once you open the packet, you can’t stop eating it until it’s done.
Thanks for the great review. I’ve read a few from blogs I visit regularly and the consensus is it’s a pretty shite film. It’s a good thing I have little to no expectations!
TiahNovember 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm
Man that Taylor kid is hot. They did not grow boys like that when I was in high school.
Can you image the disaster that the Breaking Dawn movie will be? My brain tries to shut down when I think about it.
Gerd D.November 20, 2009 at 7:54 am
You know, if you hadn’t wrote that this is Jasper in that picture I could have totally believed we are looking at Jason’s mom there, in her younger crazy days, naturally. 😆
JennygirlNovember 20, 2009 at 11:47 am
Where is Buffy when you need her?
Or Angelus for that matter?
Sentiments I will be echoing for the next how many years of this stuff.
I liked the first book a few years ago, but my interest has waned as screaming girls everywhere have crawled out of the wood work. Also as I thought more and more on the subject matter. Oh well. Life goes on to better books and stories. Thanks for the review 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!
katyNovember 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm
New Moon was a terrible movie. The makers tried to hard to put everything from the book into the film. It is choppy and unclear as to what story is being told. Also the “commercials” that took place during the movie were awful, two words Virgin Airlines!!! and the flashback of Alice’s vision that showed Edward and Bella running through the woods was the most embarrassing thing I have ever seen in a movie. Summit, Chris, the producers, and screen writer should send apologies to every fan!!!
HollyNovember 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm
THANK YOU! That’s been my point all along. I was trying to decide if I should take my 13yo daughter to see this, but I think I’ll hold off after reading your review. We can rent it instead. That way I can pause the movie to reiterate – as often as necessary – that it is NOT ok to act like a spaz over a boy. Ever. 😡
zeekNovember 23, 2009 at 9:54 am
Okay- much to my surprise a guy friend’s 14 yr old daughter wanted me and my cousin (also my age- which is way over 30!) to take her to see New Moon. We decided when a 14 yr old wants to hang with old ladies like us, we better take her up on it and since the guy friends paid for the movie- I caved.
What a crapfest. You were spot on-
with Rob Pat’s bad acting and the “Oh you’re hurt. Here, let me take my shirt off.” bits I was throwing up in my mouth. (Okay I will admit to some courgarish eyeing up of Jake’s nubile young bod- but I digress.)
I too literally laughed out loud several times. Unfortunately it was at places that were note meant to be funny!
And you were spot on about the message to young women. NOT a message I would want my daughter (if I had one) to receive.
Along with what you pointed out- i.e. Bella’s reckless and mopey behavior- I also did not like the message contained within Jake’s Alpha’s relationship with his mate. (He couldn’t help SCARING HER FOR LIFE because it’s just part of who he is and he really does love her so very much?!) Hello? Abuser mentality anyone? UGH!
One good thing- we were able to tell said 14 yr old- Do NOT act like this and if a man EVER raises a hand toward you to hurt you, kick him in the balls and GET OUT! 😀
Yeah, two thumbs way down from the old zeekster.
Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)November 25, 2009 at 8:26 am
I have to say the only thing we disagree on is the acting abilities of Kristen Stewart. I think she’s a horrible actress and her place in this movie as the horrible character of Bella is appropriate.
NatalieJanuary 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm
I think the problem with both movies originates from the book itself. I appreciate that Stephenie Meyer had a great story to tell, but her writing is inconsistent, unstable and generally BAD. And I personally think her editors and publishing company should be shot. It is a shame really cause the concept is good. She should have had better support from whoever edited the books. I mean they have been in circulation for quite a while so you would THINK that all typos were fixed. All four are overly descriptive, repeating unnecessary details, too talkative and immature: poor writing skills in general. I think the only reason the Twilight movie hooked most of the viewers comes down to the scenery, filmography, and the Edward/Rob “look”..I must admit he did a good job with the more romantic scenes, but between him and that Kristen person (I’m convinced she was actually reading her lines for the first time), it was all amateur stage acting. Take away the effects team, the location and the director, and you have a flop. And I can’t help but mention this: how can ANYONE believe that the actress portraying Rosaline was as gloriously beautiful as the author so vividly described??? The Victoria actress should have had that role. I can’t help but feel that from start to finish, book to movie (sans the Rob look and kissing skills)it was definitely lacking in substance and skill and left me with the urge to take a black marker to each book in the saga: I bet I’d easily bring them down to half their size. i mean, if it isn’t Moby Dick, it just should be this HUGE!
Phew! i really needed to get all that off my chest! Anyways, love the review and I’m definitely keeping tabs on your site. Marvelous.
AnonymousMarch 25, 2010 at 5:24 am
I think it awful that he left her but he just trying to keep her safe
CrazyKid46November 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm
I myself say that this was one of the best movies I have ever seen?