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Vampire flick outshines previous installment

A line of fans dressed as vampires and werewolves stretches from the box office to the parking lot. The atmosphere surges with the anticipation of exhilarated teenagers and equally enthused adults. All this leads to only one conclusion: the Twilight saga has continued with New Moon.

With the release of this sequel to 2008’s Twilight, the celebrated cast returns to the big screen to make sense of a vampire-werewolf love triangle. Though the movie is an improvement from the original hit, there is still a lot of work to be done.

As the movie first opens, main character Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) appears as a hopeless mess. Her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), deserts her due to the dangerous environment he puts her in. In the previous film, Bella faced countless near-death experiences as a result of her relationship with Edward.

After the heart-wrenching breakup, Bella succumbs to a four-month depression, resulting in a dramatic twist to her love life as she becomes close to longtime childhood friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

To make matters even more bizarre and complicated, Bella discovers that Jacob is a member of a shape-shifting tribe that protects its Indian reservation in the form of wolves. Not only does Bella struggle with having two important men in her life, but tensions rise as she discovers that Jacob’s tribe is the mortal enemy of the Cullens.

The rest of the movie centers around Bella’s relationship with Jacob and the pain she feels from the distant Edward. As an accident-magnet, Bella again falls prey to the evil vampire Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), whose love interest was killed by Edward in the first film.

Despite these dramatic conflicts, Bella’s blunt, one-worded responses throughout the movie create a frustrating and dull experience. The lead character of a movie should have incredible skill in capturing the audience’s attention – something Stewart fails to do. Also, the lack of communication between the characters and narration of thoughts leaves viewers confused, as the book version strongly centers around Bella’s inner feelings.

Not only is the acting frustrating, but the plot line falls far from being straightforward. Without prior knowledge of reading the book series, I would have been lost in the action. Although the flick includes the major events from the book, explanations for the actions of the character are left out to save time, making the film seem choppy and confusing.

Fans of the vampire series should have been warned to watch the movie with an empty stomach, as the camera had a habit of spinning constantly in several scenes and made me feel dizzy. Anyone who suffers from motion sickness probably had trouble watching the film because the camera would not stay still for even five minutes.

However, New Moon shines above the previous installment of the Twilight saga due to an obvious increased budget. The flick is visually better than Twilight because of realistic special effects and scenery. The incorporation of well-known actors such as Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen also upgrade the film, as it is entertaining to see popular actors portraying vampires.

Despite any annoyances, the end of the flick helps to make up for some of the negative aspects. The ending is my favorite part because it concludes with a great cliffhanger and leaves me wanting to see the future third installment of the series.

Although the film is a combination of tolerable acting and some frustrating camera shots, it also has great special effects and can be very interesting, especially to the many Twilight-obsessed fans – Lautner’s many shirtless scenes aren’t too bad, either. My less than enthusiastic opinion on the series failed to change, but overall, I was entertained.

New Moon, rated PG-13 for some violence and action, is playing in most local theaters. For tickets and showtimes, visit Fandango.

For more Twilight reviews, check out the Oct. 14, 2008 article, Supernatural saga rallies fans.

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