Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Release Date: November 20, 2009
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
· Chris Weitz
· Kristen Stewart
· Robert Pattinson
· Taylor Lautner
· Ashley Greene
· Official site
· IMDb: New Moon
by Paulette Suhr
Published: November 20, 2009
"New Moon" is the second segment of the hit vampire phenomenon known as "The Twilight Saga." Some people might view the movie as an individual entity, but the vast majority will be going into the theater having read New Moon and seen "Twilight."
A lot of "New Moon" focuses on Bella's (Kristen Stewart) obsession with turning eighteen. Edward (Robert Pattinson), it turns out, is 109. (Ew.) However, he was turned into a vampire when he was seventeen, so Bella sees herself as the older of the two. She worries that if she doesn't become immortal soon, Edward may not stay attracted to her. He reassures her with all sorts of flowery words, things like "You being alive is my present." (Gag.)
Just when I start to think the vending-machine Zingers I had for dinner might make a reappearance, Edward inexplicably breaks it off with Bella, and he and the rest of the Cullens leave town. Bella becomes catatonic with grief and months pass before her friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) helps her regain some level of functioning. The two of them engage in crazy teenage hijinks and as time goes by, their friendship looks to be moving to a new level. I'm thinking Jacob's amazing body might have something to do with that. Seriously, Lautner's abs are a thing of beauty but his trapezius muscles alone are worth the price of admission. Props to Meyer for crafting a story that allows for so much shirtlessness without appearing overly gratuitous.
Just when things are looking up for Bella, Jacob tries to push her away too. But she's not letting her best friend bail on her until she figures out why things have changed. Nothing could prepare her for what she learns.
"New Moon" is visually superior to "Twilight," with some nifty special effects in play throughout the movie. Director Chris Weitz keeps the story moving along, but the film lacks a bit of the dreaminess of its predecessor. Lautner sizzles onscreen (even fully clothed) and he has excellent chemistry with Stewart, who does an adequate job playing a moody teenager, not exactly a stretch for her. Pattinson has great hair, but spends the whole movie looking constipated. And once again, he delivers all his lines like he's reciting unfamiliar poetry. I know Edward is a stone-cold vampire (and I hope I never see the words 'marble chest' again unless they refer to high-end Italian home furnishings), but so are his siblings Alice and Emmett and they don't act as if they're made of rock.
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg did a good job following the storyline without major detours or distractions. There are some cringe-worthy moments of dialogue, but most of them are quoted straight from the novel. In fact, the film's only major problems come from the book, specifically characters that behave illogically for the sake of plot advancement. There's no real reason for the Cullen family to leave town. So what if Carlyle is supposed to be 40 but looks 30? It'd be easier to pretend to have plastic surgery or Dick Clark syndrome, but they have to leave so that Bella is temporarily unprotected. Edward's own reason for leaving borders on insane, but he has to go in order to set-up the love triangle. And so on.
Viewers who loved New Moon, the book, will probably love this movie. Spouses and boyfriends dragged kicking and screaming will likely hate it. They'll see Edward as more psychotic than romantic, and wonder what the heck is wrong with women who find this morose, pale faced, Nancy-boy so hot. I don't see the attraction myself, but I remember having a crush on Edward Scissorhands once upon a time, so maybe you just have to be a teen to get it.