In the wake of the international pant-dampening hysteria generated by Twilight last year, Summit Entertainment certainly knew they had a cash cow on their hands.
So before you could say ‘kerching!’ they were churning out the second of Stephanie Meyer’s dreary books following the teen romance between vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and human Bella (Kristen Stewart) as they negotiate the perils of breaking up and resisting blood-lust (seriously, what does he do when she has her period?).
When Bella is nearly scoffed by one of Edward’s siblings, he dumps her and leaves her to recover with the help of jailbait hottie Jacob (Taylor Lautner) – who also happens to be a werewolf. And then there’s a unicorn who… no, not really.
But if this sounds preposterous already, New Moon is not for you. It’s aimed unashamedly at fans looking for Pattinson porn and willing to buy into the Meyers mythology with a straight face.
Where original Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke successfully tapped into primal teenage sexual longing, replacement Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) makes the glossy follow-up slavishly faithful to the over-ripe book, loaded with operatic performances and a portentous tone that that is never far from being snigger-inducing.
Edward struts everywhere (and even skips through the woods) in eye-candy slo-mo. Everyone… (frown) talks with (lip-bite)… overly dramatic pauses. God, everyone is MISERABLE. And the CGI wolves are a bit rubbish.
But like Marmite, what some will hate, others will love. Book devotees will be thrilled by Rosenberg’s attention to Meyers’s florid dialogue and key scenes; Twilight movie fans will get moist for R-Pattz stripping and Lautner’s physical transformation from boy to lupine stud; and casual viewers will enjoy Michael Sheen’s entertaining scenery munching as a vampire law-maker.
Yes, it’s not as unquantifiably hot or audience-transcending as Twilight, but New Moon is still a guilty pleasure that should keep fans across the spectrum happy, without being a stand-alone great film.
Besides, the cliffhanger ending to the next instalment (2010’s Eclipse ) promises room for improvement. And it’s only eight months away…
Depending on your gender, age and Twihard-ness, this good-looking angst party is either a solid Meyer adaptation with quiver-worthy moments of hotness; or a wet, ludicrous, unintentionally-funny pile of steaming bathos.