The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) (part 1 of 6)
The movie’s monologuer and chief moper. An ordinary human girl with a monster fetish. Bella enjoys whining, staring blankly, having fits of hysteria, and piña coladas.
Yes, that’s right, everyone, I’m back, and I’m bad. After my retirement from the Agony Booth, I had no plans to ever write another recap, but things changed. If you’re looking for someone to thank, then thank the person who wrote in and all but begged me to recap the sequel to Twilight. Since I loved writing that recap so much, it didn’t take a lot for me to decide that I should finish what I started.
Those who were on the Agony Booth forums before the first movie came out may recall me describing my plans to see the original Twilight in the cinema. I went with a friend, and we were planning to share a hip flask and have a good laugh at the movie’s expense. Unfortunately, our plans were ruined when (a) my friend had to drive us home and thus had to lay off the booze, and (b) we both enjoyed the movie against our expectations.
But all was not lost. The sequel rolled around, and I met up again with that same friend. And this time, our plan came to fruition. We shared a flask of mead and laughed ourselves stupid, and I left the cinema with a headache from laughing so much, and subsequently couldn’t actually remember a lot of what had happened in the movie.
What I do remember perfectly well, however, is that my prediction at the end of my Twilight recap was correct: This movie did indeed suck harder than its predecessor. In fact, it sucked so hard that it made me wonder why I ever liked the first one to begin with.
Admittedly, New Moon retains some of the things that were good about Twilight; namely, the orchestral soundtrack (but the same can’t be said of the pop songs this time around), the cinematography (particularly the lovely autumnal colour palette), and Bella’s friends. Unfortunately, Bella’s friends have a much smaller presence this time around, but that’s balanced out a little by the fact that Robert Pattinson as Edward is also absent for most of the movie, and is replaced by a much more likeable male lead.
And on top of the vampires who aren’t actually vampires, this movie (as well as the book it’s based on) now gives us werewolves who aren’t really werewolves. In most other movies, werewolves change at the first sign of the full moon; the werewolves of New Moon mostly change when someone shoves them really hard.
But what ultimately makes the sequel far less enjoyable is the script. Quite frankly, it’s tedious and dreary, very little happens, the protagonist loses most of her spunk and likeability from the first film, and the silly elements just get sillier. There’s actually more on-screen action than last time, but for some reason it doesn’t feel like it, even if it is better directed.
So to those who said I was too nice to Twilight, here be thy balm and succour. Because this time around I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t respect it, I mocked the shit out of it when I saw it in the cinema, and I’m going to do it again now. Enjoy.
The movie opens with a sepia-toned shot of the full moon, which slowly phases into a crescent to reveal the title. Very creative. And you’ll never guess how the movie proper starts. Yes, that’s right, it’s Bella back with another voiceover monologue!
This time, however, she’s not quoting Stephenie Meyer’s prose. No, it looks like they took my criticism of that to heart, because she’s quoting Shakespeare, of all things. Specifically, a few lines from Romeo and Juliet.
A shot of the sky turns into a crazy pan down into a classic stone city, where a clock hits noon and Bella appears, running frantically through a crowd of people in red robes.
Before we can process this, she’s suddenly running through shrubbery, and she emerges into a familiar place, which turns out to be the meadow from the first movie. No, she didn’t just teleport here. I’m sure it won’t take long for you to figure out what’s really going on here.
She steps out into the meadow, and sees an old woman on the opposite side of the clearing. She calls out, thinking it’s her grandmother.
Then Edward appears, pale as usual, and steps into the sun and does his customary sparkling. Bella warns that her grandmother will see him, but he just smiles at her and takes her by the hand.
They walk together toward Grandma Swan, and Bella starts introducing Edward to her, but then hears her own voice coming out of the old woman’s mouth. Then she realises she’s looking into a mirror, and the old woman is actually her.
Grandma Bella gets a kiss from the still-young Edward (on her hand, of course, because this isn’t some sick granny porn). Edward wishes her a happy birthday, and then…
…Bella wakes up, because that was all Bella’s dream. Of course it was. And I’d explain all that subtle symbolism we just witnessed, but that would make things too easy for you.
And when Bella wakes up, there’s a copy of a Shakespeare play on the pillow next to her. Guess which one!
Her dad’s knocking on her bedroom door, and he comes in with a present and wishes her happy birthday. Yes, it’s Bella’s birthday, which explains the inner turmoil that brought on the dream and blah blah blah.
Bella immediately reminds him that she asked for no presents. So I see she’s still her sweet and loveable self. Her dad, dear old Charlie, cheerily says that the present from him isn’t wrapped, so it doesn’t count. And yes, Charlie’s Mustache is back to reprise its classic role from Twilight! Unfortunately, the script doesn’t give the Mustache much to do, so all that talent is going to waste yet again.
The gift from Charlie is a nice digital camera, and surprisingly, Bella actually thanks him for it. The other present is a photo album from her mother. Bella is turning 18, and Charlie makes a remark about how she’s growing up so fast, and Bella gets unduly defensive.
He then jokes with her that she’s getting a grey hair, and she gets sulky with him. You know what? I’m 24 years old and I have several grey hairs already. It’s a family trait, and I personally think it’s cool. But then I’d like to think I’m a bit more mature than Bella.
Cut to a helicopter flyover of a national park in Bella’s hometown of Forks, Washington. An expository radio report lets us know that several hikers have been killed recently, supposedly by a wild animal. Dun dun dun!
Bella drives to school in her beat-up truck to the sounds of a forgettable rock song. When she gets there, she’s greeted by some welcome faces: her four friends, Mike, Eric, Angela, and Jessica. I have to admit, I’m happy to see them again. And oh, how things have changed since my previous recap. For one thing, there’s now an Oscar nominated actress in the Twilight series.
Bella gets them to pose for a photo for her scrapbook, but a moment later Mike looks annoyed. Naturally, it’s because Edward has arrived. The friends skedaddle as Edward pulls up and strides over in sexy slo-mo like he’s in a car commercial.
This time around, he’s actually pretty cheerful as he wishes Bella happy birthday. She mutters about how she’s now older than Edward, who’s eternally 17. He just laughs and points out that he’s 109, and they share a smooch. Aw.
As they’re about to head off to class, Edward notices that someone else has just intruded upon them: It’s Jacob, the totally-not-a-werewolf!
Jacob is played by Taylor Lautner, who between movies put on 26 pounds of muscle to avoid getting fired from the role. Needless to say, Bella immediately notices this. She even makes a joke in her monotone way about how steroids are bad for you. You know, Bella, remarking on a guy’s muscles like that might just be considered a tad on the flirty side.
Naturally, Jacob starts flirting back, all but asking her out while Edward watches. And you just know he’s loving doing this right in front of Edward. The rest of the movie will explain why there’s animosity between them, but for right now I’d like to pretend Jacob just thinks Edward is an asshole.
Now it’s Jacob’s turn to give Bella a birthday present, and it’s a dreamcatcher. No symbolism here! Jacob hugs her while—I swear—giving Edward a “whatcha gonna do about it, punk?” look over her shoulder.
Inside the school, Edward asks why Jacob was allowed to give her a birthday present, but Edward wasn’t. Bella says she wouldn’t have anything to give him in return. Edward replies with this gem:
Still, I suppose it would be mushily enjoyable if a guy ever really said that to me.
Cue the arrival of Alice Cullen. In case you’ve forgotten, Alice is Edward’s adoptive sister and fellow vampire, and she has mad psychic powers and can see the future. She and Bella have become good friends between movies, and Alice now hands over another birthday gift. This one is a new outfit, and Alice happily prophesises that Bella’s going to love it.
She also says they’ve organised a birthday party at the Cullen house that night, and Bella accepts, but possibly only because Alice’s significant other Jasper is nearby. You see, it turns out Jasper’s vampire power is “mood control”, whatever that means.
In English class, everybody’s watching an old black and white version of Romeo and Juliet, and we learn that this school does in fact have more than one teacher.
A pan over the faces of the class shows Jessica and Angela looking all romantic and weepy, Eric having a good cry, and Mike looking bored, of course.
Meanwhile, Edward, who may have seen this movie on the day it came out, mutters contemptuously about how Romeo was a moron who killed his beloved out of sheer stupidity. Which, in fact, is true.
Actually, everyone’s favourite author Stephenie Meyer said that Romeo and Juliet was a big inspiration to her when writing this book, hence all the heavy-handed allusions. Unfortunately, like most people, she doesn’t seem to realise that Romeo and Juliet was never meant to be a great love story. It was actually written as a satire, making fun of the stupid things teenagers do when they think they’re in love. Truth be told, if Romeo and Juliet hadn’t died in an idiotic fashion, they would have probably gotten a divorce before either of them hit twenty.
Edward then admits that he envies Romeo for one thing: he was able to kill himself. He talks about how humans can off themselves quite easily, whereas a vampire can’t. Bella, to her credit, is creeped out and asks why the hell he’s even talking about this.
Edward says he did in fact contemplate suicide once, in the first movie when Bella nearly got killed by James and Edward didn’t know if he’d get to her in time. Helpfully, they toss in clips from the first movie to show us what he’s talking about.
Edward says that he even came up with a way to kill himself: he could go to Italy and provoke the “Volturi”, whom we’ll be learning more about later.
Also, this is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Teenage love, people. They’re teenagers. And I don’t care that Edward’s meant to be 109; he’s a teenager in the brain. It still counts. Teenage love is cute and all, but think about it. Think of whoever you dated in high school. Are you still with that person now? I’m betting that for the vast majority of you, the answer is no.
I stayed single during my own teenage years, because teenage boys are pimply jerks, but I saw enough relationships begin and end back then to know how it goes. They almost never last. And frankly, contemplating suicide over a high school romance is just plain stupid. In fact, it’s exactly the kind of stupidity that Shakespeare was on about.
Killing yourself over some girl is just daft, and basically telling her that you might kill yourself over her is textbook abusive behaviour. Everyone knows this. It’s the kind of thing Dr. Phil constantly yells at people for doing. And yet, in this movie, it’s presented as totally romantic.
Suddenly, the English teacher busts them for talking during class, and to humiliate Edward for not paying attention, the teacher asks him to repeat the last few lines from the movie.
The teacher is stunned into silence when Edward recites the lines from memory. Naturally, it’s Romeo’s suicide monologue. Oh for the love of all that’s holy, movie, will you stop beating us over the head with this already? Edward and Bella are like Romeo and Juliet! I fucking get it, okay? Shut up!