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Scratching The Surface: NEW MOON

Tags: bella
In many ways, NEW MOON is the defining entry in "The Twilight Saga". The first film was made for about $12 and director Catherine Hardwicke brought a scrappy, indie vibe to it, while not exactly disguising the fact that she thought the story was silly. While the movie was a huge hit, I don't think the head honchos at Summit Entertainment cared for her approach to the material. So they fired her and brought in Chris Weitz as the new director. Weitz was a semi-respectable filmmaker with at least one classic on his resume (ABOUT A BOY) but was licking his wounds from his expensive misfire THE GOLDEN COMPASS. Armed with a directive to take the story more seriously and an increased budget (at least $50), Weitz delivered a much slicker, professional looking movie.

And thanks to Stephanie Meyer's source material, it's also a heaping pile of dog shit. Every icky aspect of the series' backwards sexual politics gets amplified tenfold here. Bella goes from being a harmless cipher to a sexually regressed nightmare, so in need of a man's constant attention that she can't go 30 seconds of screen time without collapsing into heaving sobs when one isn't around. It's horrifying. Bella emerges at the end of this installment as one of the most despicable, worthless protagonists that has ever headlined a major franchise.

So let's get into it. You all know how this works--I'll be watching the movie and providing snide commentary, indicating where I am in my viewing with time stamps. Let's all watch and try to smile through the pain.

00:00 Strange how cheap the Summit logo looks here compared to all the other films.

00:47 Alexandre Desplat's score for this film is pretty damn good. It's a bit melodramatic but isn't that what's called for? Of course, Desplat is way too talented of a composer to be messing with this shitty series but I think he got roped in because he'd done Weitz's last film, THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

01:09 Bella's opening narration is quoting Romeo and Juliet, which provides the subtext for this entry. I think Shakespeare intended that story to be at least partially a cautionary tale about the dangers of hormonally crazed teenagers acting erratically but this has been lost on countless generations who simply view it as "romantic".

01:22 For reasons I still do not fully understand, the movie's first 10 seconds or so are a flash-forward to the finale. This serves no narrative or dramatic purpose that I can discern.

02:59 So the opening dream sequence establishes Bella's fear of aging while Edward remains eternally youthful. Okay, it's a very on-the-nose way of approaching this problem but it gets the idea across effectively enough. Thank goodness there will be no need for tons of dialogue discussing this dilemma later in the movie.

04:02 Bella gets legitimately freaked out over a joke about a gray hair. What an idiot. At least we've really hammered home the fear-of-aging angle though. It's been addressed, we can move on now.

04:12 We have our first helicopter shot! Let's take a shot each time we get one. There were a few of these in TWILIGHT but not that many. That's all a changing starting now. Production value!

04:38 Another Romeo and Juliet allusion. That should be plenty, no need to keep bringing that up. We get it.

05:12 Edward just double parked! What a douche bag.

05:22 So here's a question: do any ladies out there actually think Robert Pattinson is really hot? To me, that is a face that needs to be punched.

05:49 Edward and Bella have a conversation discussing her fear of aging. Okay, well I guess it's important that Edward understands what's concerning Bella right now. So that's cool. Really don't think they'll need to discuss it again.

06:35 Taylor Lautner has kind of a stupid face too. But at least he has abs. Amiright, ladies?

07:15 The framing of this shot, with Edward standing motionless in the background between Bella and Jacob as they talk, is hilariously inept.

08:08 Jackson Rathbone's "acting" as he uses his mood control powers on Bella makes me happy to be alive.

09:17 Kristen Stewart seems determined to deliver all her lines without opening her mouth. I guess her take on Bella is that she's so lazy and worthless that she can't even bother to enunciate properly.

10:02 Pattinson, for his part, seems determined to insert as many dramatic pauses into his lines as possible. "I had to come up with some kind of... plan." He had to think to come up with the word plan?

10:56 I submit that being able to effortlessly quote Shakespeare isn't that impressive if you've been taking English for 100 years. Quick tangent: teachers who show movies in class are the worst. Lazy fuckers.

11:28 Our first mention of the Volturi and Weitz's first chance to show off with the camera, pushing in on a painting that then comes to life. Production value!

12:19 Can I just say that I love the Volturi? They are such silly villains. I'll have more to add about them later.

14:23 Bella defends the truck! A nice reminder of her one redeeming trait. Can't wait to see her proudly driving that thing around.

