New (*koff*) Moon

Yes, I did eventually decide to see New Moon on its final day at the Cinerama. My thinking was like this: if I had never heard of it before, a movie with solidly middling reviews that promised me hot, shirtless werewolf boys battling hot, shirtless vampire boys would have seemed like a winner.

So I kept having this little dialogue with myself, where my inner fourteen-year-old-boy would say "Werewolves! Vampires! Shirtless fighting!" because, while my inner fourteen-year-old boy likes blood and guts and violence just as you might expect, he is also kinda gay. And then the 22-year-old-hipster of indeterminate gender would make a face and say, scornfully, "yes, but it’s part of the Twilight franchise. We hate the Twilight franchise." And then my inner 10-year-old-girl would kinda twirl her pigtails and mention shyly that she likes magic and pretty scenery and that scene with all the people in red robes looks kind of interesting. So eventually the hipster got tired of arguing and just went along with the other two, prepared to say "told you so!" when it was dreadful.

(Yes, I do have Gollum-like arguments with myself, why do you ask?)

I found New Moon a little more entertaining than Twilight, but not really because it’s better. There is more conflict in the story, and more fighting, and more shirtless werewolf boys, and no stupid vampire baseball, so that’s all an improvement. But really it was more entertaining because it has more (presumably) unintentional humor.

Like, I thought it was hilarious that Bella got the "it’s not you, it’s me" breakup speech twice in the same movie. Maybe it was supposed to be poignant — both of them are superpowered dudes who are worried they’re going to hurt her, so they’re actually sincere — but because Bella is such a ninny, and I don’t actually care what happens to her, her pain is funny.

Also, everyone from the first movie is inexplicably much stupider in this movie. The vampires are stupider, the high school kids are stupider. Everyone has somehow turned into Homer Simpson. Which doesn’t make any sense really, but it’s funny.

By far the most hilarious thing is the Edward-wan-kenobi phantom that starts appearing to her whenever she puts herself in thrilling(?) danger.

Setup: Edward and his vampire "family" have left town, and Edward breaks up with her for her own good. So later there’s this scene where she sees a bunch of badass(?) biker dudes who are doing that "hey baby" thing, and she thinks she recognizes them as the guys who harassed her in the first movie. Then an Edward phantom appears standing in front of the bikers and says "don’t do it!" or something pointless like that. So of course she decides to do it. And doing it consists of riding on the back of the one dude’s motorcycle, and they go really fast, and Edward phantom keeps appearing to tell her how dangerous it all is. I was half expecting him to tell her to put on a sweater and avoid fried foods.

Then she yells "stop!" and the guy lets her off the bike. The end.

Oooo…. badass!

So Bella is now an "adrenaline junkie" which, uh, means that she restores a motorcycle with her pal Jacob (lead shirtless werewolf), and that instead of seeing a romantic comedy she wants to see a movie called "Face Punch." Which, okay, that has to be a joke, right? Face Punch? Seriously?

Another hilarious thing is that when we see the werewolves transform, they become wolves that are actually much bigger than their human selves, more like the size of bears. And we clearly see them burst entirely out of their clothes when they transform. Yet, when we see them later, they are always wearing little Incredible-Hulk-style cutoff jeans. Maybe they keep a million pairs of these little pants stashed around the forest? But we never see them putting their little pants on. So maybe they manifest their pants from the ether? But not all their pants. Just part of their pants. The core, if you will, of their pants.

Also, nobody ever seems to think it’s weird that these young men are going around shirtless all the time… in Forks.

And here’s a weird thing, all the werewolves are male, but nobody remarks on this. There is dialogue that actually mentions "the werewolf gene" but nobody mentions that this gene is carried on the male chromosome or anything. So, maybe it’s because in Twilight universe werewolves symbolize sex while vampires symbolize twu wuv? Which would also explain why only the werewolves seem interesting.

The animation on the CG wolves was better than I was expecting, based on the ads. It doesn’t look very good in the ads.

However, many aspects of the showdown in Italy with these vampire council people end up looking oddly cheap, almost like they filmed in order and were running out of money? But how is that possible, when everybody knew this film would make a zillion bucks?

Anyway, there are shots of Edward the Sparkly Vampire where he is shirtless and it is superduper obvious that the whiteface ends at his neck, so he doesn’t look like an actual vampire so much as like some hot goth guy who took off his shirt because he was hot from dancing or something.

And the shots of a big plaza filled with supposed Italians wearing long, hooded red robes kind of look like they were filmed at a Twilight convention, where they just handed all these non-actors robes and said "here, put these on and mill about, we’ll green screen you into Italy later."

At least the showdown is kind of funny, because it makes no sense. The vampire council people want Bella to be made a vampire, because she is immune to their magic tricks. But Edward doesn’t want Bella to become a vampire because he doesn’t want her to "lose her soul."

So, okay, he’s all Louis-like in his angstiness, woe is me, I’m a vampire, so tortured, blah blah. But if that were the case, you would expect to see him display at least a little resentment toward the guy who made him a vampire? You know, like how Louis has that love-hate relationship with Lestat? Instead he has nothing but good things to say about his vampire "dad." And also you would expect his vampire "siblings" to display a little crankiness toward him, like "yeah, right, we don’t have souls. Speak for yourself, loser." Or you would expect him to hate them, like, "get away from me you soulless monsters!" But he doesn’t do that either. He seems to think they’re aces.

So then, because Bella won’t be made a vampire, she has to die. So then Edward and the vampire council throw each other around and wreck the room, and then Alice (undead psychic manic pixie dream girl) pipes up with "wait! Bella is going to be a vampire! Someday! I’ve seen a vision!" And the council’s all like, "well, okay then" and everyone stops fighting, the end.

Which is just… baffling. Um, "become a vampire or die" is that really such a hard choice? When Edward supposedly loves Bella? So he would be willing to see her die in order to prevent her becoming a vampire? And doesn’t Edward still get in trouble for defying the council?

Yeah, anyway. The whole thing was very silly, but it delivered on all its promises. Most of them involving shirtlessness.


  1. You know, this movie made a whole lot more sense when I was drunk in the theater…

    1. Author

      There’s a special category of storytelling: makes sense when drunk. When we saw Stephen King, he suggested wryly that Maximum Overdrive was that sort of movie.

  2. The sick sad thing is it all makes a twisted kind of sense if you know LDS mythology. I’ve been desperately trying to figure out a way of summing up what she’s doing and why without needing to spend about 40 hours giving a seminar on the arcana of the mormon equivalent of ‘old wives tales’ and various other contextual errata, half of which I can barely put a finger on myself, but I haven’t been able to do it yet. The original cover art chosen for the novels is telling, though. What do apples have to do with vampires? not a lot. But with the knowledge of good & evil and the Fall, and the possibility of becoming perfected beings, in stages (one of which might resemble, oh, angels – hey, isn’t that a blood stained feather there on book 2?), by certain rites and behaviors, and abstentions, maybe.

    1. Author

      Have you seen this?

      It goes into a lot of detail about the Twilight/Mormonism connection.

      One interesting thing about this is that Dracula — while superior in every normal literary respect — has a similarly weird-ass interpretation of Catholicism with regard to its vampires. At Dracula 97, Tim Powers (who is Catholic) talked about this quite a bit.

      So now I’m speculating wildly, maybe one of the crucial things about vampire mythology is that it addresses our troubled relationship with religion and spirituality more than anything else.


      1. I would agree with this assessment on vampire mythology and religion/spirituality… there’s definitely a lot of that in Dracula. Anne Rice’s books teem with that connection, too (and her own views on and struggles with religion seem to be a big impetus for some of those things in her books.)

        Vampires may well be a way of working out the contradictions and confusion surrounding humans’ relationship with religious belief.


      2. I had not seen that (at the link) and she does a great job of a quick cruise through shakedown. And her explanation is probably the better of the two because I am so OCD about this kind of thing that where she can toss off an I C WHUT U DID THER SMYERS and sum it up just perfectly I would go all pedantic and boring. Thanks for the link!

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