Monday, November 23, 2009


Gosh, has it been a year?

It will come as no shock to regular readers of this site that you are about to read a negative review of New Moon. I was rereading the review I wrote last year for Twilight and I see I did a very poor job of conveying my dislike for the film. That's a mistake I'm going to correct this year.

It's hard to spoil New Moon since all the major plot points are in the various ads and trailers. This gives me the luxury of describing all of the movie's epic and vapid stupidity.

The story picks up where it left off last year. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is a girl who, through an entrancing mixture of slouching, mumbling and staring at the ground, managed to become the center of her high school's world. Every boy there fawns over her including a handsome vampire named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Edward won Bella's heart by staring at her creepily, speaking with no passion or emotion and telling her flat out that her scent made him want to rip off her head and suck in every drop of her blood. You can see why she thinks he's so dreamy. Among the large number of other boys who are madly in love with her is Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a member of local Native American tribe called the Quileutes, a word which I think translates as "Buff, shirtless athletes with pecs like watermelons".

After boring everyone for about 20 minutes, Bella manages to give herself a small cut at a birthday party being thrown for her by the whole Cullen vampire clan. This causes Jasper, the Cullen who always looks constipated, to spring into a blood drinking frenzy and go after Bella. This results in one of the movie's few action sequences, something that director Chris Weitz immediately shut down once he realized what was happening. Edward saves Bella but decides that it's now too dangerous for her to be around them so he leaves her behind in the the cold, depressing town of Forks, Washington and, as a punishment to himself, moves to warm, wonderful Italy.

Bella spends several months moping and listening to emo music before allowing the handsome Jacob to start romancing her. One of the movie's themes is that young girls should fall for frightening stalker types so, after Bella becomes dependent on him, he starts lapsing into angry mood swings and says he doesn't want to see her anymore. This only makes him more attractive to Bella so she keeps after him until she discovers he and some other members of his tribe are werewolves. After that preposterous scenario plays out, things start to get weird in the form of a vampire group called the Volturi who are quite possibly the most bored looking people in the history of cinema.

New Moon is a boring movie about dull people who manage to make encounters with supernatural creatures look mundane. To top that off, its fundamentalist worldview that girls should be the submissive pets of dangerous men is downright harmful. Even when Edward and Bella are parted, Edward never surrenders his role as her Priest Overseer and constantly appears to her in visions when she's about to do something she shouldn't like drive too fast or eat junk food. Like a good abuse victim, Bella keeps going back for more and more danger just so she can see Edward. There's another character named Emily who is engaged to one of the other werewolves and cheerfully stays with him even after he horribly scars one side of her face. I'm not sure if author Stephanie Meyer really believes that there is no level of abuse and pain that women shouldn't be willing to tolerate in order to be subservient to the men in their lives but that's how it comes off.* Luckily, the books and the movies aren't good enough to really pound that message home. Instead Twilight fans can immerse themselves in a mindless, dreamy romance and not be horrified by its anti-feminist message.

*If you want to see how much more crap the men in Bella's life are going to serve her, Google a synopsis of the next two books. Breaking Dawn especially is one of the most awesome mixes of revolting storytelling and unintentional hilarity I've ever seen.

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