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The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The most anticipated movie of the year was the second installment of the Twilight phenomenon, The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Fans of the series have been howling non-stop about their excitement for the film’s November 20th release since filming of New Moon began back in March. Twilight haters have been trying to make their voices heard, but the devoted Twi-hards (hardcore fans of the Twilight Saga) are just as loud in their defense of the series as they are in their devotion.
Overall, New Moon should be pleasing to all audience members. Expectations of Twi-hards should be satisfied as the film is a very accurate representation of the book, unlike Twilight which deviated a bit from the novel. Fans have Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote the screenplay, and Chris Weitz, director of New Moon, to thank for staying true to the novel. Those who are fans of the actors should be able to appreciate performances and line deliveries from any of the cast. Fans that have only seen the films ought to be satisfied too. They won’t have the “I wish this scene” was included moments, but there are a few times throughout the movie that having intimate knowledge of the book would make scenes or lines easier to understand. Guys might enjoy New Moon more than Twilight as there is more action with the introduction of the wolves and the Volturi.
Kristen Stewart reprises her role as Bella Swan, a human girl with an attraction for the supernatural. Robert Pattinson also reprises his role as Edward Cullen, Bella’s vampire boyfriend. In this film we get to know Jacob Black, who becomes Bella’s best friend and finds out he is a werewolf, played by Taylor Lautner. These three leads will make a lot of fans extremely happy, no matter if they are on Team Edward, Team Jacob, Team Bella, or just Team Twilight. Each actor was able to bring their character to life through line deliveries, emotions, and facial expressions. The chemistry between each pair, Bella and Edward, Bella and Jacob, and even Edward and Jacob equally pull at the heartstrings for different reasons.
Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, and Ashley Greene all reprise their roles as the rest of the Cullen family, Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice, respectively. Ashley Greene reminds us why we love Alice so much with her “please Bella” guilt trip about having a birthday party. Although the Cullens don’t get much screen time in New Moon they do manage to throw one heck of a birthday party for Bella. Jackson Rathbone portrayed the thirsty vampire wonderfully and combined with the fast and slow motion special effects it was action packed.
The nomad vampires also make an appearance with Edi Gathegi as Laurent and Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. The only thing good about Edi’s performance other than his look was the way he said the word “mouthwatering”. There was something off about how he delivered his lines and he was quite a disappointment as he did so well in Twilight. For someone with no speaking lines Rachelle still managed to bring a rather frightening Victoria to screen.
The Volturi, who are basically the royalty of the vampire world, are introduced in New Moon. Michael Sheen’s Aro was delightfully creepy and he gave the best performance of the Volturi actors. Christopher Heyerdahl as Marcus made me cringe (in a good way) every time I heard him speak in his whispery voice that sounded like Death. Jamie Campbell Bower plays Caius and he too has a creepy voice that sort of sounds like a spider. Daniel Cudmore’s 6’7” frame was not how I previously pictured Felix, one of the minions of the Volturi who is always eager for a fight, but I sure do now. I mean that guy is tall and probably the most intimidating of all the Volturi, at least look wise. Jane was perfectly cast with actress Dakota Fanning who has the act of sadistic vampire stare down pat.
The wolves were also introduced in New Moon. Chaske Spencer looked a little old to be Sam Uley, but his deep voice is good for being the alpha male. Alex Meraz was awesome as Paul, especially the moment before he phased. Paul’s transformation was the most visually appealing. Bronson Pelletier was hilarious as Jared. Kiowa Gordon and Tyson Houseman showed potential as Embry Call and Quil Ateara, respectively. Tinsel Korey was a good choice for Emily, Sam’s fiancée, but I thought her scar could have been done better because it didn’t look too bad. The CGI wolves exceeded my expectations and the transformations looked real. Sam’s counterpart was quite intimidating when coming out of the woods in pursuit of Laurent.
