*Despite the fact that all of the principal cast members returned, New Moon pales in comparison to Twilight, which landed on this critic’s Annual Top Ten List for 2009.
A big difference from the original is that this sequel tends to break the tension with tons of comic relief, where the first installment allowed it to continue building, thereby ratcheting up the intensity in a manner that made for a bone-chilling experience.
Twilight 2 arrives not only riddled with jokes but punctuated with distracting pop culture asides, as if desperate to sound contemporary.
For instance, there’s the scene where Bella (Kristen Stewart) brushes off Jacob (Taylor Lautner) with, “I’m not into that ‘Cougar’ thing,” because she’s a couple of years older than her solicitous, 16 year-old suitor.
Or how about when we hear another character refer to the H1N1 virus by saying, “He probably has that flu that’s going around.”
Equally annoying is when the potentially shocking revelation that Jacob is a werewolf is immediately undercut by the punny quip “Guess the wolf’s out of the bag.” On another occasion, potentially-menacing werewolves are merely dismissed as a harmless “pack of mutts.”
All of the above notwithstanding, Twilight 2 remains a review-proof adventure certain to keep its intended demographic enthralled for a couple of hours, specifically, those teens weaned on Stephenie Meyer’s popular quartet of otherworldly romance novels. Here, the plot revolves around a tortured love triangle in which beautiful Bella, a human, finds herself torn between Edward (Robert Pattinson), a dreamboat vampire, and Jacob, the aforementioned werewolf.
To anyone not in the targeted teen demographic, the story probably sounds patently-preposterous. But who are they to quibble with such a popular escapist fantasy which never takes itself seriously, yet somehow still resonates perfectly with the overly-sentimental, puppy love inclinations of passionate, prepubescent females?
I wouldn’t be surprised if in Twilight 3 Bella falls for Frankenstein.
Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for some violence and action.
Running time: 130 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Audio commentary with director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert, a 6-part “Behind-the-Scenes” documentary, rehearsal footage and music videos.
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To see a trailer for Twilight: New Moon, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tQk8pKnnVY