February 17, 2010 -- Like an infomercial for some abdominal exercise machine, “New Moon” is all about abs, and teenage angst, of course. It turns out that the only cure for teenage angst is a good dose of ripped abs. This movie provides more abs than a whole season of Star Trek, where Captain Kirk was renowned for going shirtless whenever possible. In this film Taylor Lautner (who plays local werewolf tribe member Jacob Black) goes Captain Kirk one better by going shirtless during most of the film, despite the cold, wet weather. It is all about the abs.
In this silly, but slightly entertaining sequel to “Twilight,” Jacob Black becomes the third corner of a love triangle with pretty high school girl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, reprising her role from the first film) and sulking vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Cullen moves away because he doesn't want to turn Bella into a vampire. He and Bella both sulk, until Bella is distracted by Jacob's fabulous abs. Just when it looks like Bella is about to switch sides from vampires to werewolves, a crisis sends her hurtling over to Europe.
The big problem with all this, as I pointed out in my review of the first film, is that these films do not provide any good reason why Edward Cullen should object to Bella becoming a vampire. Unlike most vampire films, these films don't show any substantial downside to being a vampire. The advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Edward Cullen's reasons for objecting to Bella becoming a vampire are so poorly articulated in the film as to make no sense whatsoever.
I did find this film to be a little better than “Twilight” because of the romantic triangle aspect. The romantic triangle provides a bit of conflict absent in the first film. There is the uneasy truce between the werewolves and vampires. There is also the enmity between humans, vampires and werewolves which comes into play. There is also the problem of trying to keep the existence of werewolves and vampires secret in a small town. All this adds some complexity and some suspense, making the film a bit more interesting. Sure, the teen angst is tiresome, the shirtless scenes, the great European car race, the vampire-werewolf treaty and the clueless villagers are all silly, but it is passable entertainment. This film rates a C.
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