14:34 When a vampire says you've been looking pale, it is time for more iron in your diet.

14:54 So Bella cuts herself, setting off Jasper's bloodlust. Edward's method of defending Bella? Slinging her forcibly against the wall as hard as he can. Who said chivalry was dead?

15:18 The entire Cullen clan looks ready to tear into Bella now that she's bleeding like a sieve thanks to Edward's protection methods.

18:01 Yet another conversation with Bella begging Edward to transform her into a vampire, though her preferred phrasing is "change me", which makes it sound like she has a full diaper.

18:34 Okay, now neither one of these fuckers can get through a line without pausing.

19:18 Despite the fact that they've kissed several times already in this movie, Bella has to ask for a kiss as a birthday gift. Edward appears to be fighting extreme constipation as he fulfills this request.

20:17 Bella folds a picture of she and Edward in half so she's hidden before taping it into her scrapbook. What the even fuck. This girl is sick and needs help from qualified mental health professionals.

20:49 I have to take a moment to comment on the song score used in this movie. Somehow, the filmmakers were able to find a mix of songs that were tonally appropriate for each scene and completely awful. The one playing now is "Roslyn" by Bon Iver & St. Vincent. It... is... dreadful.

23:23 Ahh, the big break-up scene with Edward telling Bella he doesn't want her anymore. It's just like that scene from HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS where John Lithgow has to be mean to Harry for his own good. Except without the heart-wrenching pathos of that film.

24:40 Boy, Edward drops Bella like a bad habit, huh? You know, if you can dump your girlfriend so easily without thinking twice over a relatively minor incident, maybe it's not true love. Just saying.

26:39 Heartbroken, Bella meanders around the woods aimlessly searching for Edward before collapsing on the ground. I mean, technically she trips but she doesn't seem too anxious to get back on her feet. To symbolize her pain, Weitz gives us an overhead shot spinning above her. Production value!

27:28 A mysterious, smooth chested figure carries Bella's unconscious body out of the woods. How did she lose consciousness? The vapors?

27:40 Graham Greene! Remember how funny he was in MAVERICK? Man, he was great. Now he's in this shit. Graham Greene gotta eat.

29:27 Another show-off camera move, this time circling around Bella as she sits moping about Edward. Every time we pass by the window, it's a different season. Production value! I think Weitz just got bored with this stupid story so he threw shit like this in here to give himself something to do.

29:55 I get that break-ups are rough. Truly I do. But what is up with the banshee screaming in this scene? If Edward could see this shit, his ass would stay gone for good.

30:23 Bella's narration is actually the text of her many emails to Alice, who apparently doesn't have an email address, since they're all undelivered. What the fuck? I get that the Cullens left town in a hurry but is Alice that shitty of a friend to Bella? She should at least call her up and talk shit about what an asshole Edward is to make her feel better. That's BFF 101. I guess the Cullens know they can leave no trace or Bella will hunt them down like the clingy dependent she is.

31:47 Billy Burke for the win.

32:11 Bella's friend is upset that they had to see a zombie movie instead of a romantic comedy. WARM BODIES would be the perfect flick for these two!

32:37 I'm fairly certain poor Anna Kendrick was left to ad-lib all of her dialogue in this scene. It's okay, Anna. You'll be in real movies again soon.

33:03 Okay, so some vampire apparition of Edward appears to Bella, warning her of danger. Man, I really do not get the rules governing the undead in these movies. Since when is this a power?

34:55 How big is Forks supposed to be? Less than 5,000 people, right? How does it justify having an elevated train system?

35:46 Bella is still writing emails to Alice! It's the "Dear Mr. Henshaw" of mopey teenage romances!

36:48 Bella brings Jacob some motorcycles to fix up. Her plan is to see Edward with a rush of danger. Is this really the most efficient method? Why not just go shop at Wal-Mart at 3AM?

38:44 Melissa Rosenberg's romantic banter is painful. Who talks like this?

40:23 Now that she has a man in her life once more, Bella is 10% less mopey. Yay, feminism.

40:43 Another age reference. It's like Rosenberg has three beats she wants to hit over and over and just alternates between them repeatedly.

41:48 I wonder if Kristen Stewart ever fell asleep in the middle of a take.

42:18 Bella finally gets to drive her own truck!

43:13 How much flannel do you think is in Bella's wardrobe?

44:33 Yet another show-off camera move with Sam cliff diving and Weitz turning the camera upside down following him. Production value!

46:30 And the shirt comes off! Team Jacob goes wild!

