The movie begins with Bella Swan turning 18, and worried about her future with Pattinson.
Edward's efforts to get Bella to Chill turn out to be a waste after his wacky family host a birthday party for Bella.
While opening a gift, Bella sustains a small paper cut. A drop of her blood lands on the floor, and all hell breaks loose inside the Cullens' lounge room.
Concerned by the incident, Edward decides it would be safer for Bella in the long run if he stepped out of her life forever.
In a heart-breaking scene set in the woods, Edward musters the courage to end the relationship, lying to Bella that "you're just not good for me."
Before he and the rest of the Cullens make tracks to parts unknown – the family have agreed a move is necessary to protect their identity – Edward delivers a polite ultimatum to his ex.
"If it's not too much to ask," he inquires of Bella, "I want you to promise me something. Don't do anything reckless."
From this point on, with Edward well and truly gone, New Moon shifts focus to a plotline which consumes a hefty portion of the film.
After coming to terms with losing Edward, Bella's longtime platonic bond with her Native American friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) gradually transforms into a tempestuous will-they-or-won’t-they? kind of thing.
Unfortunately, there is a pronounced lack of chemistry between Stewart and Lautner that does not quite work in New Moon’s favour.
Lautner is very adept at whipping his shirt off at a moment's notice, but emoting in a credible fashion is not to be found in his array of talents.
Luckily, Stewart – who is forced to carry the film on her own – has the skills and presence to cover for the shortcomings of her uncharismatic co-star.
The quality of Stewart's work in New Moon should not be underestimated, considering she has been saddled with dialogue wet enough to stop a drought (Bella to Jacob : "You're so warm! You're like your own sun!")
The freshest (and fruitiest) new material covered by New Moon concerns the introduction of a roaming pack of werewolves on a never-ending mission to keep the local vampires in line.
When off the job, these guys strut around the woods in nothing but cut-off shorts and look for all the world like a troupe of male strippers on a nature retreat.
Just so we don't entirely forget who the main man really is while all these other dudes hog the limelight, Edward regularly appears to Bella as a smoky apparition.
Bella has worked out that if she breaks her pledge to Edward and places herself in danger, he will appear before her to issue a safety warning.
It is a corny device, especially when Bella re-invents herself as a biker babe. But given all the soppy stuff about Jacob in play, these wacky diversions are more than welcome.
The movie snaps itself out of a mild rut by the time its kookily entertaining final act kicks in.
Edward re-enters the fray to save the day – or is that be saved himself? – while some powerful members of the vampire elite (led by new cast members Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning) take an active interest in his movements for the first time.
Such is the pop-cultural dominance of the Twilight phenomenon, the makers of New Moon are fully aware they have a captive global audience in the tens of millions.
Therefore little effort has been made to improve upon the first picture. As before, a lot of the acting is shonky, the production values are cheap, and the pacing rarely breaks out of a ponderous plod.
In a majority of movies, such factors would be major drawbacks. However, in New Moon, they are only minor quibbles.
The main job at hand here is to transport those transfixed by the Twilight saga deep inside the appealingly affected world created by Meyer.
On this level – the only level that really matters to the massive target audience – New Moon gets the job done.