What happened previously?
After Bella and Edward’s separation, Bella rushed to Italy to save Edward from exposing himself to humanity and ultimately getting himself by the Volturi. In Italy, Bella came face to face with some of the oldest vampires alive – Marcus, Cauis and Aro – the Volturi, a sort of global government for vampires. They wanted to kill Bella because she knew too much of their world, but Alice’s promise to turn her soon made them rescind on their verdict, promising to keep a close watch on the situation. Edward, who is able to read minds, understood that Aro, a collector of sorts, wanted him and Alice with the Volturi. With Edward’s ability and Alice’s power to see the future, Aro fully grasped the power they could give to him and his brothers.
When they arrived back in Forks, Jacob Black, a werewolf who is in love with Bella, told Edward that if he turned Bella into a vampire, the truce between the Cullens and the Quileute werewolves would be over. It nearly turned into a fight, but Bella managed to stop them with one of her self-serving righteous phrases (“You can’t hurt each other without hurting me”)
Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) discuss his marriage proposal, and her wishes for him to turn her into a vampire. He persists that he will only turn her when she is married to him, but she argues that in the modern world it is only acceptable to be married at eighteen when you are pregnant.
Back at home, her father Charlie (Billy Burke) makes no secret that he mistrusts and despises Edward – with good reason. Bella doesn’t really mind too much, knowing she acted very irresponsibly by leaving the country without even mentioning where she was going beforehand. Charlie surprises her when he tells her that he will lessen her punishment if she uses her time by spending time with her friends as well – meaning Jacob. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who has been ignoring Bella since her return, is apparently going through a rough time and needs his friend. Bella knows that he was there for her when she desperately needed her, but Edward is appalled by the idea that she even considers spending time with the volatile werewolf pack.
Bella and Edward find Jacob waiting for them at school, and she heads out with Jacob. They have a fight because of her decision to give away her humanity, choosing to become his natural enemy.
Edward and Bella go to Phoenix to visit her mother. Upon her return, she learns that the Cullens and the werewolves nearly got into a fight. She hears it was because both clans were hunting Victoria (Rachel Lefevre) , who is bell bent upon destroying Edward’s reason for living – her. The Cullens and Quileute’s are all dedicated to protecting Bella’s life, and take turns looking after her and Charlie.
Meanwhile, Charlie is very concerned about the murder rate in Seattle. It would seem like a serial killer is on the loose, but Edward tells Bella that it is a new-born vampire army. New-born vampires are difficult to control, which explains the random killings. The vampires are unsure why anyone would create an army in Seattle. They agree that they will soon intervene to prevent the Volturi from arriving and taking care of the situation, and then check up on Bella’s mortality status.
Alice (Ashley Greene) sees a vision of the army heading to Forks, and the Cullens align themselves with the wolves to keep the town safe. Bella realize that it is Victoria leading the hunt, and that Victoria knows enough of Alice’s ability to keep on making decisions randomly to keep them confused.
At the graduation party Alice hosts for Bella, the werewolves and the vampires makes a pact to save the town together. They train each night in the clearing under the guidance of Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who lived in one of these armies before Alice found him and he changed his lifestyle.
Bella is frustrated by her inability to help. Edward’s family keeps telling her that she will be no help as a new-born, only distracting Edward and endangering both of them. One night she visits with Jacob, and his father Billy (Gil Birmingham) tells them a tale about the Third Wife. The Third Wife was a woman who sacrificed her own life to save the Quielettes from a blood thirsty vampire. Bella gets the idea that she can also do something like that, maybe just less dramatic, but Edward and Jacob both get very annoyed with the idea. They agree to take Bella to a safe location in the mountains while the fight is on, laying a false trail so no vampire can find her. Edward agrees to stay with Bella after she says she is either in the clearing with him, or he is at the campsite with her.
At the campsite, Jacob effectively tricks Bella into kissing him. He leaves afterwards, but Edward isn’t mad at Bella, and even reluctantly impressed with Jacob’s dirty techniques.
As Bella, Edward and Seth (Booboo Stewart), another vampire, stays at the campsite waiting out the storm, Victoria arrives with her sidekick Riley (Xavier Samuel). They are both killed by Edward and Seth. Jacob gets injured in the clearing when he has to protect Leah, a werewolf who was careless in her attack on a vampire. The wolves carry him home when they realise the Volturi are on their way, and knows it is best that no one knows of their truce with the Cullens back in Italy.
Jane (Dakota Fanning), Demitri (Charlie Bewley) and Alex arrive, and they kill Brie (Jadelle Ferland), another vampire who was part of Victoria’s army. The Cullens had offered her protection if she surrendered, but the Volturi point out that the protection was not theirs to offer. Before they kill her, Edward reads her mind and sees that the Volturi might have been indirectly involved with the army – they had hoped if some of the Cullens’ had died, Edward and Alice might have been more willing to join the Volturi. Brie is killed, and Jane reminds them that Aro still waits for Bella to turn immortal.
Bella goes to see Jacob afterwards, and he is in a lot of pain. He tells her that she needs to give him space to deal with her decision to become immortal, and she leaves him. Afterwards, she tells Edward that they need to tell Charlie that they are engaged.
The movie and the book had a few differences. Once again, a few fights were included that existed nowhere in the novel. The fight between Jacob and Edward in the tent was selfish and narrow minded of them, as it endangered Bella who was right there in that cramped little space.
The scene where Bella runs away with Jacob on the school grounds were also created, but it worked fine with the movie. The cutting of some scenes was understandable – the movie would have become very lengthy.
I enjoyed that they included both Jasper and Rosalie’s tales. It makes clear why they are like they are. I loved how Rosalie got her revenge on men that had raped her before the end of her mortal life. Jackson Rathbone plays Jasper well. He particularly worked well in the Confederate Army part of his story, and how it showed how horrible the first part of his mortality would become.
The scene where Edward and Victoria finally face off was great. I have to mention that in these books I admire how equally strong the female vampires are compared to the male ones. It is a great source of feminism tucked into a series that has been blasted for being too weak in terms of female power. Victoria is in the end this huge threat, while James and Laurent were but temporary ones. Jane is also this incredibly dangerous little cow, and everyone fears her so much. I thought Dakota Fanning was superb here. It is a completely new direction she takes in her portrayal of Jane – she is usually the sweet, innocent little girl with a cute smile, and here she is a psychotic vampire who loves to torture people, with a cute smile. I loved it.