49:04 Mike summons up the courage to ask Bella out to a movie. Why he is interested in her, I have no idea. She accepts and then immediately turns it into a group activity because Bella is the fucking worst.

49:19 Surely the title FACEPUNCH was just a placeholder until they could come up with something better, right? I guess they couldn't, forgot about it or just didn't give a shit. I like to imagine FACEPUNCH is a sequel to FIGHT CLUB where we learn Tyler Durden was real after all.

52:08 Jacob professes his interest in Bella. She promises to string him along.

53:45 Jacob blows up at Mike even though he's really the third wheel on this date (from Mike's point of view). I think he's angry at Bella for being unwilling to reciprocate his feelings and instead takes it out on poor Mike. Mike, you just need to date Anna Kendrick already. Wake up, dude.

54:40 Bella now leaves lots of unanswered messages on Jacob's machine. Apparently he's really upset about their exchange at the movie theater. Huh? Guys go from being completely in love with Bella to dumping her mopey ass really quick. I mean, I don't blame them but I'm getting whiplash.

55:13 Graham Greene shows up again so we can all mourn his career.

56:32 "What happened?" Bella asks, discovering that Jacob (1) cut his hair, (2) got a tattoo and (3) is now rejecting her. I have no fucking clue. What causes this shift in his character's attitude? Before he was able to crack a smile, now he's all mopey. Was the heart-to-heart with Bella that traumatic? Fucking teenagers, man.

56:55 Jacob knows about the Cullens! Cue dramatic organ music! I feel like we already sensed Jacob knew about them from the last movie. Wasn't that what his story about the "cold ones" was all about?

58:40 I wonder who was responsible for starting the denim cut-off fad among the Indians. Dr. Tobias Funke would fit right in with this crew.

59:05 Bella mopes to imaginary Alice that she can't stand being without Jake. They've been "broken up" for five seconds! Jesus Christ, what a nightmare of a human being. Crazy cat ladies seem well adjusted by comparison.

59:22 More overhead spinning camera shots. How much time did Edward and Bella spend lying in fields looking at each other wordlessly?

62:33 Bella believes she's about to be killed by a vampire. Her last words? "Edward, I love you." Edward, the man who left her, abandoned her. The man whom if she'd never met him, she wouldn't be in this situation about to be killed by the world's lamest dreadlocked vampire. Fuck you, Bella Swan.

62:55 Our first sighting of the wolves. They are hilarious looking.

65:02 More teenage moping. Damn, this gets old after a while.

67:40 Jacob has a secret. I wonder what it could possibly be.

69:33 Bella MUST see Jacob immediately! Even though they just shared a scene together ten seconds ago. Drama!

69:45 Having seen all five of these fucking things now, I can't help but notice how many scenes involve people dramatically walking towards each other from across fields, like armies going to battle (often literally, in later installments). It's a weird motif for a teenage romance.

70:15 Bella slaps one of the goofy Indians, who proceeds to transmogrify into a wolf. Okay, I take all of my complaining back. This is comedy gold and totally worth the pain.

70:30 Jacob's a wolf too?! OMG!!!

71:01 I like how Weitz tries to ground the wolf fight by having them knock over the camera and then lingers on it for a second. See guys, those wolves aren't ridiculous looking, they're totally real because they knocked over the camera! Production value!

71:28 Two of the wolf boys drive Bella away to safety. Once again, Bella is not allowed to drive her own truck. That's man work!

72:31 If you have a fetish for shirtless Native American teenage boys and scarred up Native American women, I think your ticket just got punched.

72:45 Wolves love muffins.

73:48 Wolf boy who tried to kill Bella in the previous scene flashes her a smile and says he's sorry. Oh, men who threaten women with violence--you're adorable.

74:06 Jacob agrees to Bella's description of him as a "werewolf". Now, these guys are born with genes that allow them to turn into wolves. This transformation is triggered either by anger or they do it willfully themselves. Full moons are not involved. That is NOT what a werewolf is! I call bullshit.

75:15 So we learn that werewolves and vampires have a blood feud. This shit is so goofy, I love it. It's a great campy concept. I can't believe Stephanie Meyer couldn't come up with anything better to do with it than this.

75:45 I love how Jacob mentions that they chased Victoria to the Canadian border. Werewolves are very respectful of national boundaries. They do not have jurisdiction up there. I bet those Mountie werewolves are completely ineffective vampire hunters.

