Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

Directed by: Chris Weitz
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

After a fateful occurrence at the Cullen household during Bella’s eighteenth birthday celebration, Edward announces that he and his family will be leaving Forks, Washington for good in favor of giving Bella back the normal life she once had. Shortly thereafter, a crippling emptiness fills our female protagonist, thus sending her into a near catatonic state of depression for several months. Thankfully, childhood friend Jacob Black swoops in to both save the day and potentially fill the void Bella’s been harboring all this time. When secrets pertaining to Jacob’s life in his neck of the woods begin to surface however, this new friendship inevitably becomes strained in the wake of some increasingly odd occurrences.

No one said translating poorly written shlock to the big screen would be an easy task, but like its predecessor, oodles and oodles of ineptitude ooze freely from New Moon‘s every pore. I actually feel kind of bad for Weitz, because even though the second installment is nothing more than mindless drivel of the worst kind, his intentions were to make it at least somewhat tolerable and, more importantly, “better” than the first film. Unfortunately, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has returned once again to mercilessly slam line after line of cheesy incongruous dialogue into our heads, meaning if you didn’t get a good laugh out of the original Twilight, you’ll have a whopping two hours and ten minutes to do so this time around.

Rosenberg’s also found solace in thoroughly embracing all of the themes Meyer so vehemently outlined in her beloved novels: unhealthy obsession, superficiality, and of course, a profound overabundance of teen angst. What this has resulted in is more or less an overly moody, slow-paced broodfest devoid of anything even remotely interesting. In fact, the only appealing moment, to me at least, is that of a slow motion chase sequence involving a vampire and a werewolf, the concept of which should appeal to just about anyone but almost doesn’t thanks to some seriously laughable CGI.

And thus we’re left with the acting, which is just as piss-poor as the first Twilight, if not infinitely worse. I’m sure the script is just as much to blame as the efforts of the cast, but it gets to the point where characters like Lautner’s Jacob stand around shirtless based on principle and deliver their lines just because they have to. Not even Stewart can save the film this time around given how genuinely unlikable her character is and always will be. Thankfully, Michael Sheen swoops in to save the day with his respectable portrayal of Aro, leader of the mysterious Volturi, of whom establish all the known rules of the vampire universe.

At the risk of sounding incredibly redundant, this film is just what fans of the books have been waiting for, and everything those with all five of their senses and an appreciation for actual cinema will inevitably loathe. Yes, it does possess one or two elements that aren’t completely laughable, but aside from these, New Moon is just an overlong, overly moody, poorly acted and generally unappealing mess. Again, if you’re a fan of Meyer’s books, by all means, check it out if you already haven’t in past twenty-four hours. If not, you’ll find it hard to determine what you’re witnessing on the screen in front of you really is: an actual film or a drawn-out joke in bad taste.

Rating: 2/10

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