Trying to map the hilarity of the Twilight saga is an impossible Arcades Project of entering the snowman; there’s already more than a prolonged lifetime’s worth of fetishistic marginalia and its more — ahem — dazzling moments can’t properly be explained in any mortal tongue. It’d be like trying to draw a photo of the Sun; all we can ever really do is try to communicate our wonderment, through myriad little observations.
One such observation, however, is how much of an improvement New Moon makes on the first film.
Of course, garnering any kind of emotion from a contemporary Hollywood film is like getting turned on by an electricity bill, and it’s true that New Moon generates its worth primarily through relief. Mumbling depressive Edward leaves us minutes into the film, giving over the lion’s share of facetime to Taylor Lautner’s sulky lycanthrope, Jacob Black.
I’m not sure it’s correct to say he stars in this film, because I’m not sure what else he’s in — it’d be like saying my ass stars in my body — but Lautner’s opportunistic shirtlifter Jake is the doorway to Twilight genius.
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Unfortunately you’ll only really know why anything’s happening if you have the subtitles turned on, because it mistakenly falls to Robert Pattinson’s Edward to contextualize the proceeding events in the early minutes of the film.
Like the first film, an otherwise-polished New Moon is haunted by the occasional intrusion of symbolic, work experience-grade footage, designed to remind us of characters or ideas that might not currently be depicted on screen. Luckily for us, though, this second-unit schlock notably rears its head during Edward’s monotonous explanation.
It seems the vector Victoria from Twilight #1 is being reconstituted as a valid threat, and Edward goes off on what I imagine to be some kind of eternal Midwest Grand Tour, leaving Bella safer (and even sadder) than ever.
Unfortunately however the formerly-keen Jake is pulled in another direction. He’s growing up fast; he’s cut his hair, he asked for a rowing machine for his 15th birthday, and he’s joined a special Topless Forest Club for Boys.
That’s right, Jake.
You start to wish they could work it out. They could have been happy together. She could have been happy. But the call of Jake’s animal instincts are just too powerful.
It’s actually *gasp* Bella that pushes him away. She can’t bear the deafening sound of his voice, and suffers from Obi Wan-style hallucinogenic holograms of Edward trying to make her do the right thing.
It doesn’t matter much any more though; Jake’s outed the whole pack of wolves and Victoria’s jumping out of trees like a little spider monkey.
By this time practically everyone’s running around the forest. That’s right, kids: New Moon has a truckload of action — and we’re not talking baseball.
Alice’s woolly precognition meanwhile brings the family Cullen back into Bella’s dreary life. Everyone’s unhappy again, people are looking harried, and they’re all busy navel-gazing (they’ve got navels, right?).
Well, on the bright side it could be worse. It’s not like Dakota Fanning’s in this movie or anything.
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Nonetheless, for all its lols, New Moon is a howl. It’s fast-paced, involving, dramatic, and you can generally hear what the characters are saying.
Then — and I’m surprised something this immorally bankrupt made it past censors — there’s the last line.
You want to be together forever?