Twilight is probably the only genre of movies in which both the leading men are told how "beautiful" they are, by the leading lady herself. And really, after watching New Moon, you get a faint idea of what works for the Twilight series overall - it's the men in it. You know it because their "intro scenes" look imported from Tollywood, and so does the audience reaction, in a crowd of teenaged girls.
For those who've just stepped in, here's the background of the Twilight series, based on Stephanie Meyer's series of novels. A shy 16-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), and a vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) fall in love at a high school in Forks. The Cullens are "vegetarian" vampires, meaning they keep away from human blood, but Bella is in danger because there are the other kinds of vampires around as well.
In New Moon, Edward realizes that Bella cannot be safe even from his own well-meaning family, because of the inherent nature of his breed. He discovers this when at her birthday party, she accidentally cuts her finger and his brother is drawn to her.
So he feigns a hostile break-up that leaves Bella dumbfounded, and moves away from Forks with his family for good. Bella somehow discovers she can get to see visions of Edward, every time she experiences a rush of danger. This tempts her to go for the adrenaline trips, and one of them makes Edward think she's killed herself.
All the while, Bella finds solace in the cheerful Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), but their relationship blurs the lines between friendship and romance when Jacob falls in love with her.
New Moon is more layered than the first par
t of the series, and has some detail in the action scenes as well. There are witty lines, though the humour isn't all that grown-up.
However, the romance here is as long-distance as it can get. Edward has essentially broken up with Bella, and neither knows if the other is even alive. As a result, the movie has a permanently despondent feel to it.
And critics who damn the teenage Twilight obsession aren't really off the mark. In New Moon, the heart-broken Bella regularly wakes up in the night screaming for her life, and even seems to find comfort in the behaviour. It's disturbing when you realize that adolescent girls - and the film's audience consists mostly of them - are constructing their own fantasies of a romantic relationship, and morbid notions like these are seeping into the thought process. Mills & Boon seems so productive at this point.
All the actors have a matured look over the first movie. Bella is probably among the most colourless and dullest heroines ever, especially given that she's in a fantasy series. She's depressed all through, and hence, Kristen Stewart, has just one expression to don. She looks graceful, though, and pulls it off well.
Robert Pattinson is barely around, but Lautner more than makes up for it. Both have built good bodies, as the film takes pains to let you know. Lautner is particularly good with the acting.
The action is limited to the werewolf transformations, and some fight scenes (whose gore should not surprise you if you've watched a Seema flick in Tollywood). The film is visually more interesting than the first, and you could even watch out for those few breathtaking images of hills and valleys.
New Moon is as interesting as you will let it be, and is surely so if you're faithfully following the series. For the rest, it's potentially numbing fare.