Who's In It: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen, Peter Facinelli, Anna Kendrick, Dakota Fanning
The Basics: Oh Edward, please kill me. As you know, we're in melt-your-face-off love and I want to be your sparkly vampiress. What's that? You're leaving? Where? WHY?! DON'T GO!!! AIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!! SO MANY NIGHTMARES NOW BECAUSE OF MY BROKEN HEART!!! So, um... hey there, shirtless werewolf boy. Wanna help me take my mind off Edward? We could fix some motorcycles or jump of cliffs together and we can be pals. What's that? You're all in love with me now, too? And it's because I'm the most perfect girl of all time? I KNOW! I TOTALLY AM!!! There's also this other guy at school who's obsessed with me but he's not a werewolf or a vampire or anything cool at all, he's just this goober so he doesn't matter. EVERYONE IS FIGHTING OVER ME NOW AND I THINK IT'S GREAT!!! PS. None of you are getting sex.
What's The Deal: I liked the first movie for one reason, director Catherine Hardwicke. She has a strong instinct for stories about teenage girls in overwhelming trouble (Thirteen, The Nativity Story) and she knew how to scalpel in on Bella's interior life and turn it outward, creating a compelling, heaving, emotionally immature, verge-of-tears intensity, which is kind of exactly what you want for this material. Director Chris Weitz, on the other hand, seems happiest when he's shooting CGI werewolf battles and vampire beatdowns and turns all methodical and embarrassed over the mushy, girly stuff that happens in between. The net result is boredom unless you're already heavily invested in this series and bringing your own enthusiasm to the table.
Who Wins The Staring Contest: Edward again. Everybody else can try but they'll fail to match the wet laser blast of his red contacts-wearing tractor beams. The man could teach a continuing-education course on the many varieties of distraught romantic gazing. All Taylor Lautner knows how to do is whip off his shirt all ninja-fast. In Lautner's defense, it's a move that serves him well, one that caused lots of people in the advance screening audience to squeal delightedly. (That they also squealed delightedly over the movie's opening shot of a full moon does not diminish his lightning-quick nudity-making skills.) But in the Superbowl of boring holes into the soul of your beloved, Team Jacob is going down.
Romeo & Juliet Allusions Aside, What It's Really About: The chaste objectification of safely pretty young men, the fear of teen girl horniness and the consequential shame-and-punishment approach to young women's desires. Nearly every kiss is interrupted and Bella actually apologizes when she bleeds--and she bleeds a lot, thanks to numerous injuries befalling her every time a man warns her not to "cross lines" she shouldn't. But yeah, send your daughters to this movie. They'll eat it up.
Number Of Burger King Bags: They were giving away free character trading cards outside the Cinerama Dome so I assumed there'd be at least one to-go bag showing up in the movie. And I counted only one. Subtle, really. It's not like anybody burps, "I sure could go for a flame-broiled Whopper right about now!" But the product placement team could have killed two birds with one stone by simply painting the BK logo on the hood of one of the movie's Volvos.