"New Moon" is the latest chapter of "Dummies for Shakespeare"

“These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. Which, as they kiss, consume.”
Bella first words in “New Moon”.

“Second verse same as the first.”
“Henry the Eighth” by Herman’s Hermits, what Bella should have said.

I’ve been asked by more than a few people why, as someone who covers the horror genre, am I reviewing any of the Twilight movies since they obviously aren’t horror movies. I ask myself the same thing when watching these movies. I said it before I started watching them that reviewing any of the Twilight films as a horror movie is tantamount to kicking a crippled kid down a flight of stairs. Still, either through accident or intent, the Twilight series keeps insinuating itself into the horror fold, like a little brother trying to tag along with his older brother.

But more on this later.

Bella’s starting to worry about getting older – despite the fact that even though she’s one year physically older than her boyfriend she’s still 91 years younger than he is. At her birthday party at the Cullen house, Bella gets a paper cut and is almost set upon by one of the other friendly neighborhood vampires. This, of course, is OK with Bella because it’s just one of those things you have to accept when you’re dating someone who could just as easily consider you a snack as he could a girlfriend. Edward, given a chance to wimble again, decides it would be best – if not a little safer – for Bella if he and his clan just packed it in and went away. And so they go and Bella drops into a months-long funk. She’s pulled out of it though by re-enacting a moment when she was going to be, most likely, gang-raped because it allowed her to “see” Edward. She decides the next day that she needs more life-threatening activities so she grabs two junker motorcycles and goes over to her childhood friend and coincidental gearhead, Jacob to help her put them back together. If it wasn’t obvious enough from the first movie, Jacob has the hot bananas for Bella – but then what guy in her town doesn’t – and before too long, Bella is happy (or rather, happy for her, comparatively speaking) spending time with Jacob. But things don’t stay happy for too long as Edward’s world comes crashing in again.

I’ll leave it there because I don’t want to bore you with the rest of the story. No, really, the story is really pretty boring. And let’s not forget stupid. A friend of mine told me that the story and relationships in it don’t make sense because it’s fantasy and doesn’t have to makes sense. However, I beg to differ on this point. The story setting — unless the story takes place in Wackyland — does not relieve the characters of behaving in a believable fashion. For the second straight movie, Bella is the emo monster stalker of Forks, Washington, not content unless she can have her pretty playthings, whether that is Edward or Jacob. And she would just as soon die as not get her way or what she wants but that’s OK because it’s terribly tragic and romantic – especially since “New Moon” tries so desperately to make itself out to be some modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

How desperately you ask? Well, you can’t swing a dead scene girl in this movie without hitting a loose copy of Romeo and Juliet lying about or happen on a classroom discussion of the Bard’s star-cross’d lovers. The thing is that good storytellers can evoke other tales without having to hold up a copy and virtually shouting, “LOOK! We’re just like this!” Take, for instance, Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice”. It was easily evocative of Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”, but never once felt like it had to show a scene from the 1931 classic or put bolts in Dren’s neck.

A hack has to tell you what it’s trying to do.
Just sayin’.

And with “Eclipse”, the third installment of the series, coming out tonight, more hackery is almost guaranteed. To borrow from The Bard myself, a rose by any other name – if that rose be a Twilight movie – would still stink up the joint.