A Bad “Moon” rising for Meyer’s fans only
Despite the focus on young, shirtless werewolves and well coiffed vampires, the second installment of Stephanie Meyer’s immensely popular series comes off as a tepid adventure in Zombieland. An inert story coupled with wooden performances combine to leave all but the most die-hard fans thoroughly apathetic about a film that undoubtedly will still become a cash-cow.
Even stalwart fans of Meyer’s romance series will admit this story was likely the least engaging of the books especially considering the fact that our moping protagonist Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her pasty-skinned seducer Edward (Robert Pattinson) are apart for long chunks. Enter the more personable and buffed-upped Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who befriends Bella, even helps her get back on the motorcycle (literally and figuratively) since she’s in deep depression after the ageless Edward’s departure. (One wonders however: don’t you have to seem “happy” first in order to express depression?)
It’s easy to see the appeal here. Love triangles have been around forever and never get old and a teenage misfit with two desirable suitors is something all females can relate to– maybe even more– in this day and age. Why either of these guys would fall so hard for the cute but self-absorbed, relentlessly melancholy Bella is another discussion.
This film is content to follow the book precisely and focus on Bella’s desire to become a vampire, Edward’s realization that he, despite his smoldering stare, may not be good for her, and Jacob’s newly acquired werewolf urges which come in handy when Bella’s in danger. In fact the film’s best action sequence, prominently disclosed in the film’s ads, comes well after the hour mark doing little to overcome the scripts’ plodding, dialogue-heavy pace.
Supporting characters raise the pulse, including Michael Sheen camping it up creepy-style as Aro, head of a vampire council known as the Volturi. As Bella’s lively high school pal Jessica, Anna Kendrick delights in her one main scene. (We may see a lot more of her after her next film, the well received “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney). Whenever Bella’s father (Billy Burke) shows up, the film perks up too.
Much has been made of the underlying sexual tension of Meyer’s stories, which for some, add some much needed spicy sub-text to the proceedings. Whatever. What this film really needed was an injection of something, anything, to get the blood flowing. We’ll give the “Twilight” series one more shot to recover from a “New Moon” that has left the franchise mortally wounded and bleeding, despite the box office revenues.
Rated PG-13 for some violence and action.