76:51 "Alice, I'm alright... until I'm alone." AAAAHHHH, you terrible, worthless smudge of human excrement! Take up a fucking hobby or read a book! Something, anything that would contribute to your own development or add to society in any way, shape or form! Anything that doesn't involve moping around waiting for a fucking man.

77:40 I guess Bella has given up on Jacob and is back to obsessing over Edward. Of course, she was only really interested in Jacob when he was rejecting her. Because Bella is the worst.

79:07 This whole hunting-Victoria-in-the-woods scene feels like a value-added scene from a video game.

79:46 So long, Graham Greene. I hope they paid you well. At least you didn't embarrass yourself. Poor Billy Burke has to stick around for three more movies.

80:59 Bella jumps off the cliff into the water below. What is she trying to accomplish here? Another rush of danger to see Edward or is she legitimately trying to commit suicide? If so, it's just one more thing she sucks at because it doesn't work.

81:50 Okay, this is hilarious. Bella sees Victoria swimming toward her and accidentally knocks herself unconscious. Sure. And what happened to Victoria? Was that a hallucination or what?

82:08 You know those people who say AI should've ended with David trapped under water? I am one of the people who thinks the TWILIGHT saga should've ended here with Bella drowning under water.

83:33 I wish there was a scene somewhere in these movies where Bella comes across the bottoms of all the jeans the Indians have cut off over the years--just piles and piles of denim.

84:43 Jacob explains how Sam got angry and accidentally scarred up Emily. But he totally didn't mean it! Seriously, Sam is a good guy, y'all. You just don't understand, their love is pure. Jesus, this is like a bizarro Lifetime movie.

85:10 Did Bella forget how to drive? Is that why she has to be chauffeured around by the menfolk?

86:46 I would love to be able to get a look at this treaty between the Cullens and the wolf pack everyone keeps referring to. Do you think they had legal advice in drafting it? Is it actually written down, because it seems like it would be more a gentlemen's agreement but who knows? Was a notary public present when it was signed? I need answers.

87:28 Alice! The bitch who never reads or answers her email is back! She's pissed at Bella for being alive (join the club). She saw a vision of Bella jumping off the cliff but apparently nothing after that. How convenient.

87:48 Alice accuses Bella of idiocy. Alice is my new favorite character.

88:55 I wonder if they filmed all of Jacob's scenes twice--with a shirt and without, just to give themselves options in the editing room. You never know how much shirtless-ness is too much. It's a delicate balancing act.

91:44 Who answers the phone in someone else's house? That's fucking rude.

92:16 Jacob misleads Edward into thinking Bella is dead and then acts pissed at Edward for interrupting his kiss. Jacob is the worst.

92:41 Edward wants to die too now! Wow, this all seems so familiar. If only whatever famous work is being ripped off had been referenced in some way earlier in the film. Oh well.

93:13 Poor Ashley Greene has to sit silently staring straight ahead while Jacob and Bella converse. Couldn't Weitz have cropped her out of the shot? It's so awkward.

93:56 Alice and Bella fly to Italy on Virgin because subtlety. Is there really no other way to contact Edward quicker? He broke his only phone? I mean, to get from Forks, Washington to Whereverthefuck, Italy, you're going to need to connect at least twice, looking at 24 hours door-to-door travel, maybe more.

94:13 Helicopter shot of Italian landscape! Production value! Everybody drink!

94:44 I promise I am being 100% sincere when I say Michael Sheen is drop-dead brilliant as Aro, the head of the Volturi. He doesn't just chew the scenery, he rips that shit down and swallows it whole. We're talking Ernest Thesiger in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN levels of campiness here. Genius. I will forgive this movie anything because it contains this performance.

95:25 So there's at least one woman in the world who still knows how to drive. Nice to know, though Bella is still too emotionally unstable to be trusted behind the wheel.

95:55 Shit, this may be our snazziest helicopter shot yet! Everybody drink! Production value!

96:28 The little town they're in (which looks gorgeous, by the way) is having a festival to celebrate the expulsion of vampires from the city. Everyone is dressed in red. And I mean EVERYONE. There must be a stiff fine for not dressing in a red robe, maybe even prison time. I don't know how else you get this level of participation.

97:13 We've finally found our way back to the opening shot of the movie. Yeah, I still have no idea why this was the opening shot. Please send me an email if you figure it out. I promise I'll read it, unlike that bitch Alice.

98:28 I assume Bella is hurtling toward Edward to desperately plead with him to keep his shirt on.

