Published Nov 20, 2009Fanpires rejoice. The sequel, based upon the second novel in the series by author Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, doesn't disappoint. The task at hand for director Chris Weitz was to create a thorough depiction of the book on screen without losing key scenes and without overdoing it. Mission accomplished.
As in the book, the film begins with Bella Swan's (Kristen Stewart) 18th birthday. When her vampire soul-mate Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his family throw her a birthday party, a paper cut incident causes Edward's brother, Jasper, to loose control. Although the others restrain Jasper, Edward decides his vampire existence is too much of a risk to Bella's life; he ends their relationship and the Cullens move away, leaving Bella heartbroken and in a downward spiral of depression.
She soon realizes that she can see visions of Edward via reckless behaviour, leading her to take increasingly bigger risks. All the while a relationship is developing between Bella and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a member of the Quileute tribe who becomes part of a vampire killing pack of supernatural wolves. When some miscommunication leads Edward to believe Bella is dead, he goes to Italy to provoke royal vampires the Volturi into killing him, resulting in Bella assuming the heroine role in an attempt to save him.
Other than a few minor changes, the plot is faithful to the novel and Pattinson and Lautner inhabit their characters extremely well. Lautner, who buffed up quite a bit for the film, had to take up the lead male role in Edward's absence and he lives up to expectations. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Stewart's acting skills (or lack thereof), as she fails to capture the depth of Bella's character, and any attempts she makes at deep reflection read as blank stares.
There are also many instances of unintentional comedic relief. For example, every time Edward graces the screen and is captured in slow motion with a sultry James Dean-esque facial expression, you can't help but chuckle. Despite this and Stewart's unconvincing performance, this film adaptation of New Moon is well executed, with Weitz staying true to Meyer's vision while introducing intriguing new characters, like Volturi vampire Jane, played by Dakota Fanning.
Also, the effects used to show the Quileute boys transforming into terrifyingly gigantic wolves score high points as well. Love or hate the Twilight phenomenon, even the brief moments of Pattinson in all of his sparkling greatness are well worth the watch. (E1)