In defense of ‘New Moon’…sorta

Sung to the tune of Mary MacGregor’s “Torn Between Two Lovers”:

Torn between two monsters, feeling like a fool
Lovin’ both of you, is breaking all the rules.
A werewolf and a vampire, yeah, it’s kinda cool,
But one drinks blood for lunch, the other likes to drool.”

Bella and her boys are back, much to the glee of the estrogen-enhanced masses and to critics who delight in sharpening their talons to slash away at an easy target.

“You just don’t belong in my world, Bella,” Edward breathlessly whispers to his ladylove early on. I’m pretty sure he was talking directly to me, though. For I know I am nowhere near the target for “Full Moon,” but as much as I disliked the film on its artistic and actings merits – and believe me that is an understatement – I understand why it exists and the populace it serves.

Which is why I am about to come out in defense of “Full Moon,” even in fear of having not only my critic license revoked, but my Man Club Membership as well. For while critics line up to lash out on a film such as this they are also quick to give a pass to films such as “Transformers” as just cinematic escapism.

For example, one critic on Rotten Tomatoes called out New Moon as “A waste of time,” yet accepted the incredibly cliched writing found in both Sandra Bullock’s “The Propsal,” and Eddie Murphy’s summer stink bomb “Imagine That.” Still another dismisses it as “romantic mush,” but apparently feels that the romance of “The Proposal” is “as comfortable and familiar,” earning it a passing grade, and the cliches of the godawful “My Life in Ruins” are “crowd-pleasing.”

My point is, to target “New Moon” is like going after a pinata with a cannon. It is aimed squarely at young girls, which is an easy target for critics. I have been called to the carpet for my utter disdain for “Juno,” but that had more to do with the atrocious dialogue from its writer and the over-eager necessity for quirk. “Twilight” plays to its base, and it knows that is enough. It finds comfort in into own melodramatic cheese and has no aspirations to reach higher or welcome a broader audience. Do you think the makers of “Transformers” chews their nails over how they can get the more tween girls to a screening?

For me, Count Chocula is more creepy and way more appealing than any of the de-fanged fellas in “Twilight,” but that I do not openly recoil at the mere mention of its mention (OK, maybe an eye roll). Those attending the film are not going to view it on any artistic merit, just as many of the so-called summer blockbusters are designed solely to get as many butts in the seats as they can. It is playing directly for the followers of trashy fiction who want to see their visions of the words realized in chiseled flesh and blood.

This is their “event movie,” no different from the geeks who spend days in a smelly Boba Fett getup awaiting the next “Star Wars” release.

I am, however, perplexed at how a female lead as mopey, selfish and moody as Bella can become the heroine of even the panels of a comic, much less a movie franchise. Even “True Blood’s” Sookie Stackhouse has a frisky side. But as a former editor of a high school literary magazine, I cannot tell you how many insufferable lines of purple prose have been belched onto a page in the name of “love,” so for many, this is the embodiment of their feelings.

Knowing full well that the next film, “Eclipse” is in the works, I will merely hold out hope that another film will open the same weekend that offers greater potential so that I do not trudge to the theater in the same fashion Bella seems to trudge through life. But unlike our tormented teen lead, I can calmly accept that which I cannot change and know that just as the “Moon” rises, eventually, it too shall set.

~ by usesoapfilm on November 23, 2009.

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