New Moon

Year: 2009
Production Co: Summit Entertainment
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg/Stephanie Meyer
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Nikki Reed

As I write these words I'm in the unique position of having seen this film without seeing Twilight, which I managed to avoid after hearing how bad the CGI was as well as not being the target demographic.

Summit was prepared to spend a lot more money on this first sequel, so I was pleasantly surprised with many of the elements I expected to feel let down by. The effects and acting were both adequate for the movie's stated aim, and I actually saw a parallel with Girl Next Door – another movie about teenagers that portrayed them with concerns that deserve to be taken seriously instead of horny idiots. In that vein, Stewart as Bella is perfectly cast with her constant air of worry and melancholy, almost as if she's expecting everything to go wrong.

Unlike most sequels (and thanks to the book series on which it's based), it does help to watch the first film before seeing this as it follows a definite storyline and you won't understand some of it if you're new to the series.

We left Bella and Edward (Pattinson) in love happily ever after but all it takes is an attack of bloodlust by one of his vampire family after a papercut for Edward to realise she'll never be safe. The family decides it's time to leave, and he promises he'll never see her again.

Bella's left crushed, wracked by nightmares and reaching out to native American boy Jacob (Lautner), who reveals he's part of a coterie of werewolves sworn to destroy all vampires. As her feelings for him grow Bella's plunged into a classic torn-between-two-lovers dilemma and she exhibits increasingly self-destructive behaviour to spite Edward's memory.

Then the story abruptly veers away form Jacob as Bella learns Edward has gone to Italy to see a coven of senior vampires called the Volturi who live there, plead for Bella's safety and then end his life, knowing he'll live forever without her. Bella flies there to save him at the last minute and convince him they were meant to be together, but the Volturi (led by Michael Sheen in a little danger of typecasting and assisted by a scarily grown up Dakota Fanning) have other ideas about Bella's fate.

The soundtrack is eclectic/cool and if you're not the target market and expected something truly dire you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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