In New Moon, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) utters the words that every woman wants to hear to his girlfriend, Bella (Kristen Stewart): "You'll never see me again."
In New Moon, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) utters the words that every woman wants to hear to his girlfriend, Bella (Kristen Stewart): "You'll never see me again."

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

First up, if you haven't seen the original Twilight film, then stop now. Skip back and watch it, because there's precious little point in pushing on with New Moon unless you have. Who are these moon-faced teenagers, you will be left wondering, with their shiny expensive cars and their amber eyes? Who is that buff, long-haired boy with a pug nose? Is Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) the drippiest teenager ever to grace the screen? Why doesn't her father give her a clip round the ear?

All of this is explainable if you're already au courant with the necessary details - small-town America, vampires, sparkly skin and teenage longing. So at the film's beginning we find ourselves, back in the rainy town of Forks. It's Bella's 18th birthday. Naturally, this is no cause for celebration because it means that she's a year older than her perpetually 17-year-old boyfriend, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). And who knows, perhaps Stewart's face would splinter into a million pieces if forced into a smile.

Problems erupt later that evening at the Cullens' house during an impromptu party organised for our reluctant heroine. The oaf gives herself a paper cut while opening a present and a delicate drop of blood splashes on their cream carpet in slow motion. Here might be the right place to note that the film's director, Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About a Boy), enlisted Pedro Almodóvar's regular cinematographer, Javier Aguirresarobe, who brings a familiar ethereal essence to proceedings.

Well, it's as if a single edamame bean had been tossed to a pack of ravenous models. The Cullens' nostrils flare and their eyes widen. Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) makes a lunge for Bella's throat. It's an event that sets in motion the rest of the film's plot - Edward takes himself and the family away from Forks, furious with himself for having placed his beloved Bella in such danger. Was the scene in which the split occurs written by a 14-year-old? "You'll never see me again," pledges Edward in that overly dramatic manner beloved of angsty teenagers.

And we are made to suffer too, fellow audience, as Bella lurches into several months of moping, ably supported by a moody Alexandre Desplat score. The only person that can pull her out of this slump turns out to be Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a Native American who mends her as together they mend motorbikes. See the analogy? But, wait, there's more. What's this? Another secret. Turns out, Jacob can transform himself into a werewolf with a bit of spasmodic convulsing. He and his pack of lupine friends are the youngest of several generations of werewolves in fact, and they're the arch-enemies of the vampires. Do we see a Capulet-Montague parallel shaping up? I think we do, thus roughly shaping the battle lines to come in further film instalments.

Best of all, for young female fans of the franchise, is that New Moon's werewolf revelation allows Jacob and his wolfy pals to wander about as if they have carried out a smash and grab at Gap. All of them mince around in denim cut-off shorts with bare, gladiatorial chests. No point in bothering with T-shirts if you're going to shape-change into a wolf every five minutes, albeit a CGI wolf that's about as menacing as Garfield.

If you follow Team Jacob, you'll be delighted. There's plenty of him, plenty of his bare chest and Lautner offers a much more comfortable performance than Pattinson, who moves so painfully and woodenly through each scene that it's as though he's suffering from indigestion. Outacting them both, however, is Stewart. It's an allowance that comes grudgingly because her sulky demeanour deserves little reward, but her character feels as if it's gelled in New Moon. It is credit to her skills that despite all the moodiness, the film is still an enjoyable watch. Silly, but then what else do you expect?

One new, notable turn in this instalment comes from Michael Sheen as the bad vampire, Aro, leader of the ruling Volturi family. He's brilliantly silly, and his residence in Italy prompts a quick flit there towards the end of the film, with the glossy, rolling hills of Italian countryside providing a welcome respite from the dreariness of Forks. Again, we have another nod to Romeo and Juliet from the Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. If you didn't know any better, you might almost think she's trying to create a modern version.

List of alleged parties
  • May 15 2020: Boris Johnson is said to have attended a Downing Street pizza party
  • 27 Nov 2020: PM gives speech at leaving do for his staff
  • Dec 10 2020: Staff party held by then-education secretary Gavin Williamson 
  • Dec 13 2020: Mr Johnson and his then-fiancee Carrie Symonds throw a flat party
  • Dec 14 2020: Shaun Bailey holds staff party at Conservative Party headquarters 
  • Dec 15 2020: PM takes part in a staff quiz
  • Dec 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party 
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Price, base: Dh429,090

Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission Seven-speed automatic

Power 510hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 700Nm @ 1,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 9.2L / 100km

3 Body Problem

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Starring: Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Jovan Adepo, Eiza Gonzalez, John Bradley, Alex Sharp

Rating: 3/5

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Price, base: Dh183,900 / Dh249,000
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder /  3.0L, turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic / Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252hp @ 5,000rpm / 354hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 370Nm @ 1,600rpm / 500Nm @ 1,370rpm
Fuel economy: combined 7.2L / 100km / 8.3L / 100km

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Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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Date started: 2015

Founder: John Tsioris and Ioanna Angelidaki

Based: Dubai

Sector: Online grocery delivery

Staff: 200

Funding: Undisclosed, but investors include the Jabbar Internet Group and Venture Friends


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Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban