My review of “Twilight” is still on this movie blog somewhere. If you care enough, you can look it up and find out exactly how much I DIDN’T like that movie. I won’t spend time in this review talking about “Twilight” because it appears that the team behind this franchise has learned from their mistakes. In case you’re not a “Twi-Hard Fan,” the plot for this is simple: Bella is abandoned by her lover Edward for her own protection, which is also what her friend Jacob has in mind, who uses his newly discovered werewolf abilities to protect her as well. Almost everything about this movie is better than the original. The old director was fired and director Chris Weitz was brought in for this one. Not a huge step in the right direction since we have him to blame for “The Golden Compass” but anything is better than the last director, Catherine Hardwicke. They threw more money at this movie so the production value doesn’t make it feel like a made-for-TV special anymore and the Special FX are a little better. However I think we saw more believable CGI animals in the 1990s. And finally the actors playing new characters in “New Moon” are of a MUCH, MUCH better quality; namely Michael Sheen (”Frost/Nixon”) and Dakota Fanning. But there’s the rub. See, when you put actors that are as good as them in the same movie that feature actors as bad as the returning cast, it just makes the difference in talent that much more drastic. And yes, I’m talking about Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and ESPECIALLY Kristen Stewart…the stars of the film. In their defense, the boys are at least tolerable though they lack any semblance of passion. Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, might have single-handedly sunk “New Moon” as well due to her being unwatchable! Her twitchy, vacant style of acting is beyond annoying, void of skill and as empty-of-a-performance as you’ll see in a movie grossing this much money. In fact, Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen are only in the film for 10 minutes, but they raised the quality a full letter grade by reminding me what quality acting is and actually making me care about what’s happening on the screen. I do feel bad for Taylor Lautner who was almost killed by the movie studio in his attempt to get into the shape he’s in for “New Moon.” He has to live in hell to look incredible while the rest of the Wolf Pack get to look like regular guys who, even one of them, boasts an impressively embarrassing pair of saggy boobs. I’m not sure if there are gay metaphors either with The Wolf Pack, but the only thing gayer than hanging out shirtless in the rain with your boys wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts would be if they also grew bushy mustaches and listened to Lady Gaga. Regardless though, is “New Moon” a good movie? Yes it is for the most part. Does it deserve its 130 minute runtime? No and it feels even longer than that. But the story is better, the action is better (when it comes) and if Fanning and Sheen have bigger parts in the next one…I say bring on “Eclipse” because we shouldn’t put a stake in the heart of this franchise yet!
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B-