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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (review)

Let’s Do This!

Bella Cullen. Mrs. Edward Cullen. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen. Ms. Bella Cullen.

Mrs. Jacob Black. Jacob and Bella Black. Mrs. Bella Black. Ms. Bella Swan Black.

Mrs. Bella Swan Cullen.
There came a point in this mind-numbing, butt-numbing — its running time is over two hours, but feels more like two days — ramble through unironic adolescent sexual terror when a band of buff, shirtless Indian lads is wandering through a misty wood in search of trouble. A smart director might have figured out some way to make this feel elemental and mythic, considering that the lads are werewolves shifted back into human form and Our Heroine, Bella Swan, is the innocent Red Riding Hood who’s running afoul of them. All the elements are there — they just need a touch of cleverness and wit to froth them up into something vaguely interesting. But Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About a Boy) doesn’t appear to have been concerned with adding any of the archetypal gravitas lacking from Stephanie Meyer’s hilariously trite source material: her novel of the same name [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]; the screenplay is by Melissa Rosenberg, a TV writer who also penned the first Twilight film. This is an earnest tale unhinged from any of the literary or cultural foundations propping it up, except when it explicitly throws them in your face in an attempt to show you how smart it is.

Not many viewers may recognize the snippet of voiceover verse Bella tosses at us as the film opens — “These violent delights have violent ends” — but the tenor of the words and Kristen Stewart’s prophetic intonation certainly make it sound Important. But no one could miss the overt invoking of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (the source of that dramatic line) a little while later, as Bella’s English class is watching a video of a performance and Edward — vampire Edward! sparkly Edward! always-on-the-verge-of-tears Edward! — recites back the last few lines at the teacher’s request even though he hasn’t been listening because he was talking to Bella!

I guess we should give New Moon credit for forcing that bit to serve more than one purpose: it drives home the fact that Twilight is a Romeo-and-Juliet story, in case you couldn’t already see that, and it reminds us how awesomely awesome and smart and romantic and tragic Edward is: he’s Romeo! and he can’t even kill himself over his heartbreak because he’s an immortal vampire! (Or can he? That forms the crux of what passes for plot here, which matters only so much as it becomes a reason for Bella and Edward to mope around a lot.)

So, I’m willing to give Weitz points if he really did intend for audiences to see a riff on West Side Story — you know, the Broadway musical based on R&J — with that half-naked Native American gang in the woods. I wanted to jump up and start singing, “When you’re werewolf, you’re werewolf all the way…” But I’m not so sure Weitz meant it to be as funny as it is… and he probably didn’t mean it to be funny at all.

By Bela Lugosi’s cape, this is a witless, humorless movie (except unintentionally in a few places, though not enough to make it enjoyable as camp). It’s about as deep and insightful and amorous as a teenaged girl’s playing Adopt the Name of the Cute Boy You Like and See How It Sounds. It’s one thing to indulge the mindset of girls Bella’s age, or a little younger — that moment when boys suddenly get intriguing but are at the same time terrifying is not a moment that movies often explore. And if the cinemas can be packed with movies pandering to adolescent male sexuality, it can only be seen as progress, I suppose, that adolescent female sexuality gets the same ignominious treatment.

But does it have to be this tedious? Two hours of pretty teenagers — including Bella’s werewolf friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner: Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D), who doesn’t like vampires but does like Bella — making moon eyes at one another around their triangle is about an hour-forty-five too much. (Robert Pattinson’s [Little Ashes, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire] Edward Cullen is actual 108 years old and frozen at 17, when he became a vampire, but there’s no real sense that he’s lived for more than a century. How the hell can he stand to go to high school every day, for one thing?) Does Bella have to be so damn annoying, and so poor a role model for all the girls in the audience who are in love with Edward, too? Stewart (Adventureland, Jumper) is an engaging screen presence, and she does try to enliven Bella as much as possible, but the character is shockingly passive: she doesn’t do much of anything, just stands around watching things happen to her… except when she’s behaving so recklessly that Edward has to come and protect her from herself. At the same time, Bella is absurdly perfect, from her name — she might as well be called Grace Lovely, or Elegance Splendor — to how every man finds her so irresistably attractive they are nearly incapable of controlling themselves around her. And all the while she puts herself down as ugly and utterly unworthy of Edward’s love.

Whatev.

There’s a movie within the movie that is New Moon, and it’s an action flick called Face Punch. Its tagline is: “Let’s do this!”

Now I just need a face to punch.


MPAA: rated PG-13 for some violence and action

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • Alli

    she might as well be called Grace Lovely, or Elegance Splendor

    There’s a movie within the movie that is New Moon, and it’s an action flick called Face Punch. Its tagline is: “Let’s do this!”

    Haha. This is exactly how I felt when I read that first book.

  • j4yx0r

    By Bela Lugosi’s cape, this is a witless, humorless movie (except unintentionally in a few places, though not enough to make it enjoyable as camp).

    It might be useful to add an additional widget to your traffic light indicators: Wait for Rifftrax.