99:00 Hey, if this were a proper Romeo and Juliet rip-off, both these fuckers would be dead by the end. I call foul.

99:52 Edward tells Bella he was lying earlier about not wanting her. If only she had seen HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS, she would have seen through his ruse.

100:03 "It doesn't make sense for you to love me." No argument here.

100:40 You dump your girlfriend, ignore her for months while she's being threatened by psycho vampire bitches and whatnot and then when she rushes to your side to save your dumb ass, you get to just say "You're everything to me" and all is forgiven? Edward is the worst.

101:20 Wasn't Dakota Fanning a good actor once upon a time? She's shockingly bland playing an evil vampire here.

101:33 Oh yeah, it's Volturi time! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

102:16 They need to take an elevator down to see the Volturi. What a weird detail to include. If it was supposed to be uncomfortable, they should have held on the shot for a few more seconds to emphasize that. As it is, it just feels tedious and stupid.

103:36 Every second with Michael Sheen onscreen is gold.

105:13 Is the idea that all vampires have unique gifts something Stephanie Meyer came up with or is that a standard trope in vampire fiction? I confess I'm slightly ignorant on the subject. I doubt anyone else has taken it to the extreme Meyer has--by the time BREAKING DAWN rolls around, vampires are basically X-Men.

106:15 "Hahahaha, remarkable!" may be the single greatest line reading in the history of cinema.

106:37 Desplat's Volturi theme is pretty great.

107:50 Quick poll. What's a more annoying action movie device: speed-ramping or shaky-cam?

109:37 The Volturi will kill Bella unless Edward intends to make her immortal. Aro is about to devour this bitch and Edward isn't saying a word. It takes Alice speaking up and showing Aro a vision of a transformed Bella to keep him from killing her. Didn't Edward say it was his job to protect Bella earlier? Dude, you need to get fired from that job because you fucking suck at it.

110:29 These other two Volturi guys are doing an admirable job of trying to camp it up as much as Sheen but they just aren't in his league.

111:09 Our protagonists just stand by as a large group of people are marched to their deaths. Lovely.

111:33 What would a TWILIGHT movie be without a creepy guy hovering over Bella while she sleeps?

112:55 Does this scene with Billy Burke really need to be in the movie? Can't we just press on and get this shit over with?

113:39 What's with the dog face painting beside Bella's bed? Do you think she painted it? It's hard to imagine Bella having any interests that don't involve moping about boys. Maybe she painted it to impress some dreamy boy in the fifth grade. Fucking typical.

115:59 Bella lets a family of vampires (how exactly are they a family again?) vote on whether she should become a vampire. Only one has the decency to vote that she shouldn't. Vampires are the worst.

116:30 The end is near. I can taste sweet freedom.

117:47 Jacob/Edward face-off and more discussion of the treaty! Finally, some answers. I am definitely getting the sense that this fucking thing is written down somewhere. Do they keep it in a safe deposit box at the bank? I wonder if I can find a copy online somewhere.

118:28 "Jake... I love you." Ugh, this is me throwing up my hands. Fuck Bella and fuck this movie.

119:16 There goes another pair of denim cut-offs ruined. How much of Jake's family's household income is consumed by denim and muffin expenses?

120:22 "I can't do this alone." What, turn into a vampire? Yeah, no fucking shit. Thanks for that insight.

120:57 I don't know how or why but I think Robert Pattinson is getting uglier as the movie goes along. I mean, help me out ladies. I do not get the appeal of this guy at all.

121:44 "Marry me, Bella." CUT TO BLACK. Boom. What a cliffhanger. I can't possibly imagine what Bella's response will be. What a tease to make me wait! Oh, TWILIGHT franchise, you are incorrigible!

Jesus Christ on a stick, somehow watching the TWILIGHT movies in a "Scratching The Surface" state of mind makes them worse. It was strangely opposite for the second TRANSFORMERS, where I gained newfound appreciation for its lunacy. I think it just comes down to the fact that that movie was fucking insane and these are tedious and maudlin, especially this one.

But you know what? We fought TWILIGHT and we won. Or maybe it was a tie. Come to think of it, this is more like round two of a boxing match. Neither has been a knock-out, this thing could be decided by the judges. Just have to wait for the next three (3!) rounds to find out.

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This post first appeared on Cinematic Ramblings Of An Imaginary Man, please read the originial post: here

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Scratching The Surface: NEW MOON


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