You would think that after a year of hype, there would be no surprises left to find in New Moon, the sure-to-go-gangbusters sequel to last year’s unbelievably popular Twilight. But just in case you feel unprepared, here’s a cheat sheet of things you should know before you drop ten bucks.
1. Bella and Edward have no more chemistry. They used to, but it’s alllll gone. Part of this is because he bows out of the movie at the 15-minute mark and only reappears as the Hovering Dad to lecture Bella about what she shouldn’t be doing. Part of this is because, at some point during the Twilight press junket, Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson realized they were hostages of a franchise they could not escape, and refusing to act is their form of passive resistance.
2. Neither do Bella and Jacob. You remember in high school, and you and your bio lab partner worked on assignments together all the time and maybe hung out at lunch cramming for tests and it wasn’t that you didn’t like them, it was just that you didn’t have a choice about who your partner was, so you just tried to just get along until the year was over and you could go home?
3. This movie has a soundtrack. In case you’re in danger of forgetting that moviemakers sometimes commission work from musicians, every scene that isn’t packed with awkward dialogue gets its own swelling vaguely-alt ballad pumping through four speakers. Occasionally, this works; the werewolves’ pursuit of Victoria takes on a nightmarish air thanks to Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage.” Most of the time, it makes the movie feel like a long trailer for the soundtrack – which, I don’t know if you know, this movie has.
4. Moviemaking has achieved real-time technology. After Bella and Edward break up, her moping is actually played out moment-by-moment in real time, so that by the time the plot moves forward, we’re exactly as sick of her as we should be after a fiscal quarter.
5. The human kids are even better than last time. They were a highlight of Twilight, and they don’t disappoint here; it’s like they got together for a secret meeting in which they decided to be so awesome that they overshadowed all the people with supernatural powers with their magnificent line deliveries. (Hint: it worked. Can we just get a movie about you guys?)
6. Ditto for Charlie. Billy Burke is the only person in this entire franchise who never has to pause in his daily work and say, “Man, did I make a mistake signing up for those movies?” He’s paid his dues for years, and his performance of a nervously protective single father is one of the movie’s few bright spots.
7. There is a dreadful shirt shortage on the La Push reservation. Luckily for young werewolves who shred their clothes when making the transformation, the forests of the Pacific Northwest are an excellent natural source of jean cutoffs.
8. Firing Rachelle Lefebvre was a bad idea. Her one (wordless) scene was the highlight of the movie; there is more danger in the image of her standing alone than in all the Volturi you can shove into a duomo. Mistake, Summit.
9. More money, more problems. New Moon had a significantly larger budget than Twilight, which is understandable – CGI werewolves cost a lot more than vampire makeup. However, it looks like most of the budget went into amber contact lenses, temporary tattoo transfers, outdoor green-screens, and three hundred red velvet robes. The wolves themselves look like they were borrowed from a moderately well-rendered video game. For this they fired Catherine Hardwicke?
10. No matter how much you think you don’t care, you’ll still shout at the screen at the end of the movie. Love it or hate it, you’ll have something to say at the end of the movie. It’s how things are going to fall out, no matter what; don’t fight it. It’s just science.