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dir Chris Weitz
scr Melissa Rosenberg
prd Wyck Godfrey
with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Chaske Spencer, Anna Kendrick, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Graham Greene
release US/UK 20.Nov.09
09/US Summit 2h20
When the cat's away: Stewart and Lautner
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga continues with this darker and even mopier chapter. The relational knots of emo heroes and dreamy hunks are making it start to feel rather soapy. It may not be as sharp as Catherine Hardwick's TWILIGHT, but it'll keep fans swooning.
Just as Bella (Stewart) turns 18 and begins her senior year in high school, her beloved Edward (Pattinson) decides he has to leave town for her safety. In a deep funk, she eventually turns to neighbour Jacob (Lautner) for company, but their friendship takes a twist when he starts getting hunky and tetchy and hanging out with gang-leader Sam (Spencer). But it's not steroids; the gang members are actually werewolves, locked in mortal combat with vampires. And she needs (and wants) to keep both Edward and Jacob in her life.
The plot echoes Romeo & Juliet (and not just because they're studying the play in school), which adds tension to the otherwise dreary events. The character detail and action-oriented sideroads from the first film are actually more integral here so, despite the long running time, the story has more momentum. That said, it's still told from the perspective of a moody adolescent.
Even more than the first film, this is a movie for teen girls who feel weak at the knees over the idea of romance with one of these idealised boyfriend types: lovers and friends. The handsome cast members generate considerable internal angst as batting eyelashes face off against rippling abs. There's also much gazing off-screen and mumbled dialog, so it's a welcome change when a grown-up arrives to steal a scene. Sheen is especially good as the leader of the uber-vampire Vulpari, as is Fanning as his vile sidekick. We should get much more of them in the next two films.
Meanwhile, some nasty touches add texture alongside all the longing and yearning. Sudden moments of violence continually catch us by surprise, adding to the drama, as do hints about both things that have happened and things still to come. The only missteps are the jerky plotting and the cartoonish wolf effects; otherwise the filmmaking is lush and forebodingly beautiful, especially as it portrays woods that are lovely, dark and deep. And everything looks so cool it almost hurts.
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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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