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The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Genre Fantasy
Year: 2009

New Moon is the latest victim, in the bestselling Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, to have been put through the Hollywood sausage machine like that nerdy kid with John Lennon style glasses and a jet-powered broomstick. I used to associate twilight with that soft diffused light in the sky just before dawn or sunset. After watching Twilight, a state of uncertainty, vagueness and gloom has taken its place - hang on, isn't that what twilight actually means? I heard somewhere that it's all an allegory for abstinence... how Edward, the vampire boy can't suck on Bella until they get married or something?

New Moon is a great story if you're planning on doing a Halloween edition of Dawson's Creek, but it's better suited to television. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are a good-looking trio, but don't have any real charm or depth beyond their shells in these TV performances. The languishing love triangle romance, wishy-washy paranormal action, the predominantly unknown "teen" cast... it's a TV series waiting to hatch. Unfortunately, the Twilight Saga doesn't make a great transition from the novel's pages to the film's frames and it just comes across as superficial and campy, a teenage soap opera with an emo double glaze.

New Moon continues the Twilight saga as the second chapter of forbidden romance unwinds... Mills & Boon would be proud. It's a matter of blind faith for "Twi-hards" as they go where no fan has gone before, following the saga into battle, ready to defend their beloved series at every turn with the back story safely tucked away in their heads. Perhaps this is why Twilight fans can actually appreciate the films... the books give the characters much-needed depth, which doesn't need to be earned in the films.

It's like the fans know the story well enough to fill in the blanks... making it easy for the actors to simply have the right look and speak their lines with a sultry grimace to impress fans and jade critics. For new initiates, who haven't read the books, or people who haven't bothered to watch Twilight before New Moon... it's a flat, slow and tawdry affair - there's just no connection at all, which probably explains why Golden Compass director, Chris Weitz wasn't hired to direct the follow-on, Eclipse!

I only managed the first 45 minutes of Twilight on DVD and the first 50 minutes of New Moon at last night's preview before I had to escape. You know when you start sinking lower and lower in your cinema seat, start looking at your watch and then down the aisle at how many knees you have to knock... I was uninvolved. Other contributing factors could have been that I was sitting next to a girl with a cup of ice, a straw and an oral fixation - who wouldn't stop commenting on Robert Pattinson's make-up and stabbing the ice to create more water to slurp. I could almost tell who her favourite characters were by the strength of the slurp, but it was painful... I wanted to say "Are you serious?", "Can I get you some water for your ice?" or "Would you like me to get you some ice blocks to suck on?".

The preview screening was abuzz with scores of excited teenage girls and their "Edwards and Jacobs", who applauded and squealed as Edward walked onto screen or Jacob removed his shirt to dab some blood. The lines had obviously been drawn with different huddles rooting for each of Bella's love interests, although it would have been more interesting if each support base had been divided like families at a wedding, vampires one side and werewolves on the other. I really tried to like New Moon and give it a chance to impress me. However, it just didn't take off, was less than satisfactory and as a result, I guess you could say I'm over New Moon.

The film just doesn't have enough bite for anyone other than fans and has the same lack-lustre quality as The Golden Compass. Perhaps all the hype raised my expectations too much, perhaps I just don't get the Twilight phenomenon or perhaps this self-absorbed Hamlet humdrum is what appeals to teenagers these days? The production values are high and there are one or two reasonably funny situational moments in New Moon, but as a paranormal romance it's just too vague and shallow. If you loved Twilight, you'll think New Moon is fantastic... but if you haven't read the books you should try to avoid this at all costs.

The bottom line: Fan-fare. 


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