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“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” Review: Vampires, Werewolves, and Bad Acting, Oh My!

After the lights dimmed to a chorus of shrieks from the tween girls that had piled into the theater no less than five hours before the midnight showing of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”, I came to the conclusion that I wanted my $12.50 back.

The entirely-too-long graphic of a moon waning until it was a narrow sliver, revealing the title of the movie was merely a hint at the horrors to come. What ensued was a dragged out rendering of what was a weak and poorly written story to begin with. Protagonist Bella Swan, whose poor taste in men is rivaled by none. is hopelessly in love with 104 –year-old “vegetarian” vampire Edward Cullen. He thinks he is too dangerous for her, so he tells her he doesn’t love her anymore and departs to keep her safe. Bella sinks into a depression that is ridiculous for someone who has been in a relationship for only six months, illustrated by dizzying camera shot which revolves around a listless Bella, seated and staring out the window, behind which the seasons change, in apathy. This depression includes fits of nightmares and screaming in her sleep, to the dismay of her father.

Then, Bella discovers landing herself in ludicrously perilous situations triggers hallucinations of her departed boyfriend, and becomes “an adrenaline junkie”. She becomes close friends with Jacob Black, who as luck would have it is a werewolf. Why wouldn’t he be? I was just surprised that none of her other human friends spontaneously became goblins. Because, naturally, nobody seems capable of surviving without Bella, when Edward learns of an adrenaline-seeking episode of cliff diving and believes her dead, he runs off to provoke the ire of the Volturi, the Italian vampires that constitute the royal family of the vampire world, in hopes that they will kill him. His adopted sister rushes to bring Bella to Italy so that a glimpse of her, alive, will deter him from his plan to commit suicide by proxy. She arrives just in time, and after an all-too-brief brush with the Volturi, Bella is home again, having completely forgiven Edward, and puts her mortality up for a vote. The family votes to eventually make her one of them.

To my great relief, director Chris Weitz replaced the eccentric Catherine Hardwicke of “Twilight”. Although that was a great improvement, Weitz’s limited exposure to CGI in “The Golden Compass” did little to prepare him for realistic looking werewolves. The car-sized creatures looked absurd. And speaking of cars, none could miss Volvo’s feature crossover, which, to my great amusement, appeared along with its driver in some of Bella’s hallucinations. This is daring even for a product placement attempt.

Unfortunately, although the director was much improved in this sequel, no such thing can be said for the actors, especially the lead femme, Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan). Her relentless monotone, severe difficulty with eye contact, strange and excessive blinking, and laughable attempts at delivering cringe-worthy lines with feeling were painful to watch. Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), although apparently a talented actor in other works, seems irritated with this über-sensitive, lipstick-covered role. Michael Sheen was fantastic in his role as the decades-old Aro, leader of the Volturi. Dakota Fanning, in oversized red contact lenses, was disappointing, and appeared very briefly. Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black), shirtless from very early on, remained so for about 7/8ths of the movie. Although his new physique was impressive, he looked awkward and unused to his newly acquired bulky torso.

There were other characters, but they are not worth mentioning, as they were apparently not important enough to even warrant move that a cumulative few minutes of screen time. The movie suffered greatly from the lack of chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in the few moments the actor shared, but suffered even more from Edward’s absence for the large part of the film.

Aside from the pretentious titling of the movie “The Twilight Saga”, other displays of arrogance the movie included were relentless uses of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet designed to suggest that Stephenie Meyer’s story is Shakespeare-caliber. Overall, this movie will satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but is off putting to outsiders or critics of the books because it is relentlessly depressing, melodramatic, and cheesy. The makeup artists created distracting effects, the dialogue cringe-inducing, the CGI just marginally better than “Twilight”. It’s impressive, really, and to his credit, that Robert Pattinson didn’t burst into hysterical laughter when Kristen Stewart shouted at him to take her soul when his character tried to break up with her. Or maybe he did. We’ll have to eagerly await the DVD release and check the blooper reel to find out.

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This article has 16 comments. Post your own now!

Robkingett This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm
Okay. I am going to be very blunt and honest, but oh well. From one critic to another.
I listened to this article and nearly died, turned into a vampire, and sparkled in the sun. I agree with this review. You didn't just summerise the movie like some people on here do, and then call it a review. You actually give your opinion on the main points. I would love to be a critic when I get older, although my reviews will be more sarcastic than yours, but perhaps that's my problem.
more »)
AnnonymousFate said...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Oh yes. I enjoy this one as well. You just have a very cunning way of writing. It is absolutely hilarious the way you put some of this stuff. Whether you are a Twilight fan or not, I don't know how anyone couldn't enjoy reading this. It's great for a good laugh. I really think Bella is overrated in so many ways, and how a 104 year-old-vampire, who has had plenty of time maturing, can't get over a girl who can't even walk straight. Anyway, I absolutely loved this. You sho... (more »)
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 9:51 pm
I hope to do this for a living :)
AnnonymousFate replied...
Dec. 30, 2009 at 11:43 am
It suits you
swim4ever replied...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm
I agree this is great you should be a critic
starinsomniac replied...
May 25, 2011 at 12:26 am
indeed. if its alright with you i would like to feature your articles. i would of course give you full credit. :D
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm
 Sure! Thanks
E.L.W. said...
Dec. 17, 2009 at 8:15 pm
Okay, I get it. Thanks :)
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:46 am
Sure, no problem :)
EdytD said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Haha, love it, and definitely agree! I do think the graphics were decent, but... that was pretty much about it. All in all, it was better than Twilight. But of course, that's not saying anything!
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm
Thanks, and of course, it was better that Twilight, but anything is better than that!
E.L.W. said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm
This is a really good article -- I agree!
However, there are a few punctuation and grammar mistakes you might just want to edit out.
And how are werewolves made realistic/unrealistic?
But great work!!!
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 10:52 pm
Yeah I posted the unedited version by mistake, oops! I did correct them. The wolves...well, their texture is wrong. The fur was weird. They were also way, way too expressive. I know they're supposed to be people, but they shouldn't have such versatility to make facial expressions like they did.
Prophet92 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm
Nicely done, your writing is fantastic, and I agree with your opinion.
And please, don't even get me started on the Shakespeare comparison, just thinking about it is putting me at risk for an aneurysm.
remym This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm
Thank you! I wrote an article for my school paper called The Case Against Twilight which I also posted on teenink. I think I addressed the Shakespeare thing more (made me physically ill) and described how Edward and Bella are actually in a classically abusive relationship.
starinsomniac replied...
May 25, 2011 at 12:28 am
i would love to read the original article on that! :D
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