The Twilight Saga - New Moon
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
Direction: Chris Weitz
Rating: ** & 1/2
Comparisons, it is believed, are odious. The trouble is that sequels demand the as-good-better-or-disappointing estimation. And so here’s dispensing with that right away by saying the second installment in the Twilight series is certainly not as riveting. In fact, it strives to remain as faithful to the fatalistic tone of the first movie, and cashes in once again on the youth appeal of its lead players Stewart and Pattinson.
Director Catherine Hardwicke is now replaced by Chris Weitz who has helmed such films as About A Boy and The Golden Compass. Weitz sticks to the sensual spirit of the lethal-toothed vampire books authored by Stephenie Meyer, but in the process also tries to pack in so much of the text that the film’s running time of some 130 minutes becomes a drag. Also it becomes more than obvious that Weitz is trying to exploit the sex appeal of its stars, especially the males who are assigned big stripping-to-the-torso moments.
Needless to say movies about vampires make it compulsory for us to suspend our sense of disbelief. The blood-guzzling folk move around coolly through an American small-town, are incredibly ageless, and a mega-crisis can be set off by a sharp paper causing a slight cut.
The focus is again on the melancholic Bella (Stewart) who still pines for her vampire paramour. On his part, Edward (Pattinson) with that famous chalky face and ruby red lips continues to believe in love and protection of La Bella. A bit of Romeo and Juliet is evoked at the outset to give their romance an epical dimension. Sweet? Yes, but also corny.
Since plots about just a man and a woman in love cannot have an edge, the other boy is brought in; Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who can turn into a werewolf to safeguard humankind from ghastly elements like the leader (Michael Sheen, quite over the top) of a vampire clan.
More than the storyline — which does become quite complicated — the sequel’s appeal is in recreating a chilly atmosphere, in belting out taut action flourishes, and above all, reigniting the Stewart-Pattinson chemistry. While Twilight was very indie and tightly-budgeted, New Moon has more technical sheen and a wider scale, which we hope doesn’t get bloated way beyond recognition the next time our girl and fang boy are back to lock lips, combat calamities and cast melting looks right into the viewer’s eyes.
Youth appeal is the calling card of New Moon. And we accept it quite gladly once again, though we know the aim is to get us addicted. So let’s just lie back get ourselves a tub of popcorn and enjoy it.