    ~j

  • I’m racking my brains for any overly earnest, teen romance angst movie from the Generation X era that could qualify as a comparison to the stuff (Twilight, but also True Blood on TV, the Anita Blake series in pulp lit, et al.) we get nowadays. Maybe the Molly Ringwald/John Hughes collaborations like Sixteen Candles… but lacking in vampires and werewolves, which is the pity of it I suppose. Did Brooke Shields’ Endless Love have romantically-inclined zombies or dashing gun-fight/car-chase scenes? Don’t think it did… Although the printing of Jane Austen’s recovered classic “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” will certainly make up for that loss.

    I’m just wondering if your review is biased because of the type of films you’ve grown up watching: I can’t recall this kind of Harlequin-esque fantasy-date movie from the 1980s or early 90s (most teen romance movies were straight-forward Romeo & Juliet remixes like Valley Girl). I’d excuse it as a generational thing, that the teens of this era are growing up with these, well bizarre romances, except that their moms (our generation) are even crazier fans… so it can’t be that. Maybe it’s the romance genre itself…

  • David

    This movie seems to be such a known uatity, no review will ever convince people to see/skip it. I wonder why review it at all? As pure entertainmnet? It certainly was a good read.

  • Mimi

    Now, to be fair, you did just write in another post that you haven’t read the books (correct?), so are you terming it “Stephanie Meyer’s hilariously trite source material” based on reading book reviews, general critical reception, or what?

    Also — can’t believe I’m defending/explaining this crap, and truly, I didn’t think the first movie was well done at all, so I’m not expecting much out of #2 — but if you’ve read the books, they explain that Edward can answer questions even when he’s not been listening because he can read minds and thus “hear” what answer the person’s expecting. There were several instances like this in the first movie, and it sounds like in the second too, where something made no sense at all unless you already knew the explanation from the book — that’s a film-making flaw, true, though the number of people willing to see these movies who have not read the books has got to be miniscule… outside long-suffering critics. :)

  • Mimi

    Oh, and the Romeo and Juliet thing was over the top in the book too… I felt like the author was just REALLY PROUD of her English BA. Another bang-head-on-table-why-am-I-reading-this-can’t-stop-reading-this moment. In the third book she’s all about “Wuthering Heights,” in exactly the same way. In the fourth one, she involves “Merchant of Venice” in a slightly more subtle way. On the upside, I told myself, surely girls who never would have looked at Shakespeare or “Wuthering Heights” otherwise were compelled to do so…

  • Bluejay

    On the upside, I told myself, surely girls who never would have looked at Shakespeare or “Wuthering Heights” otherwise were compelled to do so…

    Have you seen the new editions of “Wuthering Heights” and “Pride and Prejudice” with cover designs echoing the “Twilight” covers, and with stickers saying things like “Bella and Edward’s favorite book”? Brilliant marketing.

  • birdy

    it’s true. every single old generation will bag on the new criticizing its pop culture. i can already hear maryann johanson telling her kids to “turn that crap down” when they’re playing fergie and jayz. the same was done to her when she was a teenager listening to the rolling stones or something. everything was ALWAYS so great in their generation and they NEVER can understand the kids these days. the girls were sooo much more independent burning their bras and they absolutely NEVER doodled boys last names nor ever cried over a boy. kids were soooo much smarter when she was in school and all her friends read dante and war and peace for fun– not things like twilight.

    old people are funny. you’re supposed to criticize sometihng for what it is, not what you want it to be. you should review based on what it aspires to be. do you go to a chinese restaurant and criticize it for not having pad thai? no. cause that would be stupid. this isn’t a movie for old ladies and it’s not supposed to have all the elements you feel are lacking. if the younger generation wanted those things, then we would be flocking to buy those books and see those movies. what’s next, are you going to rip ba sesame street, barney and hannah montana? this movie speaks to its audience effectively. answer the question wehther it did that. is it what it aspires to be?

    nevermind you’re old and don’t get it. i’m not going to enjoy a book about menopause either while you’d find it hilarious.

  • Teresa

    Kristen Stewart was never in the movie Jumper. If you’re thinking of the female in that movie, it was Rachel Bilson. I’d suggest doing research, first.

  • JoshB

    @Teresa:

    Yes, Kristen Stewart was in Jumper. She appeared briefly at the end. Try doing research first.

  • Bluejay

    do you go to a chinese restaurant and criticize it for not having pad thai?

    No, but there are great Chinese restaurants and crappy Chinese restaurants.

    birdy, you bring up some interesting points that are worth arguing over, but you’d get a lot more people to listen to you if you took out the angry personal attacks. Just a suggestion.

  • MaryAnn

    it’s true. every single old generation will bag on the new criticizing its pop culture.

    Yup, that explains my negative review *High School Musical 3*. Oh, wait. That review was positive. Hmmm…

    Old lady? Christ, birdy, I’m 40. I’m a decade away from menopause. *Twilight* sucks because it’s dumb, not because it’s aimed at young people. You mustn’t have much respect for yourself or your peers.

    Kristen Stewart was never in the movie Jumper. If you’re thinking of the female in that movie, it was Rachel Bilson. I’d suggest doing research, first.

    Stewart most certainly does appear in *Jumper.* [See here: http://www.kstewartfan.org/gallery/index.php?cat=20 ] I’d suggest doing research first.

