Movie Review: New Moon (2009)

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Background

This is the second installment in the movie franchise built on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight book series. In the first movie, Isabella Swan met the vampire Edward Cullen and they fell in love. Edward saved Bella from James, another vampire, inciting the revenge that would bring James’ mate Victoria to try and kill Bella.

New Moon

Bella (Kristen Stewart) dreams that she and her grandmother are in her and Edward’s special meadow. Grandma is acting very strangely, and Edward (Robert Pattinson) doesn’t seem to mind that her grandma will see his diamond encrusted skin. Edward walks to her, and she realises she is her grandmother – an old lady who is loved by the still young Edward.

Bella wakes up and realise it is her birthday. Her dad teases her about aging, quickly realizing that it is not a joke to her. She is depressed that she will officially be a year older than Edward no matter what, even though Edward is technically 109 years old.

No one at school knows about her birthday, except the Cullens. She is ordered to attend a small gathering in her honor at their mansion, and she reluctantly goes. She gives herself a paper cut, and all hell breaks loose. Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), the Cullen vampire who is newest to their vegetarian diet, is immediately ready to attack, and Edward pushes Bella into the piano to protect her, which means more blood all around. They muscle Jasper out, and Carlisle (Peter Fascinelli) fixes Bella up.

It doesn’t take Edward long to dump Bella. He secretly feels Bella is in danger around him, but he tells her he isn’t interested anymore. He and his entire family leave Forks, erasing their entire existence.

Bella’s reaction to her break-up startles everyone. No one truly understands what she went through with him, or that he is truly her soul mate. Her father Charlie (Billy Burke) babysits her for a few months, and tries to calm her down when she has nightmares. When he realizes that she isn’t getting better, he tells her it might be better to move back to her mother. Bella immediately refuses. She can’t leave the only place where she knew Edward. She goes on a girl-date with Jessica Stanley to prove to her dad she is getting better. Bella realizes that when she is in a dangerous situation it brings an illusion of Edward. She gets on a bike with a random guy, terrifying Jessica.

Bella hikes to her and Edward’s special place, the meadow, but finds more danger there. Laurent, one of the vampires that hunted with James, who was killed by Edward, finds her there, and tells her Victoria, James’ mate, is searching for Bella to get her revenge on Edward. He attempts to attack her, but is stopped by the strangest animals – huge wolves.

Bella starts getting close to Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is Quileute. He is obviously interested, but she tells him that she will never be able to love someone else. He persists, and despite his relationship wishes they manage to remain friends. One day he disappears, and Bella has a suspicion that Sam Uley, a sort of ringleader to a bunch of adrenaline junkies in the reservation, is behind it all. Jacob persists he cannot tell her what has happened, but that she already knows. Armed with this dubious information, Bella tries to remember, but she only finds out when she has a dream, and remembers what he said about his tribe turning into Werewolves when vampires are around.

Bella confronts Jacob and his pack, and after another werewolves’ angry outburst, the wolf is literally out of the bag. Jacob assures her that they only hunt vampires, and Bella tells him that the redhead they are trying to catch is Victoria, and why she wants to get into Forks so much – to kill her.

Jacob and his pack are on full alert now, and Bella barely sees him. Depressed again, she turns to extremes to see Edward’s vision. She goes cliff jumping, and Jacob saves her from death. They head to her home, and Alice is waiting. The return of her presence is marred when Rosalie (Nikki Reed) tells Edward they think Bella has died. The only way to kill a vampire is when the Volturi – the vampire “government” – is willing to kill you. The Volturi is situated in Italy, and Alice and Bella needs to go there before Edward exposes himself. Jacob begs Bella to stay, but she simply needs to save Edward one last time – she is tormented by the fact that he is willing to kill himself out of guilt.

Bella and Alice arrive in Italy just in time. Bella throws herself into Edward’s arms, saving him from stepping out into sunlight. Their reunion is very sweet, until the Volturi arrive. Alice appears, evening the odds. A very sadistic little Vampire shows up, Jane (Dakota Fanning), and everyone meekly follows her to where Aro, Marcus and Caius are waiting. Dimitri, a burly vampire, nearly kills Edward when he tries to protect Bella from dying because she knows too much of their secret world. Bella offers to die, but Aro senses that she will make a fantastic immortal because her mind somehow repels vampiric intrusion. He gives them a choice – turn Bella, and she lives forever, or she dies immediately. Alice promises to turn her herself should Edward refuse. They are allowed to leave intact.

New Moon Alice

Back in Forks, Edward swears to Bella that the only reason he left is because he wanted to keep her safe, and he still loves her. They reunite, but have to deal with both Charlie and Jacob. Charlie is angered because she left for Italy without one thought to what her father might think. Jacob has so much reason to hate – not only does he turn into a monstrous being because Edward is around, but also because Edward has Bella’s love. Jacob warns Edward that a full blown war will commence between the two species should Bella be turned, and the two nearly fight.

