The Twilight Saga: New Moon
(12A) 130 min
There is a glut of vampires in current pop culture, but none has been embraced so fervently as the versions in Stephenie Meyer’s four Twilight novels. This adaptation of the second book assumes a dedicated audience already conversant in the story, characters and meta-mythology, to which director Chris Weitz delivers a faithful, fan-friendly reproduction.
Covering the middle ground of the series, the epic relationship between normal girl Bella (a transcendent Kristen Stewart) and undead Edward (a pallid Robert Pattinson) falters, leaving space for new lupine love rival Jacob (the ripped Taylor Lautner) and resulting in some close brushes with vampire law-makers the Volturi (led by a wickedly arch Michael Sheen).
With relationship angst to the fore, and the main character in a tedious depression most of the time, the potentially entertaining ‘vampire versus werewolf hi-jinks’ is downplayed, the overriding outlook is bleak. Despite the pitch-perfect soundtrack by a cast of indie royalty pulling things along, the concept requires significant emotional investment to sustain interest. Although the few moments where it acknowledges its own silliness help strengthen the case for an ironic viewing.
For naysayers, no amount of justification by rabid fans will convince them it is anything other than an insipid teen vamp romance. For fans, the assiduous casting, convincing CGI and fantastic soundtrack make this an imperative extension to the Twilight canon.