    I’m totally Team Jacob though, I mean come on he is so hot in this one, check out these great pics I found

    I almost deleted this as spam, but it’s too hilarious. Hot? I guess if you like guys who spent eight hours day working out.

    Now, to be fair, you did just write in another post that you haven’t read the books (correct?), so are you terming it “Stephanie Meyer’s hilariously trite source material” based on reading book reviews, general critical reception, or what?

    I knew someone would nitpick this. Yes, it’s based on all of the above, plus reading excerpts and skimming the book: it’s not exactly a rich literary experience.

    if you’ve read the books, they explain that Edward can answer questions even when he’s not been listening because he can read minds and thus “hear” what answer the person’s expecting.

    Same difference, though, don’t you think: He spouts Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Whatever the reason, it’s meant to make him look extra super romantic.

  • Accounting Ninja

    it’s true. every single old generation will bag on the new criticizing its pop culture. i can already hear maryann johanson telling her kids to “turn that crap down” when they’re playing fergie and jayz. the same was done to her when she was a teenager listening to the rolling stones or something.

    Or something. You old people and your Rolling Stones.

    everything was ALWAYS so great in their generation and they NEVER can understand the kids these days. the girls were sooo much more independent burning their bras and they absolutely NEVER doodled boys last names nor ever cried over a boy. kids were soooo much smarter when she was in school and all her friends read dante and war and peace for fun– not things like twilight.

    Yup, that’s all crotchedy old MaryAnn does all day long. It’s really getting tiresome to hear her regale us with stories of The Olden Days When Everything Was Awesome.

    old people are funny.

    God, the 80s were old. Stop living in the PAST!

    you’re supposed to criticize sometihng for what it is, not what you want it to be. you should review based on what it aspires to be.

    Hey, she’s old, and her psychic powers have diminished with her advanced age. You should have seen her back in Ye Olde 80s, man! She could totally predict a movie’s aspirations even before it came out! Those were some damn good times. Or so my Grandpa told me.

    do you go to a chinese restaurant and criticize it for not having pad thai? no. cause that would be stupid.

    Well, old people do get confused sometimes. They forget where they are.

    this isn’t a movie for old ladies and it’s not supposed to have all the elements you feel are lacking. if the younger generation wanted those things, then we would be flocking to buy those books and see those movies. what’s next, are you going to rip ba sesame street, barney and hannah montana? this movie speaks to its audience effectively. answer the question wehther it did that. is it what it aspires to be?

    So Twilight should be held to the rigorous standards of children’s television programming…check. Hey, just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new.

    nevermind you’re old and don’t get it. i’m not going to enjoy a book about menopause either while you’d find it hilarious.

    Well, I think we can all agree that menopause is indeed hilarious. Kids don’t know what they’re missing.

  • doa766

    considering how stupid was “vampire baseball” I kept wondering how would “vampire sex” would look like, what would he do with her?

  • LaSargenta

    @ Accounting Ninja: Thanks! Now I don’t need to reply to birdy’s defensive accusations!

    Actually, @ birdy…lemme tell ya, I’m older than MAJ by 3 years and the Rolling Stones were old when I was a teen. And my Clash, Agnostic Front, Black Flag, Dead Kennedies, and Killing Joke would STILL kick your Hannah Montana to the curb — most of the memebers are still alive, still playing, and surprisingly buff.

    From where I stand, it isn’t about how different you guys are and we can’t understand it, it is about looking at this thing contextually and seeing that for some reason this writer has managed to make vampires sexless and yet make that attractive. This isn’t about cool androgeny, but about abstenance when vampires in fiction and lore were really about dangerous sexual encounters.

    So, my dear birdy, if you are interested in going outside the mainstream and investigating a relatively modern vampire who, to me, maintains that danger and even brings it well into the present, Google “Ulric” and “Califia”. Of course, there is a good chance that the sites with info will be blocked if you are under 18.

  • Alli

    “considering how stupid was “vampire baseball” I kept wondering how would “vampire sex” would look like, what would he do with her?”

    He’d bite pillow. Not kidding. Chapter 5 of Cleolinda’s summary: http://cleolinda.livejournal.com/630150.html

  • Alli

    whoops. Forgot the block quotes. That was in response to Doa766

  • TGP

    Loved the way the review began, more creative than all four books.

  • Isobel

    I apologise in advance ’cause I’ve really had far too many glasses of wine to be commenting. That NZ sauvingon blanc, though – who can resist?

    Te secks was one of the most awful bits of the whole ‘saga’, I have to admit (whe it finally happens, once they’re married at the age of 17/100 and whatever in ‘Breaking Dawn’). I read a really interesting review of Twilight et al from the perspective of an ex-Mormon (I’m sure everyone already knows, but Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon) which looked at the Bella/Edward relationship from a hardline Mormon point of view, but that’s slightly beside the point. The point is that ‘te secks’ when it happened, ended up with a bitten pillow (oh yes), a broken bed and a Bella that was bruised and damaged all over. But she loved it, and ‘provoked’ Edward into bruising her and hurting her all over again. Ugh.

    I had to giggle at the 8 hours working out comment. Why is it that muscles that got there through hard work are just so compelling, and gym muscles just don’t work? Perhaps it’s just the thought of all that ‘aaaaargggghh’ing in the mirror that wipes out the whole gym muscles thing for me.

