So, what do you do when you’re dumped by both your brooding vampire boyfriend and your brooding werewolf rebound? That’s the plot of New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, the movie based on Stephenie Meyer’s first novel.
The answer, Bella Swan decides, is to throw yourself into one hazardous situation after another just to get a fleeting glimpse of your former happiness. What else?
New Moon is a tight adaptation of the novel, which was full of action, humor and some decent drama. If you can get past the long stretches of unapologetic beefcake and the accompanying girly cheers and tween hype, it doesn’t make a bad movie.
Where it suffers, unforgivably, is in its leading man.
I can’t stand Robert Pattinson’s acting as Edward Cullen. I tried, but each time he grimaced while pretending to swallow his bloodlust, I cringed — and it’s definitely not out of fear. New Moon greatly benefits from his long absence, brought about by an accident that highlights mortal Bella’s vulnerability and forces the Cullen family to pack up and leave.
Fortunately, this gives Taylor Lautner a chance to shine as Jacob Black, a young pup from the local Indian reservation who has been carrying a torch for Bella — and has secrets of his own. He doesn’t get the best dialogue — if there is any — but he’s easily the most likable character this time around.
Everyone except the wooden Pattinson brings a better game than they did the first time around, in Twilight, but the movie could have benefited from more of the quirky Cullen clan. As it is, Jacob’s pack of werewolves easily eclipses the vampires in New Moon, and while fans know this sets the stage for things to come, it feels uneven.
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
What worked: Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. Condensing Bella’s months-long depression into a stylish seasonal montage that minimizes the goth angst. A truly creepy visit with the vampire royal class, the Volturi.
What didn’t work: The leading man, who managed to awkward up the movie without barely saying a word.
Image: Summit Entertainment