Like angst and Muppety werewolves? Then you'll love New Moon!

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

New Moon is a good production for fans of the material. If you're not into the Twilight books, it's still the same source material, so there's not much they can do to help you there. It's better to look at than the Twilight film, though.

Picking up with Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson)'s tragic relationship, the film restates Bella's low self-esteem. She doesn't think she's worthy of Edward, so he constantly reassures her that he's the one who's lucky to be with her. But he just wants her to live a natural human life, so he thinks it's best if he leaves her. Jacob (Taylor Lautner) steps in to console her in her depression, but he's a werewolf. At least there's something strong to protect Bella when Victoria (Rachel Lefevre) comes after her.

The film as a whole looks better than Twilight because it's actually lit. As in, it looks like they actually set up lights this time for the movie. Twilight was dim and overcast, not in a stylish way, just in a way that looked like a poorly made film. So whatever else goes wrong, New Moon at least looks like a movie. Don't worry, Chris Weitz didn't change any of the overwrought melodrama. He just added a touch of cinematic flair, so the literal adaptation of the novel has some flourishes. Visuals like a painting come to life seem artful.

A lot of the visual effects look better this time around, too. The sparkling diamond skin is a little more subtle and feels more like part of the scene. Jacob's Parkour bouncing up the wall to Bella's window is much more impressive than Edward's tree-jumping in Twilight. The vampires move a lot more smoothly, and the visual of Victoria's red hair underwater is striking.

The new visual effects don't benefit from the trial and error of having a first film. The series' first try at werewolves looks like it belongs in the first film. The wolves look like fluffy Muppets. They're still blurry, as all Hollywood CGI work is, but at least their fights affect the environment. It's worth noting that they're crushing the forests while they fight, since they're really just painted in later.

Whatever improvements the filmmakers have made to the package, the contents are still the same. You either like teen angst or you don't. The story has a lot of buildup before cool stuff happens. Fans will read the subtext into the standard teen dating scenes, but the rest of us are kind of left waiting for the werewolves to come.

The teen socializing scenes have some of the film's most sincere moments, though. Jessica's (Anna Kendrick) riff on zombie movies is adorable. The fake movies that play at the cineplex are hilarious, if very silly, spoofs of action, horror and romance genres.

Plenty of it is still laughable. Edward's slow-motion brooding walk and Jacob's paraphrasing of the Incredible Hulk's line about getting angry don't resonate with casual viewers. And daintily running around a forest in slow motion is silly, right? But to a teenager who really feels that way, it probably means the world, so this movie is for them.

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