So, I just got back from watching New Moon with my family, (it’s my Sister-in-law’s birthday) and I have to say, it was better than I thought it would be.
Really though, this is a simple review to write. First question for those of you not sure if you are going to see it: Have you seen Twilight? If no, don’t go, you’ll be hopelessly lost. If yes, but you didn’t like Twilight at all, I’d strongly suggest you pass. If you thought Twilight was great, there’s probably no point in reading further. You’ll like it no matter what I say.
Now, for the few who saw Twilight, didn’t hate it, and are unsure if they want to go see it.
In a lot of ways New Moon is better than Twilight. It isn’t bogged down as much by exposition of course, though there is still a lot given the introduction of an entire new group of people formerly called human. The makeup and eye work (for the vamps) is quite a bit better too, and the CGI werewolves were well done. There are still a few moments when the white skin looks a little goofy (especially when chest-hair is involved) but then, there is only so much you can do with any amount of budget. (Which the film, at a reported 50 million dollars, does not have) It feels odd to say, but the hair-styles are way better than in the first film. (That waitress’ abomination still makes me cringe) Though, now that I think about it, the hair has to be pretty atrocious indeed for me, paragon of the traditional clueless geek, to actually notice. There is a nice amount of levity in the film, without being oafish or juvenile, as most of it involves the normal interactions between the characters, believably played. (My favorite from Edward: “I’m here to protect you from everything… except my sister,” said right before Bella has to endure Alice’s way over the top birthday bash) The film stays very faithful to its source material, and what changes/additions there are don’t feel out of place… except for one.
I must stress, this bugged me not because I am a fan of the series, though I do own the books and enjoyed reading them. Rather it was my writer’s horror of inconsistencies at work.
Anyway, towards the end there is a fight between Edward, Alice, and some of the Volturi, shown in trailers so I don’t feel too bad about mentioning it in a review. They fight and Edward gets wailed on, Alice incapacitated almost immediately. Didn’t the books go out of their way to stress how dangerous these two are in a fight? Alice can see the future and Edward can read minds, meaning both know what they opponent is going to do before they do it, yet they get owned. What’s worse, there were several vampires there (one shown explicitly in the scene) who could incapacitate the two without lifting a finger, yet they do nothing as the Volturi’s opulent (some would say gaudy) throne room is trashed.
There was a lot cut out of course, simply due to time constraints, and except for some scenes of Alice and Jasper (what can I say, I find their story far more interesting than Edward and Bella’s, both of whom have a tendency to act stupidly… plus Alice is hot) that I personally would have liked to have seen, there isn’t much left out that is important, except perhaps the Alaska clan of ‘vegetarian’ vampires, which doesn’t really become important till the forth part.
So what isn’t so good? The cinamatagrophy, which is usually good throughout, is iffy in a few scenes, the score and soundtrack aren’t nearly as inspired as Twilight’s, coming across as merely competent. There is an addition to the ‘cliff’ scene that acts as turning point that is fairly ludicrous and unnecessary, and the otherwise good CGI on the wolves has some scale issues. (I.E. the plants and trees being too large next to the wolves when compared with a human) The ending is also rather obnoxious, ending a bit before the end of the book, cutting in the middle of an important question in fact. These are fairly small complaints though, and as long as you aren’t expecting high cinema you should be entertained.
Oh, I almost forgot, there was one scene that actually had the audience laughing it was so bad. It is the brief vignette of one of Alice’s visions (obviously I’m not going to say what to avoid spoiling it) that is crucial to the plot. It’s bad, really bad.
To understand how bad remember this. The audience as a whole laughed at it. This is the same audience I have dubbed the “Worse audience EVER” made up 70% of teenage girls/twenty somethings, 20% women over 30, and 10% guys like me, mostly there because of family members of some kind. They screamed at everything. They screamed hysterically when the first trailer began. They screamed through the entire title screen. (Which lasted WAY too long, a slow reveal of the text as the moon slowly darkened) They screamed every time Edward and/or a shirtless Quileute showed up. At times I couldn’t even hear what was going on they were so bad. If there was any group more willing to forgive faults in a film I don’t want to meet them.
So, in the end, is it worth seeing, assuming you didn’t hate Twilight? Yes, I’d definitely say it is. Overall it improves on its predecessor, and it certainly is better than most of the other movies currently out. New Moon is an entertaining romp of romantic fancy with enough action to keep the guys happy. It’s not high art, but then, high art is rarely fun.
One caveat though. I’d recommend avoiding the opening week or so, if only to avoid the rabid, obsessed, and often loud fans, assuming they haven’t already sold out all the showings in your area already anyway.
One last note for parents. There are several scenes involving bodily dismemberment, and off-screen violence against a group including children. They are very creepy, disturbing, (and effective) scenes that might be too strong for the younger kids. It isn’t pervasive and is fairly short each time, but still, go forewarned.
And to think, we get to go through all this again in June when Eclipse hits theaters. Sigh.
Ah, as I promised to make this clear, I must point out that while my sister-in-law and mother are both fans of the twilight saga, neither falls into the screaming fan category. Thankfully I was able to watch the film with screams coming in from all around me but not in my ear.
[tags]New Moon, Twilight, Stephanie Meyer, Kristen Stewart, Vampire