You can read my first review of Twilight here
As I begin this second review of the latest installment of Twilight, let spend some time going into the complex and intricate *smirk, smirk* story of New Moon:
A year or so passes since the last movie. Edward leaves because he doesn’t want to endanger Bella. She is sad and find solace in the arms of a hunky Jacob who runs with a pack of dogs. She is reunited with Edward but they get in trouble by the vampire police. Narrowing escaping they live happily ever after…for now.
I was EXTREMELY apprehensive about seeing this second part after my disappointing first exposure to Twilight. Especially since it would cost me $11 this time versus a borrowed DVD. Sitting in a theater of what can only be described as a giant 13 year old girl’s slumber party, it did not help ease my already waning, semi-open mind. So you should be just as shocked as myself to read the following lines; To my surprise, about halfway through the movie, I actually thought to myself ‘this is not half bad’. After I realized the ceiling was not going to collapse in on me for thinking such counter intuitive thoughts, I settled in for the rest of the movie.
Under the new direction of Chris Weitz, New Moon went from a vapid shell of a movie to genuine guilty pleasure. Sure, it is far from quality cinema but at least it presents itself with a little dignity and some self-awareness of what it is. While the general premise doesn’t change at least the rest of the movie elements catches up from the first outing. Acting, dialogue, cinematography, score, and pacing soars to a sub-par level. New Moon has a resemblance of an actual movie instead of feeling like Dawson’s Creek meets Buffy. The same criticisms still linger from the first movie like overly drawn out, angst filled moments, nose grazing, excessive slow motion, and so on. However, this time there is a little more balance to help you keep your popcorn and soda down. After a year, it felt like the handling of the material matured along with the actors. It could be so much better but at least it allowed me to focus on the story instead on constant eye rolling or checking my watch.
Personally, I felt the story was strongest when the two mains, Edward and Bella, were apart which was for about 2/3rd of the film. The political tension between the vampires, wolves, and humans actually drew me in. I did find myself aligning with factions and hoping for certain outcomes. Weitz does a good job forcing you to sympathize with the carefully orchestrated love triangle of Bella/Edward/Jacob. I found myself to be siding ‘Team Jacob’ which is grossly embarrassing to admit. The story takes an odd leap near about the 3/4 mark to Italy where it turns into a spectacle version of Matrix meets Angels and Demons. It was an interesting layer but awkwardly handled. This is probably much better fleshed out in the book.
I was a little surprised to read the RottenTomatoes gave this one a 30% verses a 49% like its predecessor. New Moon was a more complete package offering a little bit to everyone instead of to the exclusively simple, 12 year old, mopy female.
In conclusion, I am intentionally resisting my thoughts on characters, motive, message, and culture for my “Twilight phenomenon Special” to follow soon. Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought of it.
Listen to our podcast on New Moon and the Twilight phenomenon