Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Anna Kendrick, Michael Sheen. Rated PG-13.
newcomer to the Twilight
confess myself unfamiliar with Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novels, except for
what I’ve gleaned from two screen adaptations. In the first, we witness the
birth of a potentially timeless romance, as young, mortal Bella (Kristen
Stewart) falls madly in love with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a vampire
whose taste for blood is rivaled only by his reluctance to draw it from his
New Moon finds their romance on the rocks.
Edward, tormented as ever, believes himself a threat to Bella’s safety, and not
without reason. (His brother Jasper, played with wide-eyed ferocity by Jackson
Rathbone, lunges for her veins on her 18th birthday, in what must be the
ultimate party foul.) Bella, who yearns to be a vampire herself – the lure of
eternal love has her teenage heart aflutter – could care less about safety so
long as Edward’s pale, marble-smooth skin is pressed against her own.
When Edward and his family split town, Bella
retires to her bedroom, where her high-pitched screams seem destined to
shatter the glassware. It survives, but Bella’s heart is irreparably broken.
She takes solace in extreme sports, which satisfy her lust for dangerous
living, and finds a new best friend in Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who just happens
to be… a werewolf.
Where’s a normal guy when you need one?
Apparently nowhere to be found in Forks, Washington (pop. 3,120), where
gruesome murders are shockingly routine and young, exquisitely sculpted boys
wander the wilderness in search of shirts. Bella, of course, isn’t interested
in “normal” – she’s addicted to the darkness, whether she finds it in Jacob’s
hot temper or Edward’s smoldering stare. But whom to choose?
Those acquainted with Meyer’s books should be
familiar with the theme of abstinence, which permeates their subtext. Bella
wants to go all the way; Edward can’t allow it, recoiling from her touch for
fear of acting on his lethal desires. New Moon suggests the tantalizing
possibility of a love triangle, albeit a sexless one, by injecting Jacob into
the mix, but he seems just as hesitant as Edward. Both are predators by nature,
but in matters of the heart (or, more precisely, the loins), they are the prey.
Will fans of last year's Twilight be satisfied by New Moon? I believe they will. The movie
is funny, endearingly romantic and, at times, highly entertaining, in a campy sort of way. Its defects include cumbersome
dialogue and ludicrous plotting – it's lack of sophistication is total – but who's going to notice with
all the shirtless wolf-men flexing their pecs?