The Twilight Saga: New Moon is the second movie in the Twilight Saga and is based upon the book New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. In this movie, we see the continuation of the relationship between human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). Unfortunately, an incident occurs at Bella’s birthday party that makes Edward reconsider how safe Bella is with his vampire family. He and his family leave town after Edward breaks up with Bella. Enter Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who is a Quileute native that we saw in the first movie, a scraggly kid with a bad wig. He is buffer now and still in a bad wig, but becomes Bella’s savior of sorts and brings her out of her Edward-induced depression. Unfortunately, Jacob begins to change and is forced to push Bella away. There is a good reason for it because Jacob’s change is a physical one. He becomes a wolf when provoked and is now part of a brotherhood of wolves that protect the Quileute lands from vampires. It seems there are two vampires still around Forks, Washington, Laurent and Victoria, and they are after Bella.
Something happens in the midst of this story that makes Edward think that Bella has died. He decides he cannot live anymore and decides to provoke the Volturi, the rulers of the vampires, into killing him. Bella rushes to save him . . . and I’ll just leave it at that. That’s about all the trailers give away, and I don’t want to spoil the movie for people who have not read the book.
Just from the opening title of the movie, I could tell this was going to be a different film from Twilight. The bigger budget and the better acting, special effects, and director transformed this movie into something so far beyond what Twilight ever was. It was apparent that they took their time on New Moon, whereas Twilight seemed rushed and thrown together. Continuity, laughable dialogue, bad makeup, and editing mistakes in Twilight have always bugged me. Love for a book can sometimes distort your perception of what a good movie is. You want it to be so good, that you ignore what is so obviously bad. I have a feeling if the director of Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke, had directed New Moon, we would have seen the same problems.
The fans of the book will be happy that there is very little that was changed in its adaptation to the screen. Some events were altered or left out, but I was throughly impressed with what was left in. Things that I thought would not be depicted in the movie were there. Director Chris Weitz stayed true to the book. The biggest suprise for me was his depiction of the three months that pass after Edward leaves. He also did the beginning of the book pretty much exactly the same. It was a pleasant surprise.
There were flashbacks to Twilight included in New Moon, but one iconic scene (at least for Twihards) was redone. The meadow scene was how it was supposed to be. It was in a large meadow with wildflowers all around with Bella and Edward in the same position and the same clothes as in Twilight.
The fights and chases in New Moon were well done. I actually had my mouth open in awe of the Volturi fight scene. The CGI wolves were pretty good. I still imagined them to be a bit bigger, but I was happy with how they turned out. There were a couple of nice camera shots to show the progression of Bella and Jacob working on the dirt bikes. Chris Weitz also had a very cool way of showing us a flashback to when Carlisle Cullen (Edward’s father) was living with the Volturi.
Not too many of the actors had a lot of lines in New Moon. Main characters in the last movie now only had a few lines. It was all about Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. Kristen Stewart’s mannerisms and excessive eye-blinking were less in this movie. Billy Burke (Charlie Swan) and Anna Kendrick (Jessica) stole the show when they were on the screen. We did not hear Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria) speak at all, but she was present in quite a few scenes and had some amazing stunts. The addition of Michael Sheen as the Volturi’s Aro was a good choice and he really showed how sweetly evil Aro can be. Dakota Fanning was a decent Jane, but like others, she did not have many lines. I did not like Jaime Campbell-Bower as Caius. He looked out of place and did not have much to do except sit in a chair.
There were a few things that bugged me about this movie. Jackson Rathbone’s (Jasper Cullen) awful wig. He did not look too good in the first movie either, but at least then it was his real hair. There were a couple of times where you could blatantly see stuntmen rather than the actor during the fight scenes. Things like that bug me, and all you need is a little better editing to fix it. This movie had product plugs that just stood out. I wonder how much Burger King and Virgin Airlines paid for those plugs. Also, there was one premonition towards the end of the movie where everyone in the theatre laughed, and it was not meant to be a funny scene. Early screenings should have caught that.
Overall, even with my misgivings, I loved New Moon. Fans of the books will probably be happy with this translation into film.
Thank you, Chris Weitz.
4.5 “bad Jasper wigs” out of 5
P.S. Would really like to hear non-Twihards take on this film.