The Twilight Saga: New Moon Review


As a movie-lover, I had to see what all the fuss was about, so I watched “Twilight” despite minimal knowledge of Stephenie Meyer’s books. I didn’t like it, but felt it could be done better, so with Catherine Hardwicke switched out for Chris Weitz, I decided to see if the franchise could back-up its hundreds of millions in revenue earned from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” Weitz improves the action, but the romance is maybe even worse and the story still all over the place.

For one thing “New Moon” is a long three-parter for a romance-centered story. To its advantage, you come in with knowledge of the characters, but the movie begins with a lack of momentous conflict. Edward (Pattinson), our vampire, tells Bella (Stewart) he’s leaving because she’s “not good for him,” aka he’s a vampire somehow she’s gonna pay for that. As this happens we’re slapped with Romeo & Juliet references, which for tweens is effective symbolism/analogy usage, but not for anyone over the age of 16.

Weitz could have cut 15 minutes at least from “New Moon” by virtue of erasing the pauses between lines of romance dialogue. If Edward and Bella spoke to each other like normal people do and without this weird attempt to understate the melodramatic tension through emotional sucker punch lines such as ” …(pause)…you’re not good for me,” then “New Moon” could go under the two-hour mark and manage to feel like one film instead of three.

When Edward leaves we’re treated to indie-music montages of time passing and Bella being depressed and seeing blurred visions of Edward everywhere and wanting a “rush” because she’s so completely devastated by his choice. It’s too much internalized conflict for the beginning of a film. The franchise’s constant, writer Melissa Rosenberg, probably had to fight over book loyalty or drawing out parts that would make the movie flow better — not an enviable position, but either way “New Moon” is structurally terrible.

The middle act is then Bella’s budding relationship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), her washboard abs Native American friend who also has his secrets: he’s a werewolf. Poor Bella, she always attracts the late 19th/early 20th Century literary monsters. At least at this point the action starts to pick up when Bella realizes she’s being hunted by the bad vampires from the last movie and werewolf Jacob tries to protect her. The movie lets go of the romance for about 45 minutes which is a breath of fresh air.

But before all is done the story rockets back to Edward and fast-forwards at lightning pace through the final act that takes Bella on a plane ride to see the Vampire leaders, the Volturi. It’s the dessert we have to cram down before we get kicked out of the restaurant because we’ve sat down for too long. “New Moon” really is a three-course meal that has one or two good items but regardless, lacks anything tying it all together as a “meal” until the final five minutes.

Most importantly, Weitz manages not to do one thing Hardwicke did in “Twilight”: make me laugh at the movie. I didn’t find anything so cheesy that I rolled my eyes and that, as a total outsider to the Twilight books and Twi-hard fandom and such, is a huge victory in my opinion. The action, while abusive of slow-motion, at least has a sense of style, though certainly more budget flexibility existed with “New Moon.”

A lot more work would need to be done to give the Twilight Saga a film it could hang its hat on critically speaking, but money talks louder in this case, so what does Summit care? I still think there’s a good movie in this franchise somewhere, but guessing about the books and knowing what Rosenberg has done adapting them, anything more than tolerable would be a surprise.

2.5/5 Stars

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Directed by Chris Weitz
Written by Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner


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