Kids, if there's only one lesson you learn from Shakespeare, consider making it this one. Before you decide to kill yourself over the untimely demise of your one true love, take the extra time to make really, really sure they're dead. Yes, I get it - some of the spontaneity will be gone if you don't off yourself immediately. Either via the conveniently left draught of poison or handing yourself off the the council of vampires that will take care of things for you. But seriously, isn't that loss of romantic immediacy worth it given the possibility of mixed messages causing you to get it wrong. That Edward almost makes this amateur mistake is pretty surprising. All those years and he's never read Romeo and Juliet - or seen an episode of Three's Company? Maybe that's just the difference between reading and understanding.
For those living under a rock or interred at Guantanamo Bay the last several years the film New Moon is the cinematic version of the second in the Twilight series of books. In this universe main character Bella has a torrid, yet until the very end unconsummated (and seriously co-depended relationship) with a much older man. That he's a 109 year old occasionally sparkly vampire makes it interesting and not quite as creepy as it sounds. OK, still pretty creepy and I could probably fill an entire post and a half about how it seems to me a really bad role model for today's youth. But to quote my enabler on this whole Twilight thing, "the books are terrible ... you must read them!" Truer words have never been spoken.
In the latest installment of the series we join the cast of characters fairly soon after the end of the last film. Edward and his vampire "family" have saved Bella from danger, she's back at school and the two of them are an item. Did I mention he and most of the extended vampire clan are still in High School (for the 10th time)? - if that doesn't scream village of the damned I don't know what does. She's seriously stressed about aging compared to Edward and is consistently bugging him to "change her." He, ever the gentleman is worried about her virtue, errr, I mean soul and playing seriously hard to get. Bella's seems generally annoyed throughout the film - about the whole refusing to turn her into the undead thing, people giving her birthday gifts, and/or (possibly) the extremely heavy handed use of metaphor throughout the film. After a nearly life threatening paper cut at her 18th birthday party (long story - she bleeds, is almost killed by Jasper a family member with bloodlust control issues and sporting the worst hair style since William H. Macy in Bart Got a Room forcing Edward to save her - OK, not so long) Edward decides the best thing he can do is split town to ensure she's not hurt by him. Conveniently forgetting he's also supposed to stick around to protect her from the evil vamps that still want to kill her from the first film. Regardless, he jets out of town with only the lamest of explanations leaving Bella in a near suicidally depressed stupor. It's so bad that she doesn't even notice the camera crew circling around slowly for 3 months to document the change of seasons over several months out her window as she sits catatonically in a chair.
Eventually she gets herself out of the house and starts spending time with Jacob - the son of her father's friend and the other hearthrob of the film. His presence helps her deal with her grief and loneliness. Unfortunately, his sexual frustration turns him into a werewolf. But that's good, because becoming a werewolf (along with other young men of his tribe similarly shirt challenged) keeps the area relatively safe from vampires. Meanwhile Bella realizes that putting herself in dumb and dangerous situations causes her to see visions of Edward warning her through exceedingly cheesy special effects which sounded somewhat more reasonable in the book when you didn't have to actually look at them. So of course being Bella she consistently seeks out these situations in order to see him more. Until a super contrived situation causes Edward to think she's dead. At which point he goes to Italy to try to die at the hands of the vampire elite. This is all important in the book, but may be confusing to someone who hasn't read it. But that's OK - because clearly there are enough people who have to carry the movie. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the later books are quite a bit better. Hey, I said this was entertaining - not that it makes a lot of sense...
There's lots of guys running around half naked, turning into werewolves plus over the top vampire vamping. Not to mention lots of teenage moping. So basically, a little something for everyone short of zombies. I'm not going to bother getting seriously into the details as either you likely already know the entire story, don't really care, or are still planning to see the film and deserve to have some surprises.
While I seem to be physically incapable of writing seriously about this film you shouldn't mistake that for me saying it's bad. For fans I'd put it in the B range. That said, I definitely enjoyed the first movie more than the second. It's hard for me say why exactly, but I largely suspect that it's because I hadn't read any of the books before seeing the first one. So I was able to experience it without fully knowing where it was going and revel both in it's charms and equally entertaining weak points. But if you didn't enjoy the first film I can't see why you'd like New Moon. Just for contrast - If you want to experience what a truly negative review sounds like I'd encourage you to try this one - while you may agree or disagree I think you'd have to definitely put it in the not boring category.
Almost forgot - I was pleasantly surprised to see that I recognized from personal experience the theater where Bella and guy pals go to see "Face Punch" - it's actually the Ridge Theater in Vancouver, Canada. I've been there previously as it's a venue for VIFF - the lobby is pretty distinctive. Though rarely (at least in my limited experience) has werewolves in attendance.
Screening notes: In order to try and get the full communal madness effect I went to see New Moon at a midnight screening Thurs night. On the downside seeing it so late and after two films in the SIFF New Italian Cinema series left me dragging myself to through all of Friday. But I did get to see it with a packed house full of folks that screamed their heads off every time a shirtless wolf pack member appeared onscreen. As well as every time Robert Pattinson appeared onscreen to hone his presentation for upcoming auditions in mumblecore dramas. It also meant I waited on the longest line I've seen since Superman played at the Kings Plaza mall in Brooklyn. In this case though without my cousin Kenny to help out I actually waited on the line. It was actually sorta fun - the line moved quickly once they got started even though it went from the third floor in Bellevue Square Lincoln Center all the way down to the garage levels (picture to the left). They seemed to fill every one of the large theaters in the facilities entry area - which must number in the several thousand seats. I think this movie may make some money after all.