    Oh yes, and Cleolinda is a Twilight snark goddess.

  • Mo

    I’m racking my brains for any overly earnest, teen romance angst movie from the Generation X era that could qualify as a comparison to the stuff…we get nowadays. …. I’d excuse it as a generational thing, that the teens of this era are growing up with these, well bizarre romances, except that their moms (our generation) are even crazier fans… so it can’t be that. Maybe it’s the romance genre itself…

    There’s a simple explanation: Generation X was born before Star Wars, Generation Y was born after Star Wars.

    All our stories growing up have had a dash of myth added, so it really isn’t surprising that the fanfiction-style drivel would come with a generous helping of epic too. Pity it takes the epic down with it.

    As for the moms… well, that’s your generation. I can’t help you there. The sheer terror is too overwhelming. Perhaps they wish it was a time machine back to their own youth?

    On the upside, I told myself, surely girls who never would have looked at Shakespeare or “Wuthering Heights” otherwise were compelled to do so…

    Oh, crap. So now not only do I have to share my favorite band with Stephenie Meyer (Muse) and all the insane fans she sends our way, AND let the Twihards invade my little corner of scifi/fantasy fandom, but she’s also been sending them off towards my favorite part of college too. Like you, I’ve been saying ever since the New Moon soundtrack came out with many of my favorite bands on it (is there a way to delete album art off itunes?) that at least the world will be a better place if the teeny boppers start listening to Lykki Li and Bon Iver instead of Lady Gaga. But I can’t take it any more. I have nothing left. Sorry for the rant, but Twilight has invaded my world and stomped on it all.

    Get out of my world!

    I do have to kind of echo those who wonder about the point of a review this far into the game. The sides are pretty entrenched now. The twihards are unreachable and will descend on you in droves for this, the haters already know they hate it, and anyone who hasn’t made up their mind is probably going to watch the first movie first anyway.

    …But at least the crazies are good for a laugh.

  • LaSargenta

    The point of a review is that MAJ is a reviewer of movies and this is a movie, for better or worse and this is her avocation. (Well, and probably her sport and her passtime, too.)

  • LaSargenta

    I read a really interesting review of Twilight et al from the perspective of an ex-Mormon (I’m sure everyone already knows, but Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon) which looked at the Bella/Edward relationship from a hardline Mormon point of view, but that’s slightly beside the point.

    D’ya mind telling us where to read that? I didn’t know she’s a mormon and I don’t know enough about LDS to have a clue about how that would affect her writing about vampires; I’m curious.

  • maureen

    Mary Ann- This review was almost as funny as your initial Twilight review!

    As to people claiming that the Twilight franchise should be reviewed on its merits… I guess everyone is subjective and maybe if you’re interested just go see the film and decide for yourself wether or not its good.

    Personally, watching vampires sparkle in an absence of plot (New Moon had the least plot to me out of all four books) for 2 hours sounds really unappealing.

  • Isobel

    This is particularly snarky and wasn’t the one I was thinking of (it must have been nearly a year ago, now) but it’s got some interesting links to Mormon literature http://stoney321.livejournal.com/317176.html (sorry, I don’t know how to put links in as links). Googling ‘mormon twilight review’ comes up with a lot of links.

  • Mimi

    @ Bluejay – I haven’t! And that’s hilarious! I should have known — it was a marketing opportunity not to be missed.

  • LaSargenta

    @ Isobel — Thanks!

  • Mo

    The point of a review is that MAJ is a reviewer of movies and this is a movie, for better or worse and this is her avocation. (Well, and probably her sport and her passtime, too.)

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that, I meant it in a more existential way, I guess you could say. What is the point of any review of this movie?

    Some movies critics can have a huge impact on for better or worse. Some movies are critic proof. Then there’s Twilight- I keep picturing those scenes in 28 Days Later where someone lights a candle or turns on some Christmas lights and all the zombies from miles around flock Triffid-like to any sign of movement.

  • MaryAnn

    As to people claiming that the Twilight franchise should be reviewed on its merits…

    I did revew *New Moon* on its merits. Its merits suck. So to speak.

  • That forms the crux of what passes for plot here, which matters only so much as it becomes a reason for Bella and Edward to mope around a lot.

    That is a hilarious line that sums up the entire movie.

    I don’t drop the “L” word too often, but I think I Love Mary’s reviews.

    Words of Advice: don’t ever drunk Flick Filosophize

  • Oh yeah, I just wanted to say….

    …the commentators on this website overuse the word “snarky.”

  • MaSch

    I’m somewhat disappointed that the most urgent question about this movie has not been discussed in the review: How hot is Michael Sheen in this movie?

  • ignominious

    I just learned a new word today – thanks to your review!

    +1 for Mary!

  • zids

    MaryAnn,I was so looking forward to this review. Kinda miss the 12-year-old fangirl alter ego you assumed in reviewing Twilight.

    Now I’ve never watched the movies or read the books, but should I do those anyway in keeping up with the “in” in pop culture (as well as get a glimpse into teens’ minds) – trash they night be – or should I save myself time and skip them altogether?

  • MaryAnn

    I’m somewhat disappointed that the most urgent question about this movie has not been discussed in the review: How hot is Michael Sheen in this movie?

