Friday, November 20, 2009
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Dir: Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass)
Source Material: Novel by Stephenie Meyer
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Chaske Spencer, Rachelle Lefevre, Michael Welch, Tyson Houseman, Alex Meraz, Bronson Pelletier
Seen: November 19, 2009 late night screening
Reason to See & Review: Been waiting for the film since Twilight came out as I'm a big fan and even have a Twilight Podcast: Before the Dawn. Plus, it's part of the Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *
This is not an easy review to write. I'm a fan of Twilight and was really looking forward to New Moon, the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's second book in the series. I am always more than happy to defend the film Twilight, it is an amazing translation that captures the heart and spirit of the book that it is based on and plays perfectly to the fans. Catherine Hardwicke infused the film with a unique visual style and evoked emotional intensity throughout. New Moon, on the other hand captures all the content of the book but not the spirit of the book or the series. Sure, we hit all the important plot points and the fantastical elements are created into film reality through effects that were better than Twilight but where is the heart?
New Moon follows the series very faithfully in terms of content, but not in terms of style. No longer are we treated to a world of cool tones which have been replaced with to be honest, nothing special. The colours, the costumes and the settings all feel like the simplest possible version of what they could be. Almost nothing extra is added and there feels like there is no overarching artistic vision that comes to life on screen. Plus, stylistic changes made to some of the characters feel completely out of character as well as being unnecessary. Put simply, the magic just ain't there.
Even though my first reaction is disappointment, there are moments to enjoy in the film. The scenes with the humans were the only ones that I felt were consistently great. Anna Kendrick continues to be stellar as Bella's not always nice friend Jessica, and Michael Welch was brilliant as Bella's friend Mike. Billy Burke reprises his role as Bella's father Charlie beautifully with a flair for combining being casual alongside parental. New to the series include the Wolf Pack which add a great sense of playful camaraderie and family. Also new is Michael Sheen who is positively delightful as Aro, the over the top leader of the Volturi. The biggest strength in the film is with Kristen Stewarts performance as Bella, this film is all about her and her trying emotional journey. She does an excellent job portraying a wide range of emotions, including hiding those emotions from those around her. Another highlight is the friendship between Bella and Jacob, who develop a great comfort with each other. Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob delivers some of the best moments of the film, often with just a look or glare.
Overall, the film feels rushed. There is so much content jammed in that we don't have time to see the relationships or tension build gracefully or to unravel any of the mysteries. We are told many things that we could have been shown and it feels like it's going through the motions to get next scene, and quickly. It's a very straight up adaptation, but in comparison to Twilight it is paler than a Cullen.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, but I wanted to love it
I'll watch it again & buy it
I'd recommend it to the Twilight diehards
15 minutes of preshow including 6 commercials and 4 previews: The Lovely Bones, Sherlock Holmes, Beastly and Letters to Juliet (on November 20/09 also had preview for Remember Me)
Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews
© Shannon Ridler, 2009
* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012