Saying that, the second film 'New Moon' is a disappointment compared to the first. Even though the storyline of 'Twilight' was ridiculous, the earnestness of the actors and the subtle treatment afforded by director Catherine Hardwicke made up for its limitations. There were also several deviations from the book, which angered 'Twihards', but showed that the director and screenwriter were at least able to assert some independence in translating book to film. 'New Moon' seems much more slavish to the book and therein lies some of the problem; it tries to cram too much in as the books does and as a result seems a bit rushed at times, particularly the latter third of the film. Ideas are flung in without warning, something which the book also suffers from, particularly the idea of the Volturi the 'Vampire royal family' which seems to appear from nowhere, particularly if you had come into the film 'cold.' Similar to 'Twilight' the relationship between Bella and Edward is built on the knowledge of the audience rather than actual evidence; there are several glimpses of them lying in meadows gazing at each other but that hardly develops the sense that these people are deeply in love with each other. One of my favourite scenes in 'Twilight' was when Edward jumps down onto Bella's van while she is cleaning it and they have a little interchange that conveys a sense of the excitement/nervousness that they have in each other's company. In 'New Moon' there are no such scenes and Edward is barely allowed to raise a smile and the tortured intensity begins to get boring after a while.
But there are some things about the film which make it fun to watch; it is unintentionally amusing and even some in-jokes. For instance early on Bella complains about being older than Edward at 18, he points out that he is actually 109 which makes him far too old for her, a little dig perhaps at some of the controversy that surrounds the key relationship in the film? The Volturi are better than I imagined them in the book, living it up in a Medieval walled city in Italy, seeming to take their sartorial decisions from an Adam Ant video. Michael Sheen as head Vamp Aro is particularly magnificent, coming across like a campy, slimy Tony Blair with his most dangerous weapon the innocent looking Jane (played by Dakota Fanning), who inflicts mucho pain on the hapless Edward. The conflict in these scenes between the hardcore, proper vampires and the wussy Cullens are amongst the most exciting in the film; when Edward hits the floor his face shatters for a moment reminding us most effectively that he is not 'human' (the make-up is still lame enough to show RPatz's stubble). The werewolf element is as silly here as it comes across in the book, half-naked boys running around the woods and it not raising an eyebrow with the rest of the town? Not that we get to see much of the rest of the town, we are firmly embedded in Bella's perspective now and she is fast loosing her grip on 'real' life. The scenes with her classmates are a welcome contrast with the fantasy, reminding the audience that Bella is turning her back on all of normality when she commits herself to the Cullens. That Edward realises this (and so tries to prevent her) is one of the more interesting tensions in their relationship. That he is emotionally manipulative with it is one of the problems with the character that is not resolved by the romantic slush peddled with it; that he is her protector blah blah where in fact Bella gets into more and more dangerous situations by her association with the vampires. Her attempts to re-create that rush only serve to show the creative vacuum at the heart of the story; Bella is a girl addicted to bad boys. Edward is the ultimate ('safe') bad boy for teenage girls and middle aged women to project their fantasies onto. The rest of the story is in many ways incidental. Still, like Edward the 'masochistic lion' I feel the need to persevere with the films if only to see if it gets any worse.