    As I expected, he’s barely in the movie: two scenes, though one is rather longish. Yes, he’s hot — and you actually feel the vampiric threat from him — but it’s not enough for even devoted Sheen fans to bother with the film.

    MaryAnn,I was so looking forward to this review. Kinda miss the 12-year-old fangirl alter ego you assumed in reviewing Twilight.

    Thanks. I didn’t see how I could repeat that and make it original. Believe me, though, I thought long and hard about how to write this review. If I’d had more than 12 hours in between when my screening ended and my deadline with a few newspapers that were waiting for the review — and I had to sleep during some of those hours — I might have come up with something.

    Now I’ve never watched the movies or read the books, but should I do those anyway in keeping up with the “in” in pop culture (as well as get a glimpse into teens’ minds) – trash they night be – or should I save myself time and skip them altogether?

    Movies take up less time. Watch the movies — or even just the first one — if you really must have a taste.

  • Chris

    Ok, I’m 24; maybe not YOUTH youth, but still, not old either. Twilight blows. My roommate’s girlfriend was obsessed with them, and I attempted to wade through it, just out of curiousity. Gag. The prose was insultingly bad, and creepy to boot.

    One thing I will say is that the actors do seem to try. I don’t know how they speak some of their lines without projectile vomiting, but I suppose that’s a testament to their skill

    This isn’t an “old vs. young” thing. This is a “people who have taste vs people who like pandering, creepy garbage”

  • Josh Baskin

    “Bella Cullen. Mrs. Edward Cullen. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen. Ms. Bella Cullen.

    Mrs. Jacob Black. Jacob and Bella Black. Mrs. Bella Black. Ms. Bella Swan Black.

    Mrs. Bella Swan Cullen.”

    Sometimes with the hyphen. Sometimes without the hyphen. Sometimes she spells the hyphen.

    Fuck this movie. Reading “Going Rouge” is more enjoyable.

  • @mo:

    “Get out of my world!”

    There’s a funny XKCD (alas, can’t find the link quickly) where some people trash Twilight on a message board, and the writer gets revenge by having Edward mention in her next book that it’s his favorite message board evar! Tweens flood the board, destroying all intelligent discourse, and even the Twilight-haters have to admit the revenge was well-played. *snicker*

  • TJP

    @bzero

    There’s a funny XKCD (alas, can’t find the link quickly) where some people trash Twilight on a message board, and the writer gets revenge by having Edward mention in her next book that it’s his favorite message board evar! Tweens flood the board, destroying all intelligent discourse, and even the Twilight-haters have to admit the revenge was well-played. *snicker*

    Except the board that they invaded was 4chan’s /b/, which has NO intelligent discourse at all. In fact, if you value your sanity, never EVER check it out.

    That was a hilarious XKCD though. http://xkcd.com/591/

    MJ – thanks for wasting your time to go see this movie and writing it up, so the rest of us don’t have to ;)

  • trina

    As teenage angst porn fantasy, it is what it is. Yes, the dialogue is mind-blowingly overwrought and the characters so horribly flat that they don’t really register. But for a certain segment of the population it’s fine. They will outgrow it and laugh at their simplicity. It is the middle-age women who have been sucked in that I find creepy. First of all, he is 100+, she is 16. Yuck. Most glaring for me though is WHY THE HELL WOULD A RICH VAMPIRE CHOOSE TO GO TO HIGH SCHOOL??? It is just so unbelievable to me that anyone over 16 can take this at all seriously.

  • JoshB

    Except the board that they invaded was 4chan’s /b/

    Stephanie Meyer sent her tween minions to 4chan? Shouldn’t that count as child endangerment?

  • LaSargenta

    Stephanie Meyer sent her tween minions to 4chan? Shouldn’t that count as child endangerment?

    Only in xkcd.
    [ http://www.xkcd.com ]

  • MaryAnn

    It is the middle-age women who have been sucked in that I find creepy.

    Me too. It’s not that they’re older and the boys are, well, boy-ish, if not quite actually children. It’s *these particular boys* who are so unappealing to me, as an adult woman, and I cannot fathom why other (supposedly) adult women would find them attractive. 16-year-old girls? I get that. 40-year-old women? WTF?

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, and I should add: A fellow film critic (a man who’s a little older than me) pretend-scolded me for scoffing at *New Moon,* saying that if I were 15, I’d love it.

    But I wouldn’t. I didn’t like this kind of crap when I was a teenager, either. So it’s not just an age thing.

  • JoshB

    Only in xkcd

    Oh, now I get it. And: Hee!

  • Paul

    I remember going to a Heart concert a few years ago; I was a fan of them in the 80s and the woman who brought me was a fan of their 70s work. Regardless, most of the crowd was middle aged and having a lot of fun, and I noticed that the teenagers brought by their parents were surprised at how much fun they were having. Why? Because they just don’t realize how much better bands like Heart are than these Barbie and Backstreet Ken doll fronts for Corporate Music until they actually listen to the music.

    As an aside, I don’t consider a rock singer a real musician until I learn they also play a musical instruament or write their own songs. I realize there are probably exceptions, but I do suspect most of them of coasting on their pretty looks and pretty voices.

