Movie Review – The Twilight Saga – New Moon

7 out of 10

I have to admit, after watching the first Twilight, I didn’t really understand what all the talk was about. I attributed that to the fact that I’m not a teenager, nor do I have a vagina (although sometimes I wish I did). Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think Twilight was bad at all; it was just okay. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse. New Moon is a marked improvement over the first film, and I actually found myself in this modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a supernatural twist. New Moon still isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but if I were a fourteen year old girl it sure would be.

Though set in a world infested with vampires and werewolves, Twilight has always been a soap opera at its core. Name it Transylvania 90210. As this chapter begins, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are still madly in love. When Edward’s vampire family, the Cullens, throw Bella a surprise 18th birthday party, things take a dreadful turn and Edward realizes the only way to keep Bella from harm is to never see her again. Bella falls into a deep depression and it is only through her friendship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) that she begins to heal. Jacob wants to be more than just a friend and although she has feelings for him, Bella’s heart still belongs to Edward. To complicate matters further, Jacob is a werewolf who spends his free time hunting vampires. New Moon is truly Romeo and Juliet meets West Side Story wrapped in a supernatural candy case.

This part has more story, better performances by everyone involved, and more humor, not to mention more action. The core group of Twilight fans may be young women, but if New Moon has a chance it should have no problem winning over legions of young men as well. The action scenes are very well done and quite exciting. The special effects are seamless and I was very impressed with the look of the werewolves.

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CGI creatures sometimes look too fake, but the werewolves in New Moon are really well done and have a very realistic quality. Director Chris Weitz improved Catherine Hardwicke’s original in every way. To be fair, I tend to always enjoy the second part of a series more than the first. I will debate anyone who disagrees that Empire Strikes Back, Spider-Man 2, Superman II and The Dark Knight (to name a few) are not superior to the first films in these series. Of course there are exceptions like The Matrix Reloaded and the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but New Moon definitely falls into the former category.

What I liked most about New Moon is the humor. The first film was a bit too dour for my liking and I felt trapped in this boring emotional goth world. It’s amazing how a few funny lines can breathe life into a film; even ones that revolve around a love triangle between a teenage girl, an old vampire and a young stud werewolf. Despite the humor, New Moon is still filled with plenty (if not too much) of youthful angst and melodrama.

Just like the cast of Harry Potter, all of the actors have grown in their respective roles. No actress is better at expressing teenage angst than Kristen Stewart. She has a “genuine” quality that sets her apart from most young actresses. She seems to be someone you went to high school with. Unfortunately, the character is a small downer. It would be nice to see her loosen up a bit. She’s so emotionally draining that I almost had to wonder why all these men are so into her. Robert Pattinson is much looser in this film than in the first, giving an all-round better performance. I also understand now why Bella is so in love with him. I still don’t understand why all the teenagers in the world think he’s so handsome.

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He looks to me like someone smashed his face in with a shovel, but who am I to judge? The true highlight of the film is Taylor Lautner as Jacob. Although Lautner played the character in the first film, he nearly lost the role in the sequel because producers felt he was too young to match the character’s emotional range. The actor is fully validated here, showing great maturity and strength in the role. I know the big debate among the Twilighters is Jacob or Edward, and after watching this film, I’m firmly on Team Jacob’s side.

The movie is a bit too long. They could have cut out some scenes of Bella being depressed. Otherwise, New Moon is a solidly entertaining film that even non-hardcore fans of the series will enjoy. After watching the first one, I had no real interest in watching the sequel. This time I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the third part. Hell, I could even read the books.

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