New Moon, the second bite to the hugely popular Twilight saga can’t exactly do the same for the outsiders. It may not be good enough to seduce new fans, but it’s not bad enough to break off relentless infatuations from its very much anticipating target market.
This installment is more of a teen-focused soap opera rendered for the big screen. It manages to shine for those willing to buy in its central romance about the love between a human and a vampire with an adolescent level of audience consummation. Its moments of hotness flirt with various lingering glances, teenybopper kisses, and de-shirting. And it works well in providing reasons for uncontrollable giggles from the willing fans. It manages to shine for those romantic hearts yearning for an enjoyable teen escapism with pretty girl faces and shirtless hunky boys. Add up the fancy look and coolness of pale make-up with red lips, cool cars, magical powers, teen angst, shapeshifting abilities, and raging hormones, then mix them according to the demands of the willing to be bitten fans, then you got that big bowl of adolescent romantic mush garnished with horror-lite action scenes, forest cat-and-mouse chases, and crazy road trip resulting to a showcase of supernatural gifts.
This Stephenie Meyer adaptation lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous – and what makes it work for its expected audience is the well-kept mood that signals moments of candor and romanticism. It has a generally unappealing formula, but it is oddly effective. It offers some juicy, go-for-broke romantic pleasures the way its predecessor did. The eye candy formula is definitely present to cater to the fans craving for two glossy hours of hotties strutting their stuff. The fans will definitely care, but the casual viewers won’t give as much enthusiasm.
As it settles into a somewhat predictable groove, the occasional longeurs tend to suck life out of the story. There are tedious, long-winded parts. There is that turn off for its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and even its excessive length. Gimmicky and worn out aspects appear here and there. Yet, this sequel is clearly effective with its focus on the gratuitous sex appeal of its two lead male stars – which can be readily proven by the shrieking fans surrounding every theater in the city every time they appear or do something romantic or cool in teenage language terms. From the moody teenager girl who can’t stop whining about how her boyfriend dumped her to the shirtless wolf-men flexing their muscles to the suicidal impulses and fantasies for skin paleness and lip redness, this second chapter on this successful popcorn flick is commendably a good example of contemporary low budget cinema in the middle of the recession hitting the blockbuster mark as if there is no economic crisis, just rising teenage hormones.
New Moon’s technical parts are quite interesting to dig into. Overall, production values are still on the range of just a decently budgeted Hollywood project, but it considerably works for its bearing – and yes, it’s absolutely reaping much more money than the initial capital for it.
This slickly packaged entertainment has that kind of old-fashioned look. It has dark and moody cinematography that indulges well with its own creepy vision of teenage sexuality. The production design keeps up with its tragic-romantic motif. The nominal special effects provide harmless fun. Director Chris Weitz makes it stronger on dream logic than plot; yet the mediocre performances and dumbed down screenplay still make the film shallow, vapid, and cheesy – an observation out of the bias from the already given fan base whom the producers know will never let them down whatever kind of story they offer to the franchise, as long as the established characters are there for their romantic escapades.
This romance relying on the appeal of fangs and paws primarily survives because of the already esteemed lead characters from the movie’s first installment. The romantic appeal between the danger-attractive mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the drop-dead gorgeous vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) delves deeper into the darkness and mysteries of the supernatural. And driving the story into their deeper emotions becomes a priority in the storytelling. At the same time, another character gets inside their circle through the buffed Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a wolf-teen who establishes a budding relationship with Bella. However, New Moon suffers on the usual sequel syndrome with symptoms including a laborious establishing of forced conflicts, a general air of drift and pointlessness, and a lack of clear direction. Meanwhile, the cliffhanger ending effectively teases and is clearly intended to make fans hungry for more.
New Moon gives fans what they’re looking for – which isn’t to say it’s actually great, only that it’s basically successful in achieving the low end goals it sets for itself through enough fantasy and romance to satisfy its devotees; while everyone else outside the Twilight circle will just shrug and move on.