The plot is mind-numbingly lame, the creative direction blandly one-dimensional, and the pace so drawn out that even a 100-year-old vampire would tire himself out sitting through it. And yet we have to admit … it was crassly entertaining, for some admittedly unjustified reasons.
In this sequel to last year’s blockbuster Twilight, the vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) breaks up with his human love Bella (Kristen Stewart) and leaves town, in order to protect her from getting harmed by his bloodthirsty kind, after a most unfortunate event at a party at the Cullens’ held in honor of her 18th birthday. She spirals into depression, but is pulled back from the edge by a rekindled friendship with her newly buffed-up childhood friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).
Their relationship is complicated by Jacob’s growing romantic feelings for her, and his own coming-out as a werewolf. But even then, Bella cannot help but mope about her lost love, and when she discovers that every time she puts herself in danger she gets visions of Edward, she goes into self-destruction mode and during one of her suicidal rampages, she almost dies. When Edward wrongly interprets that she has indeed died, he pulls a Romeo and Juliet and goes to the Volturi (the clan responsible for law enforcement in vampire-dom) to plead for death as well.
Now on the bright side, the sluggish pacing actually allowed for some serious chemistry to brew between Bella and Jacob. There’s plenty of humor, that’s for sure — we’re talking about the unintentional kind here, especially at parts that are so obviously scripted in with the sole purpose of eliciting squeals from the fangirls. When one of them let out a whoop of unbridled pleasure during a particularly chesty scene, a wave of approving chuckles followed suit — you gotta love the camaraderie at these Twilight screenings. There is another scene of Bella and Edward frolicking in the forest, in some sort of wedding-inspired getup, that is so helplessly corny it could’ve easily been mistaken for an SNL or MTV spoof.
And while the makeup is as inexplicably bad as it was in Twilight (you can almost smell the strawberry flavors on the rouged-up lips of His Royal Pastiness Edward), the special effects rendering the werewolves’ feral manifestations are undeniably impressive. Of course, the stupendous physical transformation of Taylor Lautner deserves mention. Yes, it is a tad odd seeing such a babyfaced mug (he’s only 17) tacked onto a frame that even Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would envy, but it actually uhh, adds body to what would have otherwise been a downright tepid outing.
Counting down to June 2010 …