film 6 of 8

New Moon

Film Review by Dean Duncan Feb 4, 2015

This film is all wet. I can see why its ardent young admirers might be drawn to all of its relentless moping and self-absorption. They wouldn’t see it my way at all and that’s definitely alright. But you’d think that Twilight & Co. might make a more mature sensibility somewhat impatient, not to mention making a certain parental sensibility more than somewhat alarmed! (I don’t know about vampires kids, but when mortals lie and sleep together this frequently, things start to happen a lot quicker than they do here!) I want to be tactful here: instead, or at least in part, these films appear to disarm or even disable a lot of otherwise mature sensibilities. It can’t be Bella’s passivity and other-definition that draws them, can it? I guess it’s the whole fantasy, regardless of whether it’s plausible or not, whether it’s even desirable or not. S.T. Coleridge called it suspending your disbelief (though his description of the process doesn’t quite, doesn’t even resemble what’s required of you here). C.S. Lewis (1961, ch. 4) calls it morbid castle building. The more recent institutions of fan fiction will have other ways to explain it, and won’t much care for or about my disaffection. A puzzlement!

These actors try bravely I think, though by this second installment Ms. Stewart is really starting to look the well-known drag (George Harrison, in Richard Lester 1964). We should speak courteously of these brave people who put themselves on the line for our benefit, and for our enjoyment. But I ask you! Further, I’m afraid I find the giant wolves to be quite silly.

On the other hand, movies almost always have a little something for you if you’ll look closely, or allow it. For instance the paper cut incident is actually pretty powerful, and pretty impressively assembled. The Victoria under-the-water shot is quite spectacular. Also, I liked the parallel montage sequence in Italy, as well as the eventual, extended encounter with all those aristocratic vampires. Cool clothes! On the face of it Michael Sheen might not seem to be so charismatic, but he certainly gets it done here. Finally, with regard to primordial geography, British Columbia, which is standing in for Forks and environs, is mighty beautiful.

Here’s that Samuel Taylor Coleridge reference. He was quite a Romantic himself, after all …