By Thomas Tracy
Love with the undead has never been so dull as in “New Moon,” the astonishingly slow second segment of the “Twilight” saga.
While the story of a young woman’s forbidden three-way love affair with a vampire and a werewolf may make Brooklyn’s teen and pre-teen female population giggle with glee, director Chris Weitz’s interpretation of the Stephenie Meyer novel does very little for anyone over, say, 17.
Still, amazingly, “New Moon,” which lumbers along at the pace of an old-timey Universal Monsters mummy, is a bit more interesting than its predecessor, thanks to a new group of four-legged friends.
This time around, vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), our gaunt, pasty-white hero who always looks as if he’s desperately in need of a sandwich, decides to break up with his beloved Bella (Kristen Stewart) for her own safety and ditches town (it seems that vampires shouldn’t date humans — go figure).
Her heart rent asunder by Edward’s actions, Bella spends the next several months keening (literally) until she discovers that “reckless behavior” causes her to see apparitions of her former love.
Her pursuit for perilous pastimes sends her into the arms of Jacob (Taylor Lautner), an old friend who has a supernatural secret all his own.
While it appears that Bella and Jacob have more chemistry (his heart at least beats), Bella is still all aquiver for Edward, which of course sets up a final confrontation as well as a preview of what’s expected to come in the inevitable third installment — which we hope isn’t as boring.
We also hope it’s a bit spicier. While you would think being romantically involved with a vampire and seduced by a werewolf at the same time would bring new meaning to the phrase “things that go bump in the night,” no one gets past first base — ever. Romantic moments are always interrupted by furry things or, even scarier, Bella’s own emotional baggage.
That’s the inherent problem with “New Moon.” Weitz spends far too much time on Bella’s malaise (by the movie’s halfway mark, Stewart has become the epitome of teenage depression) instead of vampire culture. And once we get a glimpse of it during an unexpected, and somewhat forced, sojourn to Italy, we realized all Weitz did was replace the redwood trees of Forks, Washington, for a group of red-eyed vamps — Dakota Fanning being one of them — who are just as wooden.
“The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by Chris Weitz. Running time: 130 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some violence and action.