Release Date (UK) –20 November 2009
Certificate (UK) – 12A
Country – USA
Director – Chris Weitz
Runtime – 130 mins
Starring – Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
So, I confess, I’ve never seen Twilight or read the books. But, when I got offered tickets to a special London preview screening last night, I just had to find out what all the fuss was about. Twilight was a huge box office success (read our Twilight Review), and New Moon is looking to do the same having already made £1m in advance ticket sales in the UK before its cinema release tomorrow. The films are based on the bestselling books of author Stephanie Meyer and focus around American teen Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) and her relationship to teen Vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and other supernatural beings that roam around the town of Forks where she lives. The film was shown at the Odeon Leicester Square, which has 1700 seats so was unsurprisingly full of mostly teenage girls. The start was delayed as it was announced we were waiting for a special guest, which made these girls scream en-masse for the first of many times, presumably hoping for Pattinson. Unfortunately the guest turned out to be Michael Sheen, who was so badly stuck in traffic they gave up waiting, but there was an introduction from Brit Jamie Campbell Bower who plays one of the new vampire roles, Caius, which the screaming teens seemed happy enough with. Throughout the film they screamed whenever a new teen heartthrob first appeared or took their top off (a tad annoying, but to be expected).
Anyway, to the film. I was constantly surprised by how watchable it was, I had read a summary of Twilight in preparation but the plot was very easy to follow anyway. Bella’s world is torn apart when Edward leaves Forks in order to protect her from him and his vampire Family, cue lots of teenage angst and crying. After the vampires have left Bella finds company in friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), but he turns out to be just as dangerous for her as he mysteriously ignores her and she eventually discovers the he is a werewolf, roaming with a pack of other teen wolves. Both Jacob and Edward vie for her love in a saga that it is categorised by fans as Team Edward Vs Team Jacob – well I can tell you now from the cries of hundreds of fans last night it’s definitely team Edward whose the favourite. There are a few plots carrying on from the last film as well – Bella is being hunted by Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) whose vampire boyfriend was killed by Edward when he attacked Bella, but Jacob and the wolves protect her.
Although there’s not much plot really the film paces along nicely and was captivating enough to keep you in your seat. The most annoying thing is the agonisingly slow motion shots of shirtless teenage boys running through the woods, but this is what the teens swoon at so you can’t really blame the filmmakers. Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner all perform well, with deadpan teenage moodiness down to a tee. Michael Sheen is hilarious as the head of the Volturi, a sort of governing body of the Vampires in Italy (it’s impossible not to make comparisons to the Vatican here), and clearly outshines the rest of the teen cast. The film has been given a big enough budget that the majority of the special effects are good quality and theres the usual emotional teen ballad soundtrack that may grate on older viewers. It’s a very simple film, and I couldn’t see how it could possibly not be loved by the target fanbase audience. Even if you’re not in that audience, it’s a perfectly harmless easy watch, but I’d suggest perhaps going to a showing during school hours to avoid the teenage cries and gasps that plagued my screening.