Back in their meadow, Edward proposes to Bella, telling her that he will turn her into a vampire if she marries him.

Rating: 6.5/10

New Moon is by far the saddest movie of the entire series. Watching Bella’s grief is like relieving a broken heart. Kristen Stewart is a much more developed actress in this movie than she was in the first. Her portrayal of a girl nearly mad with grief is shockingly real.

Robert Pattinson is once again a good Edward Cullen. Those golden vampire eyes are so beautiful, especially on him. The scene where he nearly steps into the courtyard in Italy made me so sad – that expression made him look like he had lost everything in the world.

Kudos to Taylor Lautner for the impressive physical transformation he made between Twilight and New Moon. In order to keep his role, he went through unbelievable physical changes to be able to look like an overgrown teenage boy. His acting is always a bit dodgy – he still has the same acting abilities he had in Shark Boy vs. Lava Girl.

The movie contained a few unnecessary changes to the storyline – Edward and Dimitri’s fight was so not needed. It probably does add more punch to things, but it seems that whenever Edward fights in the movies, he is always portrayed as the weakling. In Twilight, he had his ass handed back to him by James until his brothers showed up. Here in New Moon, Dimitri is kicking his ass very easily. I get that the Volturi keeps Dimitri around because his strength is his vampiric specialty, but during that fight his opponent a 109 year old immortal, and that has to count for something.

What I love the most about the entire series is that it is about exceptional love finding a way. I am not even ashamed that I love Twilight – so many girls try to hide it to get attention from guys. So sorry guys, I love it, and if you have any sense you will at least watch it, because it is good enough for simple entertainment.

xX N

PS: Read my review on Twilight here

 

Movie Review: Twilight (2008)

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Based on the worldwide success of the Twilight series, written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight tells the tale of how a human girl fell for a vampire and their journey together.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves to the Forks, a place where it rains almost nonstop. Although not excited about leaving sunshine behind, she chooses to go live with her father to give her newly wed and scatter-brained mother space with her new husband.

Bella is instantaneously a hot property in Forks. The guys want to date her; the girls want to be her. Mike Newton (Michael Welsh) is leading the pack of eager boys, making no secret that he would like to date her. It threatens to become awkward when Bella realises her new friend Jessica Stanley (Anna Kendrick) is interested in Mike. Bella manages to dodge a bullet by telling Mike to take Jessica to the dance, because she doesn’t plan to go herself.

Bella notices Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) during lunch on her first day. Edward and his siblings possess an unworldly beauty, and she is struck with their magnificence. Jessica, who notices Bella staring, quickly points out that no one in Forks is good enough for the Cullens, leaving the thought that she would have loved the attention by them. Even though he is far away, Edward smiles as if he heard her.

Later on in Biology, Bella sits next to Edward, but his animosity shocks her. She feels the anger he feels for her, but has no idea what she could have done to evoke it. He rushes from the class immediately when the bell rings, and she finds him requesting to be transferred to another class. She is stung by his open hatred, and when he disappears for a few days she is certain that she is the reason.

Edward returns suddenly to school one day, and seems perfectly polite. They manage to have a few conversations, but he constantly leaves hints he may be dangerous. In the school parking lot Bella nearly dies when Tyler Crowley loses control over his car, but Edward moves at a superhuman speed to save her, and shields her body from the collision with his own, carrying no scars from it. At the hospital, they have a fight when he still refuses to tell her anything.

Bella invites Edward to join her friends on La Push, a beach on the Quileute reservation in Forks. He declines, stating he isn’t welcome there, and Bella thinks it may be because of Mike’s crush on her. While there, Bella talks to an old friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is part of the Quileute tribe. After a cryptic comment from another Quileute, Sam, Jacob tells Bella the legend about the Quileutes, who turned into wolves to protect their tribe from the cold ones, whom Edward and his family is a part of. Because the Cullens differed from the usual Cold Ones, a pact was made between the groups. Despite the truce, the Cullens are still regarded as a threat by the Quilettes, and they are not allowed on the reservation.

Bella looks up the new information from Jacob on the internet, and find references to the cold ones as well as vampires. She goes with Jessica and Angela (Christian Seratos) to another town under the guise of finding dresses for the two girls who are going to the prom, but so that she can visit a bookshop that has a book about vampires.

After buying the book, Edward saves Bella from being attacked by a group of young men. How he knows where to find her is still a secret, but she is nonetheless thankful. He takes her to dinner there and causes the speculation of Angela and Jessica who was desperately worried.

