Film Review: New Moon

Let’s just cut to the quick, shall we?  Straight to bare bones of the situation? New Moon is a lifeless film. 

For those who have been buried under a rock (perhaps a gravestone) for the past year or so, New Moon is the second filmic instalment in Stephanie Meyer’s hugely successful Twilight book series.  The franchise has made vampires cooler (and more cold-skinned) than they’ve been since Buffy; romanticising the beautiful bloodsuckers for a whole new generation of tweens.

New Moon picks up where its predecessor left off, following the tragic romance between Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).  Bella is just your typical 17 year old and Edward will be 17 forever.  In the film, Edward realises that dating an un-dead dude might not be the best thing for Bella’s future, and dumps her.  She proceeds to sink into a deep depression for a number of months, only to be roused to life, by her best-friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is unrequitedly in love with her.  Oh, and he’s also a werewolf.  Throw in a last minute plot line where Bella has to save Edward’s life, and you’ve got yourself a typical love-triangle film. 

It’s unfortunate, but this film really sucked – pun intended.  Suffice to say the script (clunky dialogue), direction (obviously rushed scenes), and art direction (ghostly apparitions of Edward) leave a lot to be desired.  Perhaps most dangerously, for a film as character-driven as this, is the sub-par acting.  Taylor Lautner does an admirable job, with a great sense of timing and intense sexual gaze.  And by that I mean, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD gaze.  He can’t quite handle some of the more intense dramatic scenes.  Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are both as uncharismatic as ever, twitching and mumbling their way through the film. 

Although it’s hardly surprising, New Moon is just as essentially anti-feminist as its predecessor.  A vehicle for Meyer’s Mormon beliefs, abstinence is still sexy.  Bella’s sole personality traits still consist of her loving Edward unconditionally and cooking dinner for her father.  In New Moon, it is perfectly acceptable that when her boyfriend breaks up with her, Bella gives up on life.  And in fact, is only able to carry on with her painful existence when another male enters her life, in the shape of best-friend Jacob.  Talk about being dependent on men.

New Moon will satisfy the blood-lust of hardcore Twilight fans.  But for the rest of us, you may leave the cinema feeling a little dead inside. 



New Moon is screening nationally in Australia now

Director: Chris Weitz

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke


Image credits 1, 2, 3

9 thoughts on “Film Review: New Moon

  1. Hi Melissa,

    Some interesting thoughts. I have been avoiding the books/movie like the plague, but when I find some extra time I might just look into them a little bit more deeply (read: over summer.) The point about mormon beliefs is not one I had considered before, yet the anti-feminist/male dependant has been tossed around a bit. It seems problematic that something which achieves such cult status perpetuates such beliefs, but then again, we don’t censor things which show the opposite either. It’s not necessarily the inclusion of such values that causes a problem but the willingness to emulate Bella after the fact. Does this release Stephanie Meyer and others from ethical obligations though? Is it inethical to perpetuate a belief which a major religion still holds as true? It’s a bit of a tricky situation. It’s also not terribly new for a young adult novel to favour one ideology over another, yet another minefield when you consider the emotional changes one goes through in these adolescent years.

    Either way, I’m happy to know that it sucked if only for self-validation of my avoidance. It’s also refreshing to know that there are vocal women out there willing to reveal their disdain for what is being heralded as THE thing for girls (and women alike.) The other day, a friend of mine noted quietly online that Chris Weltz had killed a good book. A day later, she proclaimed wildly her excitement to see it again on the weekend. Slightly disturbing, but not far off the mark for a film that seems to be all hype and popular culture, without actually having a decent product to latch onto.

    Thank you for your review, it might just stave off the curiousity for another couple of months.

  2. Hi Melissa

    What an interesting review. I had thoroughly enjoyed the books and the ease with which they were to read, however did not feel the same for the first movie and consequently am in a dilemma to see the second.

    It seems, based on the review, that even with a change of director, New Moon carries on from Twilight in the same context in which I walked away feeling disappointed, considering the story itself had potential. It is an interesting point you made about the anti-feminism context, which may explain that grating feeling of something being ‘not right’.

    There seems something gravely wrong seeing my 30+ year old friends swooning over someone that is barely seventeen due to a six pack, which isn’t for the fridge.

    Perhaps some stories should remain between the pages with the imagination rather than taking an attempt to make it something it obviously cannot be.

    Thank you for the candid review.

  3. I thought the Twilight saga movies need more element in them. The beautiful depiction of romance and relationships in the first book was not even closely achieved by the director of “twilight”. But in New Moon – i think the change of the production team and the director made a difference. At least the story line and dialogues were not changed this time around, unlike Twilight.
    Althought, the character of intensity and passion is absolutely missing from the movies. And since the both the movies haven’t managed to charm the audience (minus the screaming teenagers), i doubt the other 2 will raise the bar any further.
    Also i do recommend to all those who are untouched by the blood suckers and werewolves and Bella – PLEASE read the books first. You’ll appreciate it more. You’ll love it more.

    Great review Melissa. :)

  4. I take issue with those who say they loved the books, yet critique the movie for it’s depiction of Bella and Edward. As much as Kirsten Stewarts and Robert Pattinsons acting is awkward and twitchy, if they hadn’t originally been gaping voids of personality (in the books), particularly Bella, then they may have a little more to work with. Having read the pièce de résistance of the Saga that is the first book “Twilight” and found myself untouched by this alleged “intensity and passion” I think I really only have one word for the main characters: frigid.

  5. FINALLY! Someone who refuses to be a wallflower in the “I Heart Twilight” brainwash!

    I have refused to read the books, and got bullied into watching the DVD of the first film last week and would rather have spent the time putting needles into my eyeballs. What utter bollocks!

    The morals and values depicted in the first film were terrible, and to think that these have been carried through to the second? Wrong wrong wrong.

    Excellent review Melissa.

  6. Hahaha… Buffy vs. Edward. I agree with Melissa to a point as I am someone who takes feminism with a grain of salt. The perks of the post feminist movements go unquestioned. Yet I quite liked the idea of chivalry/ romance/ passion and find myself partly blaming feminism for its little death. People are more complicated than ‘if he holds the door open he must be controlling me.’ I have seen many a woman become carried away in their own ideals, steamrolling reason in order to preach. However, this is irrelevant as I do not find Edward particularly chivalrous… the idea of someone watching me sleep all night makes my stomach turn.

    @Nadia: I am also indifferent to the books, however I suggest you do read them. It makes for a far more interesting debate if you can see where you are going with it. I had a friend who blindly hated Harry Potter. She thought I found her views irritating because I was ‘Pro Potter’ but it was simply because her views were so shallow.

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