  • LaSargenta

    I didn’t like this kind of crap when I was a teenager, either. So it’s not just an age thing.

    I poked around in my brain for what, exactly, I went to see when I was 14/15/16 and came up (with the help of a phone call or two) with some things that actually surprise me a bit i that these were movies that me and girlfriends from school went to see. There are obvious movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chariots of Fire, and Tron. But, I remember us also going repeatedly (and sneaking in ’cause many of these were R) to watch Blade Runner, DIVA (omg! Diva! I actually bought the VHS of this years ago and would take it to friends’ places to watch about once every three months! I love this movie! So did all my friends! Even the ones who weren’t punks and into theater! OMG!!!!!!!) Cat People, Eating Raoul, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Return of Martin Guerre, Lola and Veronika Voss (both Fassbinder films), Outland, Escape from New York, Prince of the City, My Favorite Year, Das Boot, and Diner.

    OK, maybe we were wannabe intellectuals. And maybe not. One girl at my school managed to filtch the poster for Prince of the City and would kiss Treat Williams’ photo every night and she was what I would think of as a fairly “normal” teen girl at the time. That’s a faaaar different thing than what I’m seeing now.

    I mean, when I was 15, there was Raiders of the Lost Ark, making most girls I knew hot for Harrison Ford! I, however, wanted to be Snake Pliskin, but I’m weird. One of my friends in my 20’s would introduce me as “She’s a female Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs!”

    Anyhow, I was a teenager once. I watched a lot of movies. I even saw the crap ones. (I just listed above ones me and my friends remember seeing and liking.) I think this Twilight crap is bizarre.

  • Mo

    There’s a funny XKCD…

    Yeah, I’ve seen that one. Heehee… trolls are allergic to sparkles apparently.

    It is eerily accurate, though. I ended up staying away from Muse messageboards for the months after the first Twilight movie came out. I guess Mrs. Meyer has actually released lists of which Muse songs correspond to which chapters of the book…

  • Alli

    You guys do know we have to go through this all over again in 7 months, right?

  • maureen

    yeah I know- and again after that sigh. But in ten years time it will all be forgotten (I hope).

    and Mary ann I wasn’t criticing your review earlier, I was agreeing with it :) Someone above me was claiming you were reviewing poorly or something and I was just saying that every reviewer is going to be subjective so if you think the movie is good, go see it and don’t pick on the reviewer for their opinion :)

    bta I agree, I see little to no merit in the entire Twilight franchise- the books included, other than they get some teens to read? That’s really all I can think of.

  • Orangutan

    Caution, the following post may contain spoilers.

    yeah I know- and again after that sigh.

    I am actually kind of looking forward to Breaking Dawn. I want to know how they handle the whole demon-baby pregnancy and the ‘Edwardian section’ birth scene.

    But in ten years time it will all be forgotten (I hope).

    Oh how I pray you’re right. To whatever deity is listening, I don’t care, I just pray that.

    bta I agree, I see little to no merit in the entire Twilight franchise- the books included, other than they get some teens to read? That’s really all I can think of.

    I’d agree with this, and even give the series (not a saga!) credit for that, if it weren’t for all the accounts I’ve read, anecdotes, forum postings, etc, that seem to indicate that they just continue to read the Twibooks over and over and over again, not move on to better things.

    Also, birdy’s post is characteristic of your standard Twitard attack post, though lengthier and with somewhat better grammar. The ‘you’re too old you don’t get it!’ method. It’s normally accompanied by an ‘if you hate it so much, why did you read/see it??’, or one of my personal favorites, “if you can’t say anything good, then you shouldn’t say anything at all!!1!”.

  • Pedro

    Birdy, read above you. I’ve heard most people criticize the FORTY-YEAR-OLDS who go see these movies, not the teens and tweens. Which makes your rant…

    …ENTIRELY POINTLESS!

    But there does seem to be a discrepancy, even between my generation (i’m 24) and today’s 15 and 16 year olds. It’s like they’re getting more and more braindead, spoiled and shallow. I was all those things in high school (maybe not so much braindead, but definitely goofy, spoiled, silly and a little shallow at times, although i pretended not to be), but man, these kids just take it to the next level, don’t they?

    Also, I’ve just finished reading Pride and Prejudice, and it’s an EXTREMELY easy book to read. Once you get past the weird verb tenses and understand what the more outdated words mean, it’s a gripping, fluent read. Unlike Wuthering Heights, which I had to plod through at age 17, I could have read P&P with no problem at all. I recommend it to all the tweenie girls – it’s certainly better than this crap! Or if you think you’re not ready/can’t be bothered, then AT LEAST go read Potter or something. Just not this steaming, mythos-destroying, disrespectful pile of fluffy dogshit.

  • Pedro

    “I almost deleted this as spam, but it’s too hilarious. Hot? I guess if you like guys who spent eight hours day working out.”

    MaryAnn, from experience, that’s EXACTLY what most tweens, teens and even some early-twentysomething women like.

  • Accounting Ninja

    MaryAnn, from experience, that’s EXACTLY what most tweens, teens and even some early-twentysomething women like.

    You are so totally right, Pedro. And all tween, teen and twentysomething boys love bleach blonde hair, huge tits on the frames of 12 year old boys, and IQs of 80. Even as they get older, men may learn to supress that shallow nature, but it’s always there. Stupid fucking bastards. Why don’t they like me!?!?

