‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’
Director: Chris Weitz
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner
Rating: PG-13
Grade: ?????

No matter how this review of ‘New Moon’ ends, whether this critic loves or loathes the film, is irrelevant. If you’re one of the legions of “Twi-Hards,” you’ll be stepping on heads to see it this weekend anyway.

For what it’s worth, Chris Weitz’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to Catherine Hardwicke’s blockbuster vampire epic “Twilight” isn’t half bad: It’s a faithful, swoony, sweaty-palmed, teen-centric fantasy circus that knows exactly what its fervent fan base demands — and delivers those goods by the coffin load.


“New Moon” isn’t Shakespeare by any stretch (though Romeo and Juliet does figure rather heavy handedly into the narrative), but it is commendably hardcore in its single-minded drive to please its mostly female audience. If supernatural soap opera isn’t your thing, it also contains some dazzling imagery and action sequences that are simply beautiful to behold.

If “New Moon” has any real flaws, they’re certainly no fault of the filmmakers. Stephenie Meyer’s novel was ultimately a bridge that serves to set up the sting of “Eclipse” (which is currently in post-production) and the climax of “Breaking Dawn.” But it does what the first film couldn’t quite achieve: It etches out an identity of its own.

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