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New Moon Movie Review: Latest entry in Twilight series is a snooze


New Moon could be a horror film on the daunting aspect of having a child enter their teenage years. It will likely send parents with children on the New Mooncusp of adulthood screaming from the theater. Sure, maybe teenage girls will jump enthusiastically with glee, but how is everyone else suppose to endure these depressed, sulking, irritating characters for the remaining two hours.

Stephanie Meyer’s New Moon, the second entry in the absurdly popular Twilight franchise, has been touted as the weakest in the book series. Even Meyer herself has admitted it was originally created for her publisher to bridge the first and Eclipse. Whether it’s the source material, or Chris Weitz’s plodding direction, the simple fact remains. New Moon sucks.

Picking up soon after the events of the first film, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) are still madly in love, yet things are pretty much the same. The relationship is threatened by the limitations of his vampire origins. (Bella cuts herself at a birthday party and Edward’s family salivates like dogs to meat) Bella still wants Edward to make her immortal but as Edward argues it also would remove her soul, the one thing that drives him to continue living.

After the aforementioned freak accident where Edward’s family almost loses control and feeds on Bella, it becomes clear what kind of intense danger she is really in. Seeing that they will never be able to function properly as a couple, Edward takes his family and flees Seattle, leaving Bella stranded and alone. Damaged and unstable, she slips into an intense state of depression.

Meanwhile, her longtime friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) slowly moves in on Edward’s territory. Having long pined for Bella, his initial comfort turns into an attempt, to step up their relationship beyond a more platonic status. At the same time, however, he reveals a dangerous secret about his own werewolf origins. The revelation brings a whole new dynamic; the battle between werewolves and vampires. This also establishes an emotional love triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward.

Even looking at New Moon as merely a middle movie, hardly anything happens. In the end, everyone is right back where they were at the beginning. That said, sitting through the two hour plus spectacle is often trying, and very boring. The most notable and exciting aspect of the movie is the werewolves and the triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward, which could in fact prove juicy in the next film.

The performances are like deadweights. Director Catherine Hardwicke did not achieve perfection with the first film, but her skill at creating character and handling actors was highly superior. Edward is indeed supposed to be undead, but there isn’t an ounce of anything here, whereas he at least registered in the first film. Stewart, who was merely homely in the first film, has graduated to grating and intolerable in New Moon. Only Taylor Lautner (both physically and mentally) and Dakota Fanning bring any kind of life to the screen. Fanning makes a deliciously nasty cameo, even if it’s five minutes of screen time. Lautner’s perfectly chiseled abdomen is very welcomed, and his brooding angst at least contains sparks of excitement and power, something the rest of the film lacks.

Director Chris Weitz hasn’t a clue on how to handle pace, and the film just drags. Admittedly, the material he’s working with is terrible, but he doesn’t do the film any favors, as shown in Edward’s unimaginative flashback sequences, or in his unthrilling Volturi Climax. He also polishes the film with a glossier sheen, foolishly abandoning the harder, grainy look the first movie introduced.

New Moon is critic proof everyone knows that. Young girls will flock in droves, and probably faint multiple times during the movie. I’m sure paramedics will be called in. Still, the gig is up on the Twilight series if this is a sign of things to come. With superior new vampire shows such as “True Blood” and even “The Vampire Diaries”, audiences who can get more out of the concept, will soon look elsewhere. Consider this moon eclipsed.