Even with director Catherine Hardwicke’s take on bringing the first book of this series to screen, Chris Weitz fails to do little more than use her vision as a guidebook on how to direct The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and therefore, recreates a lot of the problems that plagued the first film while simply trying to appease the salivating masses of obsessed fans.
If you have read the books of this series, then you know exactly what happens in this ridiculously faithful adaptation. For those of you who haven’t, New Moon begins with Bella’s 18th birthday, which proves to be just as traumatic as she believed it would be. While at a party the Cullen family chooses to throw her, Bella (Kristen Stewart) gets a paper cut of epic proportions, sending one vamp into a blood hungry state of mind. Brooding over the opinion that this is all his fault, Edward (Robert Pattinson) chooses to take his family and run away from Forks, promising to never interfere with Bella’s life again. Falling into a pit of lonely despair, Bella eventually resurfaces, only to attach herself to Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who just so happens to be a werewolf.
Following the lead of most of the characters in this film, or rather, the actors’ interpretations of their characters, this film tends to take itself way too seriously, making it hard to relate to the story and characters more often than not. Let’s start with the most obvious: Bella’s dependence on the males of this series is a little excessive, and I half expected her to end the film early by slitting her wrists. Instead, we just get to witness her complete dedication to teen angst and depression, complete with night after night of screaming into her pillow as she contorts her body in agony. And once she finally decides to return to the land of the living, she continues to mope as she competes with the others over who can be the most melodramatic and brood in the corner with the most intensity.
With that said, because the main characters seem to have little expected of them in their range of acting, this film easily goes to the supporting cast, who often only appear in a couple of scenes. First, there is Jessica (Anna Kendrick), who shines in her hilarious rant about the true meaning of a film Bella forces her to sit through, becoming a much needed burst of fresh air in this overly suffocating film. Harry Clearwater (Graham Greene) follows her lead with more comedic relief, along with Bella’s dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), who proves to be a saint for putting up with that child. And finally, the Volturi coven, the oldest clan of vampires, is fleshed out with a lot of great people, including apathetic Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl), creepily enthusiastic Aro (Michael Sheen), and pain invoking Jane (Dakota Fanning). But lets face it, Dakota Fanning is Dakota Fanning, so no surprise there.
Continuing on this path, the supporting cast is not the sole item in the pro column fighting against the cons. For starters, though a lot of the music and camera work still proved to be over the top at times, there were a few moments when all the elements actually came together beautifully, such as when the wolf pack chases Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) through the woods, showing that Weitz actually may have some talent after all. Speaking of the music, though the orchestral scores were a little much, the soundtrack to the film is full of many strong selections. And finally, though I complain a lot about how melodramatic the film is, this actually proved to be a great source of unintentional hilarity, and made the film more enjoyable than I am letting on.
Overall New Moon fails to expand on what was expected of it following the first film, proving to be a disappointment to me, but still enjoyable in how easily one can make fun of it. And let’s face it, my complaints will more likely than not go unnoticed by the screaming girls this movie is aimed at.
Final Grade: B-
PS – when you have incredibly ripped boys taking their shirts off left and right, at least try to pretend there is a reason for this happening.