  • Trish

    Mary Ann, thank you for this review. I loathed the first book (and read no more nor watched the movies), and two of my best friends (we’re all thirty and went to high school together) have been sucked in by the franchise. It’s so bad that we can’t even talk about it. One friend groans, “Jacob is sooooo hoooooot” and my immediate “Pedophile!” retort displeases her immensely. So it’s best just not to talk about it, three friends divided over this anti-woman, pro-abstinence, “It’s okay because he loves me,” garbage.

    I was so lucky when I was a teenager – I nurtured my angst with The Crow, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary Reilly, and lots of other that had some merit beyond OMG he are quote shake-spear looooooooove! Sparkly! Win! While I don’t claim to be intelligent about film (I pretty much only watch horror – I’d rather watch a no-budget horror film over a chick -flick/action blockbuster/moving drama any day) I do know that Twilight is an insult to everyone: vampire and human, sparkly and non-sparkly, intellect and village idiot. Teen girls and their mothers deserve so much more; they really, truly do.

  • MaryAnn

    I mean, when I was 15, there was Raiders of the Lost Ark, making most girls I knew hot for Harrison Ford! I, however, wanted to be Snake Pliskin, but I’m weird.

    I wanted to be Indiana Jones. :->

    And Pedro, if you really think that about women, you’re not hanging out with enough women.

  • Matthew

    A little something to add to this “you wouldn’t understand, you’re too old” debate. Some ages:

    Stephenie Meyer – 36 on December 24
    Chris Weitz – 40 on November 30
    Melissa Rosenberg – 47

    Looks like a bunch of oldies who can’t possibly understand the young, to me. Actually, it doesn’t, but by the criteria that Birdy advanced it does…

  • Knightgee

    I’ve never understood the appeal behind these types of movies. I get that as a male, I’m not in the target audience, but I can be moved emotionally by a good romance and I can even get invested in a trashy one. But this movie and the series it comes from are like trashy romance novels that have been gutted of all instances of sex, innuendo(of the intentional kind, don’t get me started on that wolf pack) and chemistry. It’s all the melodrama of romance but none of the intimacy, chemistry, and passion. It’s no fun.

    And what exactly is the plot of these movies anyway? The movie never seems to be building towards a climax so much as it seems as if a conflict contrives its way into the story 3/4ths of the way through.

  • Becca

    The funny thing is, when I get on the subject of Twilight and voice my opinion of it, I get told I must not be mature enough for the whole thing. Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket are for babies, not college kids, apparently.

    Yet these same girls were making fun of me for reading Oscar Wilde and historical textbooks in fourth grade. Can’t win, can I?

  • LaSargenta

    I wanted to be Indiana Jones. :->

    Maybe we should start a club!

    I never did get a snake tattoo on my abdomen, but I did manage to have a few adventures and be fairly existentialist for a few years.

    Or maybe we need to get more kickass female action heroes. I saw a trailer for Salt somewhere on the web and it actually looks pretty good. Angela Jolie hasn’t really be on my radar but I’ll go and see that movie — which I was thinking of doing anyhow as Schreiber is in it.

  • zids

    Watched Twilight last night on cable. God, what a stinking pile of crap. If I was looking for forbidden love with vampires, I’d rather re-watch Buffy and Angel all over again.

    Speaking of which…

    http://www.newmoonmovie.org/2009/06/buffy-versus-twilight-the-video-mashup/

    A summary of what might happen if Edward Cullen falls in love with Buffy.

  • from the point of view of someone who really enjoyed the books, i thought New Moon (the movie adaptation) was entertaining, true to the book too

  • Mel

    @birdy

    Like Chris, I am the ancient age of 24 (sheesh), and I’m still pretty into vampires (when I was a teenager I adored the Anita Blake books; since then I’ve kind of moved towards books where the vampires are creepier, and I’m not so fond of the cheesy softcore porn the AB books have become). Only 6-10 years ago, I was the target audience for Twilight…

    …but I’m not a believer in abstinence, I’m creeped out by stalkers (having one in high school will do that to you, and it’s why I went from a Phantom of the Opera fan who thought Erik and Christine were Meant to Be to one who thought Christine was well out of a bad situation).

    I don’t dislike Twilight because I’m oooooold (24 is not old), or because I don’t like vampire/werewolf fiction, but because I think the books are poorly written, the characters are cliched and ridiculous, and the moral messages don’t sit well with me. Bella’s wedding morning-after? Textbook abuse. I don’t know why anyone thinks that’s romantic.

  • Pedro

    1. MAJ, you’re absolutely right, that IS what some/most of us men like. Sad But True, as Metallica would say.

    2. I should rephrase. That is what most women like in their CELEBRITIES. Not necessarily true for “real-life” men. Unfortunately, for some men, the “Barbie doll” criteria extends outside of the movie or TV screen. I used to be like that, still am to an extent. But some women are pretty, hot or sexy exactly because they’re IM-perfect.

    Still, I’d be a hypocrite if I said I don’t find Megan Fox or that Australian girl who is also in Transformers attractive.

