Lose the garlic and pass the smelling salts. What began as an enjoyably perverse fable of teen romance and chastity has dwindled, by this third instalment, into a sorry, soppy saga.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, still the most engaging of the young cast) has plighted her troth to cuddlesome 109-year-old vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), though wolfman Jacob (the ever-shirtless Taylor Lautner) still insists he's the one for her: "I'm gonna fight for you till your heart stops beating," which might be quite soon if evil vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) has her murderous way: she's been gathering an army of "newborn" vamps in the Seattle area and intends to launch them on Bella, forcing Edward and Jacob into a reluctant alliance to protect her. As directed by David Slade, this has a smidgen of vampire-werewolf violence, tinny special effects and an awful lot of maundering between the three leads, who circle round one another endlessly, yet never manage to say anything remotely interesting. For a love triangle it's pretty square. The whole narrative procedure, as in the first two movies, is deferment: Bella and Edward love each other, but can't get it on because he's unwilling to turn her into a bloodsucker like him. So they agonise, and argue, and make up again. Repeat unto death. I accept that the continuation will delight their legions of fans, but this slow, self- important and humourless movie made me feel, well, about 109 years old.
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