Twilight Saga: New Moon

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Dealing with vampires and werewolves, "Twilight Saga: New Moon," the second chapter in Stephenie Meyer’s successful book and now film series, tells a more complex if also convoluted romantic story than the first one. 
 
 
In this segment, directed by Chris Weitz, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) decides to test fate for a feeling or a glimpse of her vampire love, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). However, going deeper into the mysteries of the supernatural world, in which she's eager to participate, Bella discovers some ancient secrets that put her at great peril.
For those who need a reminder: Based on Stephenie Meyer’s New York Times best-selling series, with over 5.5 million books in print, "Twilight" became a socio-cultural phenom with a dedicated fan base. There are more than 100 fan sites devoted to "Twilight," which has been selected as the New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, Amazon’s Best Book of the Decade so far, Teen People’s Hot List Pick, The American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and Top Ten Books for Reluctant Readers. The book has been translated into more than 20 languages.
"Twilight," the first film based on Meyer’s series, which was released in November 2008, became an instant success. The film adaptation of the unlikely romance between a sensitive high school girl and a century-old vampire brought in over $70 million on its opening weekend, eventually grossing more than $350 million worldwide. The success paved the way for the screen version of the next installment, "Twilight Saga: New Moon."
Like the first film, "New Moon" is a feature made primarily for the target audiences, for the global fans of the series. Like "Twilight," it will divide film critics, and like its predecessor, the picture may be critics-proof.  Calculated to a fault, "Twilight" proved, if nothing else, that it knows how to reach its most immediate and crucial audiences. 
The appearance in a major role of the sexy Taylor Lautner, who's becoming a celeb among youths for many reasons, no doubt should help the commercial prospects of the new film. And the chemistry (read erotic tension) between Lautner and Stewart is strong, perhaps even stronger than between her and Pattinson.
 
The screenplay revolves around an enigma. In an effort to protect her, Edward decides to leave Bella just after her 18th birthday. He thinks he’s helping her by ending the relationship, failing to realize the torment and the angst involved in such a break-up.  The split is depicted in ways that is bound to touch any youngster who has gone through the experience.
 
But the timing could not have been worse. Heartbroken, Bella sleepwalks through her senior year at school. She feels numb and alone–until she realizes that she can summon Edward’s image whenever she's in danger, thus summoning another fantasy shared by youth. 
Upping the ante, "New Moon" explores the nature and limits of desire of a curious girl, willing to take greater risks, including high-speed motorcycle jaunts. Girls and boys will get a kick out of watching the motorcycle sequences. With the help of Jacob Black (Lautner), her childhood friend and member of the mysterious Quileute tribe, Bella refurbishes a motorbike for her adventures. In the process, Bella gets to know Jacob, who has a supernatural secret of his own. When Bella wanders alone into a meadow, she encounters a deadly attacker, and it takes wolves to save her from what looks like a grisly fate.
 
Director Chris Weitz has previously adapted other books for the screen, successfully with "About a Boy" and unsuccessfully (or semi-successfully) with "The Golden Compass." Weitz may not be the best choice for this kind of text. However, to be fair, he had to operate within some constraints, the public's familiarity with the source material, the visual style of the first film, and, of course, the casting.
 
Visually and technically, "New Moon" is not a better picture than "Twilight," but it has a more interesting story to tell since it involves a triangle. Moreover, as preposterous as it is, this saga is about primitive secrets, such as those of the Quileute tribe, and revelations, such as Edward’s real motivation for leaving Bella, which dominate the second half of the tale. 
 
Central to the new story is the growing friendship between Bella and Jacob Black, a werewolf and natural enemy of the vampires. The stakes gets higher, as now it’s not just Bella’s existence that’s in danger, but Edward’s existence as well. By the end, all three protags have learned some life lessons.  Bella grows up more rapidly than she had anticipated or wished for, and Edward is humbled by the realization that knowledge is deficient, that he doesn’t know everything (as he had pretended or wanted to believe in.
 
Digging deeper into Bella’s life as her worlds-the social-physical but also fantasy one–expand, the movie unfolds as a series of discoveries about the people of Forks, the Quileutes, and Jacob and his buddies, who, among other skills, have the ability to turn into wolves. 
 
The best thing you can say about "New Moon" is that, unlike most sequels, it's not a rehash of the first picture. Like the book it's based upon, the film takes Bella and Edward’s fledging relationship to more intense and dangerous levels, and reveals a haunting conflict, the rivalry between the Quileute tribe and the vampires, played out between Jacob and Edward.
 
Fans of Pattinson will be disappointed by his smaller part, and the fact that he largely appears in apparitions, which make his paleness and monotonous delivery of lines all the more apparent.  However, as a screen presence, Taylor Lautner is far more interesting, and his sequences with Kristen Stewart generate the requisite tension and heat.
"New Moon" offers new areas and corners of mythology, and while mixing elements of the vampire mythology with those of werewolves (which has been done before) is not always successful, the effort brings new dimensions to the yarn.
As could be expected, "New Moon" includes a number of acts and scenes that hint and serve as preparation for the third screen chapter in the four-segment book series.
Cast
Bella Swan – Kristen Stewart
Edward Cullen – Robert Pattinson
Jacob Black – Taylor Lautner
Alice Cullen – Ashley Greene
Victoria – Rachelle Lefevre
Charlie Swan – Billy Burke
Dr. Carlisle Cullen – Peter Facinelli
Rosalie Hale – Nikki Reed
Emmett Cullen – Kellan Lutz
Jasper Hale – Jackson Rathbone
Jessica – Anna Kendrick
Aro – Michael Sheen
Jane – Dakota Fanning
 
Credits
A Summit Entertainment release of a Temple Hill production in association with Imprint Entertainment and Sunswept Entertainment.
Produced by Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt.
Executive producers, Marty Bowen, Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary.
Co-producer, Bill Bannerman.
Directed by Chris Weitz.
Screenplay, Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel "New Moon" by Stephenie Meyer.
Camera, Javier Aguirresarobe.
Editor, Peter Lambert.
Music, Alexandre Desplat; music supervisor, Alexandra Patsavas.
Production designer, David Brisbin.
Art director, Catherine Ircha.
Set designers, Geoff Wallace, Peter Ochotta; set decorator, Lesley Beale.
Costume designer, Tish Monaghan.
Sound, Darren Brisker; supervising sound editor, Scott Hecker; re-recording mixers, Andy Koyama, Chris Carpenter.
Visual effects supervisors, Phil Tippett, Matt Jacobs.
Stunt coordinator, J.J. Makaro; fight choreographer, Mike Desabrais.
Line producer, Guido Cerasuolo.
Associate producer, David Roker.
Assistant director, Mike Topoozian.
Second unit director, Phil Neilson.
Casting, Joseph Middleton. 
 
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
  Running time: 129 Minutes.