Twi-Hard 2: Twi Harder! The second of Stephenie Meyer's vampire chronicles finds high-schooler Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) devastated by the abrupt departure of her immortal beloved, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). However, her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with the irresistible Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Suddenly she finds herself drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested. Juicy stuff.
Twilight sunk its teeth into the box office...but with a bigger budget, a bigger cast and a love triangle to play with can sequel New Moon do any better?
It opens with Bella's (Kristen Stewart) unwelcome 18th birthday, but celebrations aren't on the cards when an unfortunate paper cut incident causes Edward (Robert Pattinson) to skip town leaving his true love heartbroken.
Enter love rival, all-round good guy and secret werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who's more than willing to mend Bella's broken heart until Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) returns with some devastating news - Edward is planning to pay a deadly visit to vampire law enforcers the Volturi and Bella is the only one who can stop him.
If Twilight was the movie that made R-Pattz a star, then the sequel will surely give Taylor Lautner (Tay-ner? T-Laut?) his big break. New Moon is Jacob's story and the young actor pulls it off with an affable charm that will no doubt have women old enough to be his grandmother inappropriately wishing they were 17 again.
Sadly where Lautner achieves, his fictional love rival fails.
The charisma and confidence that made Pattinson so attractive in Twilight is gone, replaced with a poor James Dean impression and an unfathomable lack of flair. In a faithful interpretation of the source material, Edward spends his short screen time tortured and brooding, but the actor's choice to spend every scene looking like he's about to burst into tears is somewhat pathetic. Never an attractive quality in a leading man.
Stewart gives an accomplished performance as Bella - particularly in her depiction of a heartbroken young woman pining for her first love.
The minor players are paid some attention and with good effect. Bella's quiet relationship with her father is played beautifully by Billy Burke and the Queilute wolf pack are a triumph - though the veritable flesh fest that begins whenever they appear on screen may have something to do with it.
Michael Sheen's hammy turn as Volturi leader Aro, strikes the perfect balance between civilised and psycho - but he's the only vampire that makes much of an impact.
New Moon improves on its predecessor in many ways, mostly because of an inflated budget which allows the movie to look and feel the way a blockbuster should. But when it comes to the important stuff, this sequel isn't a patch on Twilight.
It feels like it's gearing up to something big - but the climax never comes. The cast may be more confident in their roles but ultimately the script and storytelling fails them. A total of four fight scenes amount to nothing, whilst the emotional bits are heavy handed and ruined by unnecessary flashbacks.
Overall, it delivers on everything Twi-hards will want, but that in itself is this film's failing. Those who haven't read the books just won't get it. New Moon is a flick for fans only in the biggest waste of potential since (dare we say it) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - not that that will make the slightest bit of difference when it comes to the box office.
We can only hope that the franchise finds it's feet when part three, Eclipse, hits the screens.