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TWILIGHT SAGA, THE: NEW MOON

SYNOPSIS:
After Bella (Kristen Stewart) recovers from the vampire attack that almost claimed her life, she looks to celebrate her birthday with Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his family. However, a minor accident during the festivities results in Bella's blood being shed, a sight that proves too intense for the Cullens, who decide to leave the town of Forks, Washington, for Bella and Edward's sake. Initially heartbroken, Bella finds a form of comfort in reckless living, as well as an even-closer friendship with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Danger in different forms awaits.

Review by Louise Keller:
You're good with weird, Kristen Stewart's Bella is told, as the impossible love triangle between vampire and wolf-man unravels. After the spectacularly successful Twilight, this second in the franchise has plenty to live up to, and although New Moon may not have the breathless anticipation of the original (after all, how do you top the revelation that the boy in your biology class is a vampire?), fans will mostly be satisfied. I was sorry Catherine Hardwicke did not take up the helm again (the mood she captured was exceptional and faithful to the novel), but Chris Weitz' direction works adequately. So too, does the storyline involving Taylor Lautner's beefed up wolf-man Jacob, although we are all waiting impatiently for charismatic Robert Pattinson as Edward, whose intensity on screen has more spark than the sparkles on his white skin when exposed to the sun.

The film begins with Bella's 18th birthday and Edward's declaration 'The only thing that can hurt me is you.' It seems like a leap when he suddenly declares (after an incident involving a drop of Bella's blood on the white long-pile carpet and one of his brothers) 'You're just not good for me'. It is then that the screenplay starts to lag. Lautner's long-haired Jacob gives Bella a dream-catcher (to catch those bad dreams), but without Edward, she is inconsolable. It is not until Jacob gets a haircut and takes off his shirt that she begins to notice him. Ah yes, and then he turns into a wolf. Good move. I found Bella's voice over narration in which she shares her innermost thoughts in correspondence with Edward's sister Alice (Ashley Greene) irritating, but things get back on track when she heads to Italy to find Edward.

Pace is not the only thing that stumbles in this sequel. The screenplay feels padded and the different strands of the storyline do not mesh together seamlessly. Performances however, live up to expectations with Stewart and Pattinson exuding the magic that reminds us why we care so much about their relationship. There are touches of humour and some spectacular action, although we are already waiting impatiently for the final chapter in the franchise.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I don't know what Twilight book fans will make of this second movie from the saga, but as just another film critic who took to the first one, I am a little disappointed. The tone isn't as elegant and shimmering as was Catherine Hardwicke's handling of the material, and there are clunky story telling flaws, including an opening sequence that promises much more than it delivers. One saving grace of the first film was the successful weaving together of the human and the immortal vampire elements, the fantasy that gave it the lifeblood of exotica.

That tone is largely missing, and in the third act, things get positively cheesy in the high court of the vampires, where Martin Sheen rules like a demented Tony Blair. His lounge-hugging court hangers on are even worse, growling and hamming as if they were in a B movie from the 50s.

However, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson save the day with a repeat performance of sensitivity and texture, credible and emotionally satisfying delivery and wistful young love moments. This is, after all, a trans-species love triangle and there is perhaps far too much time given to the tortures of breaking or broken young hearts; repetition strain movie moments injury sets in.

The love story takes over early on and after Edward leaves Bella, leaving her writhing in painful nightmares. After a while this gets a little tiresome, there is distraction when Jacob (Taylor Lautner) makes his move to take Edward's place. Jacob's secret soon surfaces and the old feud between vampires and werewolves reignites. But it feels perfunctory and the focus stays on the love triangle. Scares are few, fights are rare and bloodsucking is avoided; in the final analysis, this chapter of Twilight is not so much a vampire movie but a chick flick. But the pasty charm and genuine, melancholy tone is missing.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

TWILIGHT

TWILIGHT SAGA, THE: NEW MOON (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Christina Jastrzembska, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Justin Chon, Christian Serratos, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Cam Gigandet, Michael Sheen

PRODUCER: Wyck Godfrey

DIRECTOR: Chris Weitz

SCRIPT: Melissa Rosenberg (novel by Stephenie Meyer)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Javier Aguirresarobe

EDITOR: Peter Lambert

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Brisbin

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 19, 2009







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