Warning: This review may contain spoilers based on the book and the movie. If you have not read or seen New Moon you may not want to read this article.
Twi-hard fans across the world have anticipated this day, the release of New Moon, like no other fan before them. Theaters were packed to the brim at the special midnight showing of New Moon last night and fans did not leave disappointed. I was one of them.
By the end of Twilight Edward and Bella had seemed to defeat the odds of a Vampire – Human relationship, but in New Moon Edward decides he’s officially no good for Bella after Jasper almost kills her on her birthday over a paper cut. Bella’s entire world comes crashing down as a result; she is incapable of letting going of him. Jacob Black comes to her rescue though as her “sun” and best friend, but the lines in their relationship begin to blur the more time they spend together. And of course Jacob can’t just be a regular guy – he ends up being a mystical creature himself. Not just any mystical creature either – the enemy of her beloved Edward – a werewolf. Bella just can’t seem to escape the world of fantasy, not that she ever really wanted to.
Still yearning for Edward, Bella finds that living a more adventurous lifestyle allows her to hear Edward’s cautions. She tries everything from riding motorcycles to cliff diving to feel him, to know he was real. Against Edwards wishes Alice sees Bella jump, but never sees her resurface leaving her to believe Bella is dead. Foolishly Rosalie tells Edward that Bella killed herself and he sets out to do the same by provoking the Volturi, unwilling to live in a world where she doesn’t exist. Alice’s vision was flawed though because Jacob saved Bella, apparently Alice can’t see the wolves. Bella and Alice race to Italy to save Edward, leaving Jacob and all they could have been together behind.
New Moon, in my opinion, was near perfect. Like so many other fans I checked for New Moon content daily leading up to this release in hopes of getting just one more glimpse of such an amazing story being brought to life. In preparation for New Moon I re-read the book this week for the 5th time and watched Twilight again before leaving for the theaters. My mind was so consumed with New Moon by November 19th I was virtually useless at work.
Despite the movie being substantially longer then its predecessor Twilight I still felt like it wasn’t long enough. I suppose this is to be expected though when you are so engulfed in a series like this – no one ever really wants it to end. I was grateful for the extra Jacob-Bella-Edward time we were given regardless.
Chris Weitz’s portrayal of this story on film was amazing. The film matched the book so closely that there were several conversations that were almost verbatim from the dialogue in the book. And the added pieces to the story for film adaptation were subtle and fit nicely. I preferred Chris Weitz film technique to Catherine Hardwicke’s for the clarity of the film, the vivid colors, the clean transitions between scenes or within action sequences, and the point of view or angles the film was shot in.
Kristen Stewart (Bella), Taylor Lautner (Jacob), and Robert Pattinson (Edward) have all grown so much as actors since the last film and it was very evident in the believability of their characters in New Moon. It seemed more real, natural to all of them. Kristen Stewart especially nailed the rollercoaster of emotions Bella is going through in New Moon. That hint of awkwardness we all know her for was no where to be seen, this might just be her best performance yet. And Taylor Lautner stepped up to the plate in a way I don’t think anyone expected from him. Aside from how much work he put into looking like Jacob Black his ability to fluctuate like Bella from different emotions was smooth and flawless. I liked Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Edward far better in New Moon then I did in Twilight. I liked the light heartedness of him at the start of the film and the despair he faces over losing Bella. The three of them all brought so much more to the characters in this film then the last and I’m sure we will see them continue to grow in the characters that we all love through Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I see them all having lasting careers in Hollywood after these performances.
The New Moon Soundtrack for the film featured several indie bands and had a mellower, somewhat dreary tone to it then the Twilight Soundtrack. I wondered what songs would fit where prior to seeing the film and I was pleased with which scenes they were used in. My favorite surprise was the Victoria hunt scene to Thom Yorke’s – Hearing Damage track, it gave the sequence energy. Alexandre Desplat’s score for New Moon was very different then the score for Twilight, but I still enjoyed it. It was still magical, but in a different way. It was no where near as dark and edgy, it had a more classic tone to it.
So if asked what parts of the movie stood out the most to me they would be the following:
Bella’s “dead” months – I loved the circle of her in the window with the text written so plainly across the screen like it was across the pages in the book. Kristen’s still, zombie like position was perfect – she was visibly numb.
Jacob & Bella’s relationship – Kristen and Taylor’s closeness in this movie was surprisingly believable. We’ve all grown to love and want Bella and Edward to be together, but for a moment there you fall in love with Jacob too and you know she would probably be better off with him. My favorite moment between them was their embrace when Jacob comes through her window. They hugged each other like they never wanted to let go, I felt their connection in my chest. I also enjoyed the “hand holding” discussion on the stairs at the movies and their “almost” kiss just before the phone rings. Even though they didn’t kiss in New Moon I wouldn’t have minded seeing it happen in film. His lip was touching hers – why not just finish the job? It was beautiful and sad at the same time, but I loved it.
The Wolves – To me this was visually perfect and I am really glad they intend to use the same CGI team to continue creating the wolves for the rest of the series. The wolves eyes spoke to you just like they are described doing in the book, you could see Jacob behind the fur the way he looked at Bella – it was powerful.
Letters to Alice – At first when they started I felt a sense of disappointment for this addition to the film because if in fact she was able to talk to Alice during this ordeal she wouldn’t have suffered nearly as bad in my opinion. I grew to like them once they made it clear that these letters were undelivered because I could see myself doing something like this in a desperate attempt to try and find some sort of the life I once knew if I were Bella. In the end, when they were all together again, I found myself wondering if Bella would let Alice read the letters to show her how lost she was without them. I thought it was neat to imagine some new piece to the story that we didn’t get to explore in the book since many of us are left wanting more even though the series has an end.
The Volturi – There couldn’t have been a better person then Michael Sheen to portray Aro. The whole scene in Italy was almost exactly how I imagined it and the transition from Forks to Italy felt smooth to me, not like they were completely two separate worlds. The fight sequence added to the film fit perfectly and was graphically really well done. The vampires in New Moon seemed to move more fluidly then in Twilight which somehow seemed more like I imagined them to begin with. I look forward to seeing more of the Volturi in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, when they really show their vicious side.
Edward & Bella’s Affection – My biggest gripe about Twilight was the lack of an “I love you” or the frequency of their kisses. I was pleased to see more passion between the two of them in New Moon. As always Kristen and Rob’s chemistry converts to film so well that people want them to be together in real life. It just doesn’t seem possible that they could connect the way they do and not really love each other, but they have done it even better in New Moon.
Charlie’s larger role – I liked that Charlie and Bella seemed to have a closer relationship in New Moon. I liked his lighter attitude; he seemed more personable this time. I liked how he was there for Bella even though he really didn’t know what to do.
There really wasn’t much I didn’t like about New Moon, but there were a few things that caught my attention that I wished hadn’t. The Cullen’s eyes never changed black; both Alice and Edward’s eyes should have been darker when they saw Bella again after her jump because in the book they were both starving. Their eyes as a whole seemed lighter in this movie and it wasn’t bad, but it seemed too obvious to me. I also wished Billy Black was more present in the film because he was in the book.
Overall New Moon was everything it was promised to be and more. It’s a great movie for all ages and both sexes. I look forward to seeing it again and for the release Eclipse – thank God we don’t have to wait that long!