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Thirty-Four Ways New Moon the Movie Is Better Than New Moon the Book

Last year, Twilight proved to zillions of shrieking Twi-hards that no matter how passionately you love a florid, overwritten, hilarious book, the movie can be even better. How will this year’s installment, New Moon, fare with a new director (the non-vagina-having Chris Weitz) and a new love interest (Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner)?

Good news! Once again, Hollywood magic has delivered a version of a Twilight story that is dramatically superior to Stephenie Meyer’s novel! How? Let us count all 34 ways, in our completely spoiler-filled slideshow.

Previously: 28 Reasons That Twilight the Movie Is Better Than Twilight the Book
Related: David Edelstein on New Moon

Let’s start with the obvious: Taylor Lautner cannot keep his shirt on in this movie. For example, when Bella falls off a motorcycle, needless to say, Jacob has his shirt off in like five seconds. He’s basically Matthew McConaughey.
Seriously, there is so much shirtless Jacob. You see his abs so often you can pick out your favorite! This is ours.
Or wait, maybe this one.
As David Edelstein so accurately points out, it’s the shrieking fans that make the New Moon experience what it is. Happily, Chris Weitz knows this, so — like a Broadway director making sure Patti LuPone’s entrance is a grand one, so she can earn her 30 seconds of entrance applause — he lets Edward appear onscreen for the first time strutting toward the camera in slow motion, his brown hair tousled just EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Meanwhile, to remind forgetful viewers that Jacob is Native American, they have him give Bella a dreamcatcher in his first scene — which is a more subtle bit of screenwriting than having him perform a rain dance, we guess.
We don’t mean to give this ab short shrift. It is spectacular, sure.
The movie, thank God, dispenses with most of the speeches like this.
In fact, unlike in the novel, there are jokes! Self-aware ones, even. We liked Bella seeing Jacob’s new ripped torso and cracking, “You know, steroids are really bad for you.”
Plus, someone tells Bella she needs to eat a little bit more — “Get some protein in there!”
And our favorite joke: “This may hurt just a little.”
Dakota Fanning, who makes that joke, is awesomely intimidating as Jane, the Volturi’s pint-size enforcer — like a red-eyed Homecoming Queen from hell.
In general, the Volturi are so great that we’ve already gone ahead and ordered this T-shirt.
It’s pretty fun to watch Michael Sheen play Aro as Tony Blair with longer hair.
Whoa! Tony Blair rips a dude’s head off!
It should be noted that the Volturi are slightly less terrifying once you hear the Muzak celestial chorus in their elevator.
And Volturi Marcus — described in the book as having “the exquisite face of a seraph” — looks in the movie more like, you know, some guy. Knowing that at least one vampire couldn’t pass as a model makes us feel better about our chances.
You know, we’ve been thinking about it, and this ab is actually the best of them all. It’s winking at us! “Hi, I’m Jacob’s ab! What’s up?”
Whoa, that’s some Spider-Man shit there.
In the book, Jessica is an annoying shrew. But in the movie, she’s played by Up in the Air’s future Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, and she makes the most of her one scene, griping about the zombie movie that Bella drags her to. “Is it supposed to be about leprosy?” she complains. “My cousin had leprosy, and it was gross.”
Hilariously, someone told Kristen Stewart that this thing with her eyebrow looks sultry.
For those of you on Team Edward who were annoyed about how we don’t see your pasty-faced hero between pages 73 and 451 of New Moon, Chris Weitz provides some sweet Ghost Edward action, which doesn’t seem any dumber than the psycho voice-overs Bella hears in her head in the book.
In the movie, you get to see the latest in smudge-free lipstick technology — worn by Kristen Stewart and by Robert Pattinson!
Speaking of great makeup, Kristen Stewart’s eyeliner is still perfect, even when she almost drowns.
Just like in the previous movie, Bella and Edward get to do some soulful staring, but this time it’s underwater, obviously.
Edward recites Shakespeare, for those of you who enjoy swooning.
Once again, the Cullens have a lot of hilarious art all over their house. Check out the knockoff Gerhard Richter!
Bella, Jacob, and poor Mike — who didn’t even make it into this photo! — attend an awesome-sounding movie called Facepunch. (Tagline: “Let’s do this!”) This selection beats out Mike’s suggested alternative, a romantic comedy called Love Spelled Backwards Is Love.
Blessedly, in adapting an action-free book, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has inserted as many fights as possible. So franchise-wrecker Chris Weitz gets to restage the best part of The Golden Compass, the bear fight, but this time with wolves.
We get a little of Laurent versus the werewolves …
… and Victoria stalking Charlie …
… and a whole terrific Edward-versus-Volturi marble-crackin’ battle.
Is a Volturi gonna have to choke a bitch?
Once the movie’s over, you can go to a nearby bar and hear, as we did, middle-aged ladies violently arguing about whether they are on Team Jacob or Team Edward.
Thirty-Four Ways New Moon the Movie Is Better Than New Moon the Book