Three Stars

I haven’t read the books, the sight of Robert Pattinson does not make me orgasm, and I spent most of Twilight wondering why I had paid to see two hours of painfully bad abstinence porn aimed at hormonal teens. So why, you may ask, did I go to see New Moon? In short, I went to laugh. In the first film, moments designed to pluck at the heartstrings of young girls, such as one classroom scene where Edward’s desire for Bella (Kristin Stewart) hits him so hard that he nearly vomits, had me in hysterics, and I couldn’t resist going back for more. I wasn’t disappointed. For those who don’t buy into the story, New Moon provides plenty of poorly written, badly acted moments to laugh at; my personal favourite is Bella’s repeated claim that when Edward leaves town after an upsetting paper-cut related incident, he leaves a ‘hole in her soul’.

While Edward’s departure is initially devastating for both Bella and Cullen devotees alike, it saves New Moon from the same terrible fate of Twilight, and is fantastic news for people who actually want to watch a film rather than just commit freeze-frames of Cullen looking angsty to memory for post-film fantasising. Though director Chris Weitz still caters to Cullen fans by having him appear to Bella when she is in danger (a frequent occurrence considering her crazy new hobby, ‘thrill seeking’), the emergence of a buffer, older Jacob (Taylor Lautner), will have many young girls questioning their loyalties. More than adequately filling the eye-candy hole that Edward has left, his over-developed torso plays a starring role, and one particular moment when he whips off his t-shirt had the audience screaming with delight. Hot-blooded and full of desire for Bella, his warm energy counters her cold brooding perfectly, and brings the film to life.

The sexual chemistry between Stewart and Lautner is intense, and beats Cullen’s stilted speech and agonizing glowering hands down. There are still some dubious moments – namely Bella’s musing ‘you’re so warm; you’re like your own sun’ – but overall the relationship between the new duo is fun, fully developed, and had me questioning what Bella was ever doing with Edward. 
The whole film is far richer than the first instalment. The vampires look more natural, CGI wolves are introduced, characters in supporting roles are given personalities, Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning cameo as deliciously disturbing members of the Italian Volturi clan, the scenery is much more dramatic, and the indie soundtrack (arguably the only redeeming feature of the first film) is still there.  While some earnest moments still made me laugh, I was gripped, and though I still don’t think it is worth the devotion that so many fans give it, I’m starting to understand what all the fuss is about.

Release: Now Showing

Director: Chris Weitz

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner