Two little words appeared on the screen: New. Moon. And as you can hear in this clip, those words caused Twihards to yelp, clap, and shriek.

Why was I even there? I think the books are dumb, and I hated the first film. Well, first of all, I felt like it was my duty, since I did it last year. Second of all, as an amateur anthropologist, dilettante and pop culture junkie, I feel required to keep up with the zeitgeist. Plus, maybe the new director (Chris Weitz) would improve the feel of the film? Last but not least, two words: Buff Werewolf.

So there I was, scooting through the rain in downtown Manhattan to a theater where the line went out of the lobby and wrapped around itself into a weird storage area where ladders were lying on the floor.

As my friend Workhorse and I settled into the line, the young lady in front of us assessed the wait and proclaimed, "I should have brought my computer, I could have done my homework."

"We're the oldest ones here," Workhorse whispered to me. It was mostly true: teens and twenty-somethings lined the walls of the waiting room. Workhorse and I are firmly entrenched in our 30s. When we did see one older guy, he had a young girl with braces with him. Daughter? Niece? Neither of us had that excuse.

"This movie is romantic," I warned Workhorse. "Are you going to cry?"
"I might cover my eyes if it's scary," he replied.
I frowned: "You didn't cover your eyes in the first one."
"I was too busy rolling them."

When we got to our seats I heard the 19-ish girl next to me say to her friend, "I can't believe you haven't read the books!"

I have read the books. Well, the first one, the second one, and half of the third one. I found them hypnotic, yet frustrating: The writing wasn't great and the story dragged; yet I was always curious to know: What happens next?

And such is New Moon. The filmmakers claimed they wanted to keep the movie close to the books, and they did: It is SO SLOW. The story drags. The drama in the first few minutes — when Bella gets a paper cut in front of a pack of vamps — is only mildly interesting; there's something off in the way she holds up her bloody finger and announces she's been cut — it's just so obvious, lacking in finesse or subtlety. Also: When you get a paper cut, don't you just automatically put you finger in your mouth? Jeez.

Anyway, next, Edward the Sparkle Vamp promptly breaks up with Bella (the girl next to me cried a little.) And then, for a long time, nothing happens. Bella mopes, has nightmares, goes through the motions. In the film, there's a montage to indicate that October, November and December pass while she is catatonic from misery, and it felt almost like her mourning process was happening in real time. IT WAS TEDIOUS. Plus, every time she interacted with the long-haired, fully clothed Buff Werewolf, all I could think was, "CUT YOUR HAIR AND TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF AND GET THIS MOVIE STARTED." More naked werewolves, less of the morose girl.

Through the film, Bella is narrating in a voiceover, but the conceit is that she is writing to her vampire friend Alice. Every scene without dialog begins, "Alice." and then "I am blah blah blah." If you play a drinking game when you go see this movie, drink every time she says "Alice" and you'll be wasted an hour in.

Time went by. The movie started at 12:20 and Bella didn't piece together that the werewolf is a werewolf until almost 2am. Her relationship with Jacob the Buff Werewolf is actually really sweet, and he seems like a better choice for her than brooding Edward, but that's just me. (Team Jacob?) The biggest problem is that Bella is a crappy heroine. She doesn't enunciate, she's incredibly passive, and I'm pretty sure she's codependent.

There were a few moments when the Buff Werewolf's dilemma — going through something and not being able to tell anyone — seemed like a metaphor for coming out of the closet, but that was probably just me trying to make things more interesting.

I laughed when Bella took VIRGIN airways to Italy; and the visuals of her running through the Little Red Riding Hood convention were actually really beautiful. And between Bella's friends and father, there are quite a few laughs. Unfortunately, the jokes are sideshows to a sluggish, depressing tale. The movie is bad. It's too long and too boring. Bella lacks the kind of spunky, triumphant joie de vivre I admired so much in Buffy. I know I'm not the target audience for New Moon — but as a woman who loves to get swept up in fantasy, drama, romance, vampires and werewolves, I was really and truly open minded; willing to give it a chance. Alas: For a flick with a lot of fangs, it didn't have much bite.

I did enjoy this:


Howling At New Moon: Midnight Screening Is Total MayhemS

And this:


Howling At New Moon: Midnight Screening Is Total MayhemS


But that's about it, so save your twelve bucks.

Earlier: Twilight At Midnight: Smells Like Teen Spirit