Following on from the huge box office success of Twilight, New Moon is the next instalment in author Stephanie Meyer’s thinly veiled metaphor for sexual abstinence.
Here, perpetually angst fillled Bella and Edward are forced to part ways, realising the danger his ‘kind’ present to her, he fears for her safety. Thus begins Bella’s downward spiral of depression-lasting several months, but only several seconds of exposition. With Edward out of the picture, it’s the turn of Jacob, Bella’s childhood friend who spends most of the film inexplicably shirtless, to take on the role of Bella’s protector.
Bella, in the wake of so many strong female characters in recent years, is irratatingly pallid, helpless and far too dependable on the men in her life, falling into despair at the loss of Edward. Obvious sexism aside,New Moon is dull and overlong with very little plot to sustain its running time. Whilst Catherine Hardwicke’s direction of Twilight succeeded in creating a fairly atmospheric and well shot rendition of the source novel, Chris Weitz’s direction of New Moon relies far too heavily on slow motion, making what should be the most entertaining moments of the films tedious and monotonous. Weitz struggles to find the balance between creating a teen drama and a fantasy film, with the film ultimately tipping towards the former, and as a result the fantasy elements seem superfluous at times.
The constant lingering looks between Bella and her love interests do little to develop any convincing feelings for the audience to engage with, the characters are so one-dimensional it’s almost impossible to understand what any of them see in each other.
In addition the acting hasn’t improved from the first film, with Robert Pattinson struggling to emote anything, whilst Kirsten Stewart brings very little range of depth to a character that is supposed to be the emotional focus of the film. Whilst fans of the franchise will no doubt be pleased with this latest instalment, with its record breaking box office success as testament to its popularity, New Moon is poorly edited, causing it to become needlessly confusing at times. It’s also gulity of taking itself far too seriously, treating the source material too reverentially, and lacks any narrative drive or tension.