    So sorry if I came across as immature or asshole-y.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Number one was probably directed at me, for my facetious response about bleach-blonde bimbos. I actually don’t think that, but I used to and also used to say it. Often. And yeah, it sounds immature. Asshole is a bit of a stretch, I think it’s more born from inexperience. But I said it so you’d see how silly it sounds, really. I forced myself to stop saying and thinking such self-defeating, untrue statements and start looking at the opposite sex for the individuals that they are.
    Maybe a lot of women like that in their celebrities, but one of my biggest and longest celeb crushes ever was Patrick Stewart. And MAJ drools over David Tennant, and while he’s very cute, I’d hardly call him a stereotypical beefcake. But that’s not to say lots of women don’t also like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp or whatever. They don’t do much for me, personally.

    “I used to be like that, still am to an extent.”

    I’ll say the same thing I say to my 22 year old little brother-in-law that you sound a bit like: if you have these exacting standards, don’t be pissed because you don’t meet a woman’s exacting standards. If you think gorgeous women should “date down” and give you a chance, but you won’t “date down” and give less pretty women a chance, well that’s classic hypocrisy my friend. Just saying. I don’t know how much “still am to an extent” we’re talking.

  • Hien

    Does Bella have to be so damn annoying, and so poor a role model for all the girls in the audience who are in love with Edward, too?

    Thank you. Thank you!!

    That is all.

  • Lauren

    I was thrilled that New Moon was better. At least it had a bit of a sense of humor (like Star Trek, The Journey Home when Spock swears, it’s not realllllly funny, but it was something), Bella didn’t grunt as though constipated nearly as often and it wasn’t as blue.

    As to defense of the stories – it’s romance, people. If we wanted real life, we’d watch Roseanne reruns, if we wanted love on a higher plane, we’d read Jane Austen… when you want a long, drawn out love amongst filthy rich, beautiful people that WORKS OUT, you read cheesy romance novels. You know you aren’t any smarter at the end of it, but you feel good about it and that’s all you were after.

  • Knightgee

    @Lauren: Why is it being romance some kind of defense for it’s sub-par story? Romeo and Juliet, the book this movie insists on referencing itself to, had a tale of warring families as the backdrop to it’s romance. It used that story to facilitate the romantic drama, rather than doing what this movie did by meandering from one event to another with only loose hints of an actual story arc. It being a romance is not an excuse for sub-par story-telling, but even if it were, this movie and these books would still fail on the basis that the characters are too flat to be worth caring about.

    Edward is so devoid of personality and described in such generic terms for beauty that I imagine most readers are not enthralled by Edward as he is presented, but rather by impressions they’ve placed onto him This allows them to more easily see themselves in the heroine, who is just as empty, making her the perfect avatar for the readers own imagination. There is no sense of romantic chemistry between these two. They lack the dangerous passion of Heathcliff and Catherine, the witty banter of Lizzy and Darcy, and the wide-eyed romantic naivete of Romeo and Juliet, which would be a problem if not for the series constantly referencing those relationships as being so similar to Bella and Edward. They are the most boring pretty rich people I’ve ever read about.

    You can’t even defend the story as cheesy schlocky romance because it fails at being that as well. At least in trashier novels, they’d bump uglies, but they don’t even do that.

  • Robert M.

    @Knightgee

    I’ve never understood the appeal behind these types of movies. I get that as a male, I’m not in the target audience, but I can be moved emotionally by a good romance and I can even get invested in a trashy one. But this movie and the series it comes from are like trashy romance novels that have been gutted of all instances of sex, innuendo(of the intentional kind, don’t get me started on that wolf pack) and chemistry. It’s all the melodrama of romance but none of the intimacy, chemistry, and passion. It’s no fun.

    I’m in the same position you are: a guy with fairly broad tastes, who’s willing to admit to getting emotionally invested in some admittedly shallow, melodramatic schlock in my time. I’ve tried to read Twilight multiple times, however, and just can’t make it through.

    I have a theory, though. Twilight is what you get when you take shallow, melodramatic schlock and remove the essential conflict. You find out at basically the beginning of the first book that Edward has been waiting his whole life to meet Bella, who’s perfect for him, so there’s not even any element of will they/won’t they. Of course they will, it’s just a question of when and how.

    (And because of the author’s peculiar sexual politics, the answers are “it takes freaking FOREVER” and “violent pseudo-rape”…)

    In fact, I think that vicarious lack of conflict is probably what’s so appealing about the series to so many: Bella gets the perfect relationship with the man of her dreams, with none of the actual heart-stopping potential danger of actually getting involved with an independent person.

  • Alli

    I feel silly, but I thought your movie-within-the-movie comment was just a funny commentary on wanting to punch yourself (or a character) in the face while watching it. I didn’t realize there was a literal movie-within-the-movie. Maybe that was Melissa Rosenberg and Chris Weitz giving us an easter egg.

  • vucubcaquix

    Except the board that they invaded was 4chan’s /b/, which has NO intelligent discourse at all. In fact, if you value your sanity, never EVER check it out.

    I won’t deny that /b/ is incredibly stupid and profane the majority of the time, and it wouldn’t serve a person’s sanity very well if they casually visit it, but even they have the occasionally surprising thread:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?0x5kwpidx420yna

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