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Twilight Saga: New Moon, The


Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Billy Burke, Justin Chon

Director: Chris Weitz

You could argue that Stephenie Meyer’s celebrated, now 18-year-old, high school heroine Bella Swan, attractively played by Stewart, displays a poor choice in men. When her pallid and Byronic vampire ideal Edward Cullen refuses her request to bite her so that she can join his vampire clan and then departs, leaving her broken-hearted, she then turns to her childhood friend Jacob for help, ignoring the fact that he is a werewolf.

That’s the core narrative of Weitz’s surefire sequel (scripted by Melissa Rosenberg). Even though Cullen disappears with his ‘family’ for a large part of the film, leaving grieving Bella to go to zombie films and try and connect with Cullen again by raising her adrenaline level through cliff diving and other dicey pursuits in the hope her blood-drinking (but not her blood, of course) soul mate will reappear to save her. Cullen fans will be relieved to know he turns up for the final portion and for a last line that leaves sequel(s) a certainty. Stewart carries her dramatic burden well, convincingly portraying a teenager more than willing literally to die for love.

Other parts are well played, too, notably by buffer-than-buff Lautner as Jacob and Sheen who turns up as a vampire monarch and is so wonderfully camp that, should his role continue through the sequels, he could well be responsible for the creation of new and unique word for the living dead – ‘campire’. Dakota Fanning is on board, too, and it says much for Weitz that, happily, she's not as irritating as usual.

Special effects are excellent but not so showy that they detract from the story, the score (especially in the openings) is moody and atmospheric and its (mostly female, I would guess) teenage demographic is ideally catered for. Success is guaranteed. And hopefully Weitz will continue at the helm of the series.

Alan Frank

USA 2009. UK Distributor: E1 Entertainment. Colour by deluxe.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 17 Nov 2009