As part of the ongoing Christmas cheer around here, my husband and I took Meelyn and Aisling to see New Moon yesterday afternoon. This was a major treat because we only go to the movies once a year or so and also because nearly all of their friends have seen it multiple times already.
"We may be the only two teenage girls in the United States who haven't seen this movie yet," Meelyn said eagerly when we told her of our plans yesterday morning. "Well. Except for the Amish teenage girls."
I can assure anyone else who has read the book but who has not yet seen the movie that it followed along with the novel surprisingly well, which, if you're me, meant that you wanted to feed Bella to an alligator about five minutes in. She is possibly the worst protagonist in modern American literature.
The roles of Bella and Edward are played by young actors Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson, and if you've ever wanted to see an unsmiling pair of mopey dullards, it would be those two. Well, I mean when they're in character. I'm absolutely certain that Kristin and Rob are lovely, smiley people in real life, but in this movie, they make true love -- even at a birthday party -- look about as desirable as a colorectal exam.
The only ray of light in this whole mess (both book and movie, but ESPECIALLY THE MOVIE) is Taylor Lautner, who should probably have sonnets written to his bare chest and poignant melodies to his dark eyes and bright smile. (Don't believe me? Click here.) *ahem* Young Mr. Lautner plays the role of Jacob Black, the werewolf, although anyone who is as much of a stickler to the codes of rightness and decency surrounding the horror genre of literature and film as I am knows that Jacob is technically not a werewolf, Stephenie Meyer, he is a shape-shifter. EVERYBODY knows that. But I digress.
Anyway, Edward leaves Forks with the rest of the Cullens, thinking that it is the best way to keep Bella safe because she smells so luscious to all the undead who flock to Washington state, which must be a hellmouth similar to Sunnydale. Joss Whedon, would you care to weigh in on that? He leaves her even though it just about flat-out kills him. Well, if he weren't immortal. And here's the point where I urgently need to add that there is a lot of talk about Romeo & Juliet here, but seriously. Seriously. Stephenie, do not flatter yourself.
At one point in the early scenes, Edward and Bella are in one another's arms, gazing humorlessly and with great angst into one another's eyes. "Bella, you give me everything I need just by breathing," Edward said with a facial expression indicating a severe migraine was coming on and he'd left his Flexoril back at home. My husband thought that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard and jacknifed himself over in his seat, wheezing. I sat tensely, wondering if we were going to be attacked by a swarm of Twi-hard fans, who would try to bludgeon us to death with the rolled up movie posters they bought at Barnes & Noble. Luckily, none of them appeared to hear him.
So Edward leaves and Bella becomes catatonic in spite of the fact that the hunky Jacob is hanging around, helping her repair some motorcycles she rescued from the junkyard because when she finally snaps out of her Edward-induced coma, she finds that she can discern his dreary presence warning her not to be reckless, which for the two-left-footed Bella is a simple matter like walking down the stairs. Jacob is big and handsome and endearing and he has a sense of humor - he likes life and he likes Bella and he couldn't have made it more obvious if he'd worn a great big sign.
But no. No. Bella needs must continue to pine for the absent Edward. And I would have been all, like, "EDWARD WHO??" but who can explain this dope? I know that Meelyn and Aisling can't, because when Edward, in an attempt to end his immortality by exposing his sparkliness to a crowd of humans after getting some bad info concerning Bella's demise (she tried to butter a piece of toast and cut her arm open and they thought she was going to bleed to death right there at the kitchen table: no, not really, but she probably could have) and ripped open his shirt to expose his twinkly skin there in the town square, his chest was so....narrow. So pallid and skinny, like a plucked hen, that the girls groaned audibly and Meelyn leaned over to hiss, "I HATE BELLA."
Bella and Edward are reunited there in Italy -- oh, yeah, there's a bunch of in-betweeny stuff like the wolf pack and the vengeful Victoria and the stolen Porsche and the Volturi -- and you might have hoped at this point that Bella and Edward could reach deep down inside and summon, I don't know, A SMILE??!! Because, you know, they're glad to see each other? But no. No. All they can do is hang around looking dejected and funereal together. I'm thinking that that one key scene, the one where Bella and Edward are lying together in that field of improbable flowers? It would have been better filmed in a freaking mortuary.
The unlucky Jacob gets kicked to the curb in spite of his heartfelt plea for Bella to give up her vampire-lovin' ways (prompting another outraged gasp from Meelyn and Aisling) and the movie ends with Edward popping the question, the BIG question, the question which causes most young women to clasp their hands and look at their sweethearts with starry-eyed delight. Instead, Bella looks like she's experiencing intense gastrointestinal distress. My husband and I both agreed that the director majorly missed the boat: this final scene would have been perfect if accompanied by the music of Meat Loaf singing "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)". Bummer.
The fight scenes in the movie were wonderful and made up for all the time when we had to watch Bella sit there longing for Edward while in the presence of the nicest, kindest and good-lookingest guy she could ever hope for. The special effects were pretty decent too. If you go to this movie prepared to exit the theater as a confirmed member of Team Jacob, I think you'll enjoy it.
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