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The last preview ends and the movie theater erupt in applause and squeals as the Summit Entertainment logo fades onto the screen. The wait is over, for more than a year people around the world counted the days till the second installment in the Twilight Saga would hit the big screen. After the wildfire success of the first film fans were ignited into a frenzied restlessness to see the portrayal of their favorite characters once again.
Through the last year the film New Moon has suffered and triumphed in the media buzz surrounding it. By the time we were finally able to view the film, many of us were torn as to which side we took and our general feelings for the film.
Almost bigger than the choice of Edward and Jacob was the controversy of Catherine Hardwicke vs. Chris Weitz. The uproar of there being a new director to the set of the beloved series, when Hardwicke did such a beautiful job on the last film, was quieted the moment the first scene played. Weitz did a phenomenal work with the New Moon movie; it was a visual wonderland with plenty of classic shots and more than enough innovative action sequences.
The obvious difference in feel between Twilight and New Moon can not be denied. Catherine Hardwicke’s vision of the vampire love story was definitely modern and edgy with light colors and not much contrast; Chris Weitz was more classic with bold colors exploding on the screen.
The Jacob vs. Edward drama did not disappoint either. Having read the books before seeing the New Moon film, I was aware that the movie might prove biased. It did not fail to favor the huge russet wolf, more lovingly known as Jacob Black. The film strongly pictured Jacob as the bright, shinning hope for Bella even evoking extreme sympathy for the young werewolf when Bella so easily ditched him in the end.
The stardom was rightly placed; Taylor Lautner, the actor portraying the beloved character Jacob, definitely deserves a round of applause for his awesome performance. From the first moment when we see him appear to give Bella a gift till the last scene where he is rejected, Lautner lived and breathed the character Jacob making him a believably real person capable of sympathy. It is also hard to not favor Jacob when the actor playing him packed on thirty or so pounds of muscle, even the most die hard Team Edward fans had to question their devotion at the sight of his six pack.
There was nearly a completely opposite effect for Team Edward in the New Moon film; he was not as greatly loved seeing as he left his girl in the near beginning of the movie. Edward did not help his cause when he went throughout the film looking as though he was doing a promotion for Maybelline lipstick. Robert Pattinson once again delivered a great portrayal of the beautiful vampire Edward, but I do have some words for the makeup artist.
There was an audible reaction from nearly every female in theater when Jacob ripped off his shirt, yet when Pattinson showed up on screen half naked the only reaction was ‘please put your shirt back on!’. Sometimes amazing acting skills can not cover for the lack of physical attraction, and unfortunately Robert Pattinson had none this film. For a lack of appearance, Pattinson did save himself some by accurately portraying the self-hating, guilt ridden Edward who was fighting his inner demons.
It would be remise to not mention Kristen Stewart’s performance as Bella Swan. She once again perfectly embodied the character with grace and ease. As for the rest of the cast the returning ones once again amazed us and some even took on a little more screen time. Alice Cullen, played by Ashley Greene, gives us more character in New Moon. The bubbly, psychic vampire shines in this film whether throwing a candle lit party for Bella or racing against the clock to save her brother.
The new guys to the cast also had their share of quality acting. The most notable to me was Michael Sheen as Aro. The lasting impression he left was simply creepy, a good creepy, Sheen definitely fulfilled the role, but as a reader of the New Moon book I did not perceive the Aro character to be so weird. It worked for him though, he is certainly memorable. Another new face to the cast who was largely anticipated was Dakota Fanning as the malicious Jane. Difficult as it was to picture the sweet actress as a sadistic vampire Fanning pulled it off.
As for the Quileute tribe it was difficult to fully asses the actors when all you could stare at was their beautifully sculpted abs. If looks were all there was to make or break you in a Hollywood the boys playing Jacob’s pack would soar in their careers. On the note of acting they all performed well, but there is not one who truly shined seeing as really none of them had a spotlight moment.
Edi Gathegi and Rachelle Lefevre returned to the saga as the nomadic vampires. They both did as well as they did in the Twilight film. It was good to see Lefevre come back after a few squabbles about her being replaced.
To an immense surprise the film stuck to the story line from the book. With following the book so closely, at some points, it felt as though you were being dragged threw the some 550 pages of the book. Though it was refreshing to watch the film and not feel like Stephenie Meyer’s love story was being turned into an inhumane, mythological free for all. As a reader of all four books, reading them more than once, I was very pleased with the screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg for sticking to the facts and not twisting the beloved characters around.
The setting of the film was no more than ordinary. That is till the climax of the film when suddenly everything is switched to Italy. The filming actually took place in Montepulciano, Italy and from the architecture of the setting that is very obvious. The scene in which Bella runs through the red, cloaked crowd is wonderfully shot.
Taking in the movie as a whole I would say New Moon was a success. The acting was once again superb, the directing showed uniqueness, and the setting in places nearly out shined the actors. Even with the qualms about the film, New Moon was a good movie. Twilight fanatics should enjoy seeing a great replication of the book and the return of their favorite characters. Twilight haters should at least be able to enjoy seeing some very hot guys on the big screen and some really cool action shots. The second film in the Twilight Saga should leave most in zealous anticipation for the third film adaptation, Eclipse.