NEW MOON reaped a gargantuan harvest at the box-office in 2009, when swooning tweenish fan hordes descended upon the second installment of The Twilight Saga as ravenously as a pack of vampires crashing a church picnic. Fans may have been gaga over the renewed love trials and blood trails of ‘Bella Swan’, ‘Edward Cullen’ and ‘Jacob Black’, but most critics felt as listless as the star trio’s acting, draining the will to live in a world that slurped up such pretentious mopey drivel. Still, for millions of the Fundead it was a lip-smacking feast, saliva drooling onto their tattoos, smearing the Send buttons on their surgically-fused iPhones (“GTFO, here’s the 6th selfie of me, Britnee and Madison standing in line for three days at the plex to see Edward, OMG!”).
“Age is just a number babe. What are you now, 40?”
‘Bella’ (Kristen Stewart) pines endlessly for much of a likewise endless 138 minutes, torn between vapid vampire boy ‘Edward’ (Robert Pattison) and bulked-up werewolf dude ‘Jacob’ (Taylor Lautner), the civilian-strafing guys respective homie teams at each other’s throats over turf and the snacks therein. What’s a depressed, obsessed, character-devoid girl to do? (in Forks?–don’t ask) Stay sullen, emote-frozen in the Twilight zone of glum suffering for the entire running time, judging by Stewart’s narcoleptic performance, one that, had the franchise not been a hit, would have put a CGI reality stake through any other average career. A spectral Pattison and the brick-expressive Lautner don’t liven it up, no matter how much hair-styling or ab-sculpting are insinuated as conveying depth. A little sulking and brooding goes a long way, and we’re not exactly talking Kidman, Brando and Nicholson here. 0-for-3 on the Petulance Scale.
Badly directed by Chris Seitz, Melissa Rosenberg’s cluttered script off Stephanie Meyer’s book is the genre franchise version of tasteless fast food: half-baked, over-loaded and under-nourished. The elements that made the first installment a pleasantly weird surprise are diminished; there’s a load of angst but little action, with only a few bites from the supporting cast to briefly pierce the pretentious pity-pond.
Kudos, however, to Anna Kendrick’s goofball ‘Jessica’, Ashley Greene’s zippy ‘Alice’, Dakota Fanning’s unsettling ‘Jane’ and especially Michael Sheen, who gives coven overlord ‘Aro’ the right sick impish malevolence when the story shifts from the Washington forests to Italy. You root for the fleeting appearances of these secondary players because you can’t give an eternal-life damn about the relentlessly pouting leads (we do note that Stewart and Pattison would wake up and wise up).
The $50,000,000 production was filmed around Vancouver, British Columbia (cheaper than across the border) and in the medieval Italian town of Montepulciano. Worldwide grosses came to a whopping $709,711,000, 7th place for ’09, with at least another $185,000,000 generated in selling over 8,865,000 DVDs.
With Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Graham Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Michael Welch, Gil Birmingham.