Back in Forks Bella researches further on vampires, and reach the conclusion that Edward and his family are indeed blood sucking monsters. She confronts him, and he confirms her suspicions. On her question about his diet, he tells her that they live off animal blood, backing Jacob’s statement that their family are different from other vampires. Edward tells Bella that his animosity towards her in the beginning was because her blood smells so potent to him, and he struggled not to attack her. He also confides that some vampires have special gifts, and that he has the ability to read people’s minds – except hers, and that she is the first person ever whose mind is shielded from his abilities.

School

He is especially dangerous to her, and yet they start a relationship. It has more problems that most – they are effectively different species, he is so much stronger than her than the norm, and he desperately yearns for her blood. Their relationship is tentative and sweet and controlled. She meets his family – his “father” Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), whose greatest gift is his compassion, his sweet natured “mother” Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), who is a mother figure to everyone, Alice (Ashley Greene), who sees the future, Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who has the ability to control emotions, Emmet (Kellan Lutz), a big, brawny vampire who has a funny nature, and the beautiful Rosalie (Nikki Reed) who despises Bella because of the danger she poses to the Cullens.

Bella and Edward

Bella joins the Cullens on her first official outing with them. They use times when there is thunder to play baseball – the only time where it is okay for them to make so much noise. It goes well, until another bunch of vampires appear, who don’t share the vegetarian lifestyle of the Cullen’s. They catch Bella’s scent, and a vampire named James (Cam Gigandet), nearly attacks her.  The Cullens protect her, but Edward has read James’ mind, and knows that Bella will always be hunted while James lives.

They agree to take Bella somewhere safe, her hometown. Alice and Jasper takes her there, because they know James will expect her to stay with Edward, and splitting them up is a good idea. James lures Bella into a trap by making her believe that her mother is in danger. She escapes from her wardens, and heads to a ballet studio where she danced as a child. James bites her, infecting her with vampire blood, and after Edward and his family kills James, Edward saves Bella by sucking out the venom, keeping her human.

In the hospital afterwards, Edward tells Bella that she will be safer with her mother, away from him. She panics, and he promises that he will never leave her as long as it is within her best interests.

At prom, in which Bella was tricked into going by Edward, they reach an impasse. Edward is adamant that Bella should be human, and she wants to turn because that is the only way to be with him forever.

The movie ends showing Victoria, James’ mate, spying on the happy couple.

Rating: 6/10

What I thought about the movie:

Twilight, the first of five installments (the fourth book was split into two movies), doesn’t seem as well produced as all the rest. It is enjoyable, scary and entertaining, and if you have a romantic heart you will enjoy the tale.

Destination Forks

I loved the scenery. It is a beautiful part of Washington. The school and other areas were pretty well reproduced, and all the characters have some of that small town charm.

The Characters

Bella Swan lost her position as the least liked character in the Feminist League only when Anastasia Steele came along. I personally don’t find her all that offensive. She is simply an insecure teenage girl. Kristen Stewart was well made for her portrayal of Ms. Swan. Her acting isn’t bad – it is just in real life where she has zero facial expressions.

Edward Cullen is so much a McDreamy. Robert Pattinson did well there, and if his acting seems forced in Twilight, it improves slightly in the other movies. Funnily enough, it is his facial expressions in some scenes that trouble me – he looks a bit constipated at times. As a character, he seems moody and controlling, but also truly in love and protective.

Taylor Lautner is seriously adorable as Jacob Black. All that long hair gave me such envy. He has a sweet puppy dog disposition in the first movie and novel, which Taylor did really well in.

Kellan Lutz fulfills the bodily requirements of Emmet Cullen, and even some of his charm. But I just want to give the guy a few acting lessons as present for his birthday. He should stick to modelling Calvin Klein underwear – he excels in it.

All in all, the main characters were well cast. Esme’s hair changed a lot between movies (will dye stick to a vampire’s hair?) and that bugged me. She looked exceptionally well with the golden brown. Peter Facinelli was a good Dr. Cullen. He did the vampire doctor to a T. He really does manage to look like a very compassionate man. Ashley Greene as Alice was also, once again, well done. She is certainly petite enough to be Alice Cullen, and she gave the performance the appropriate weirdness that is part of Alice’s charm. Jackson Rathbone is good as Jasper – he looks in pain, as he should. He also has the looks of a glamorous movie star – like in the book.

I think a special mention needs to be given to Nikki Reed. She works hard every time in a movie, and does so well, and I see so little of her in other stuff. Am I being stupid and she is actually frequently cast? As Rosalie, she pulls the bitchface off so well. I love Rosalie’s animosity towards Bella – it would be so silly if all the people in Forks loved her immediately.

How much changed between book and movie?

There were a few changes, especially in the sequence of events, but since it suited the movie, I found I didn’t mind that much.

Conclusion

The movie is as enjoyable as the book. It is sometimes surprisingly eerie, successfully scary and it is really a love story about two people who managed to be together no matter what got in their way.