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Twilight Saga: New Moon [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A]
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New Moon, the second in Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster teen-fiction saga adapted for film, is stronger than its predecessor, Twilight. Director Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass), taking the helm from Catherine Hardwicke, brings a lighter, more assured touch to the sequel, which continues the star-crossed love story of mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). Incidentally, Edward is absent for most of the film; after an accident on Bella's birthday reminds Edward that her life is always at risk when he's around, he chooses to abandon her, sending her into a deep depression. The only person who helps her heal her broken heart is her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a member of the Quileute tribe who, as he grows taller, beefier, and more aggressive (with less clothing), comes to realise he's not entirely human either. But even his love for Bella doesn't prevent her from throwing herself in the path of danger, because that's the only time she can see visions of Edward. One such fateful misunderstanding sends Edward into the coven of the Volturi (a sort of vampire Mafia, if you will), where the most dangerous vampires hold both Edward and Bella's fate in their cold, dark hands.
Much of New Moon rests on the shoulders of Lautner, so scrawny in Twilight, who famously packed on the muscle to avoid getting recast. He's very nearly successful in carrying the load, but the cheese-tastic beefcake scenes disservice him, and Jacob and Bella's complicated friendship stumbles on its way to any kind of love triangle. Some of that blame lies with Stewart, who understandably holds her emotions close to her chest but reveals much too little (c'mon, even an angsty girl has to be a little joyful in the arms of two different hunks). As is with the book, the film is just a bridge between sagas, so the plot drags and not a lot happens. Fortunately, while Twilight was trapped in its own self-consciousness, the wobbly-legged cast seems to have found stronger footing in New Moon; the jokes come faster, the writing (by Melissa Rosenberg, who also scribed Twilight) is a hair wittier. (Even Pattinson seems more comfortable in Edward's skin.) The Volturi, highlighted by Michael Sheen's Aro and Dakota Fanning's Jane, also make an all-too-brief impression, but at least there's more to look forward to when Eclipse, the third installment, is released. --Ellen A. Kim --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Continuing on where the first film ended follows the romantic entanglements of Bella Swan with vampire Edward Cullen. This film features more of Bella's relationship with local boy and childhood friend Jacob Black.
Once again I have to confess that I came to the film without reading the book, in fact I watched Twilight and New Moon back to back in the hopes that it would help me understand what was going on. I have just finished Twilight and am about to start New Moon (the book) - Twilight having filled in so many gaps which the first film left me with I hope the New Moon will do the same.
For example: I don't understand is why Jasper would kick off at a drop of blood when at the end of the first film pints were gushing from a severed artery and it had no effect what so ever - but I'm new to this series and from what I see I'm sure that someone from the great fan community will be able to explain the why.
This is one of those times when it is extremely important you read the book in order to understand the characters and their backgrounds. So much is left out that for those, like me, who came to the series with no knowledge of the background the films can seem disjointed. Once the books have been consumed the whole story becomes clearer, therefore, I recommend to anyone who has not already read the books that you do so - it makes the films much, much clearer.
I have to admit that I'm with the people who are questioning the change of Director between films - and it wasn't just the association with Twilight as I always question a change of director in a series of films. One thing Chris Weitz did was bring out the best in Kirsten Stewart (Bella) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob). Miss Stewart finally came across as something other than the vacuous, sulky teenage brat and was able to portray the deeper desire and obsession with Edward that was missing from the first film. Unfortunately for Mr Lautner his part in the first film was minimal and did not show off his great acting talent.
Michael Sheen is superbly (and charmingly) creepy as the head of the elite Italian vampire family.
I thank the people at Amazon for getting this out to me for Saturday before the official release at midnight on Sunday; I've spent the last 36 hours watching the film, film with commentary (how about commentary from the actors next time - note to Mr Weitz: keep your hands off other people's burgers)
This was a great follow up to Twilight and I look forward to reading the next book and watching the next film.
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Language options - English only
Subtitles - English only
Running Time - 127 minutes
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