Billy Burke brings out the sensitive side of Chief Swan in New Moon and is bubblier too. Mike Welch plays Mike Newton, whose naivety is more humorous than in the book, but he still remains a faithful friend to Bella. Justin Chon is ridiculously funny as Eric Yorkie and Christian Serratos is endearing as shy girl Angela Weber once again. Anna Kendrick is refreshing as self-absorbed and only sometimes concerned friend, Jessica Stanley. Jessica’s monologue when she and Bella go out is laugh out loud funny and is the perfect character to call Bella out on her craziness for putting herself in a dangerous situation.
There are so many things to love about New Moon. First, Kristen hit the nail on the head when it came to embodying Bella Swan. She was able to show Bella’s vulnerabilities and maintain an inner strength at the same time. Robert Pattinson’s ability to switch Edward’s mood from happy to tense to brooding to angry to relief to sadness in the blink of an eye is to be commended. Rob’s face when he crushes the cell phone is absolutely heartbreaking and is my favorite Edward moment. The fact that Edward is not only an auditory hallucination, but a visual one as well is a plus and is an improvement over the book. Rob’s performance as the Edward hallucination was spot on. Taylor Lautner’s handle on whether Jacob’s reactions are immature or mature as he comes to terms with being a werewolf. Many of the characters, whether they are vampires, wolves, or plain old humans, have at least one funny line that will cause audience members to laugh out loud. Jacob takes the cake with his “What a marshmallow” description of Mike Newton during the movie scene. Bella takes second place when she told Edward to “shut up” during the vote scene.
Kudos to whoever came up with the idea to have Bella write unanswered e-mails to Alice, especially since Kristen is phenomenal with voice over monologues. Plus, it was a creative way for the audience to be able to get inside Bella’s head to better understand what she was feeling. Everyone’s hair and make-up is much improved, except Alice’s hair, which was better in Twilight. Clothing (or lack thereof) was good overall. I like how the Cullens have one color tone, the wolves have another, and Bella has a mixture of both. The music of this film can be summed up in one word: amazing! The soundtrack and the score perfectly capture the theme of New Moon. Hurrican Bells’ “Monsters” lyrics and instrumental portion of the track was perfect for Edward’s slow-motion intro scene at the school. The song “Possibility” by Lykke Li was perfectly placed in the October/November/December scene where Bella is lost inside. Alexandre Desplat did a fabulous job with the entire score. Lighting, scenery, sets, and angles lived up to the standards of Twilight. The opening title sequence was neat and added to the anticipation.
Unfortunately, there are also parts that have to be critiqued. The flow from one scene to another was often abrupt, especially towards the end of the film. Bella and Edward’s reunion scenes in Volterra and in her room were too short. It would have been nice to have more quotes from the book included. Bella’s epiphany was left out, which was something I was looking forward to seeing. Although the costume department did a good job, Edward only had four unique outfits: school outfit, suit coat and dress pants, rumpled shirt, and a Volturi robe. I know Rob wanted a more mature look for New Moon and requested a suit jacket, but I think it was overused. It was a great choice for the birthday party, but it seemed an odd outfit to break up with your girlfriend in. Sorry Team Jacob fans, but the most unconvincing line of the entire movie was Taylor Lautner’s “Don’t get me upset. Things could get really ugly.” I’m not sure how Chris Weitz allowed that to be in the final cut of the film because it sounded so ridiculous. However, Taylor made up for it with his breathless “Bella” and pain filled expression after she basically tells Jacob she was using him. Some conversations were missing from the film that would have helped a non-Twilighter understand plot lines better. For example, it was never mentioned how the wolves have the ability to heal fast and those who haven’t read the books might be confused at how neither Jacob nor Paul had a single scratch after their scuffle. Also, someone who hasn’t read the books were probably wondering how in the world Jacob knew where to find Bella after she went cliff-jumping.
When seeing The Twilight Saga: New Moon, movie-goers need to realize who the target audience of this franchise is: Twi-Hards. The goal of Summit Entertainment, Chris Weitz, the cast, and crew is to make a film that will satisfy the fans because they are the ones who are doling out the cash. There is not a single critic out there who is picking this film apart frame by frame more than the devoted Twilighters and I know because I’m one of them. No one could be more excited or disappointed with this film than the Twi-Hards and if we are more than satisfied with New Moon, the film did its job. After all, the fans are the people have made everything Twilight a global phenomenon.