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The Twilight Saga: New Moon

CoverThe first film in the Twilight saga was a mixed bag. It was filmed before the series gathered the hype that it has, so the overall anticipation was dooming it to fail. It certainly didn’t help that the movie was not very well put together. The direction was questionable, the characters seemed to lack any joy whatsoever, and even though there were very minor deviations from the book (they ate in a diner instead of at home) the film was a literal adaptation of the novel. So much so that it lost a lot in the transition, which adds credence to the old rule, Just because it works on paper doesn’t mean it works on screen." It was also filmed in a blue hue that really made the whole thing cold and uncomfortable.

The only saving grace that could be gleaned was that the actors cast were absolutely perfect. Each actor accurately embodied their character. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (Bella and Edward respectively) are iconic as their literary companions, as are the actors who filled out the Cullens and now the Quileute. 

With New Moon, everything wrong with its predecessor appears to be fixed. The director was replaced by Chris Weitz (who also directed The Golden Compass, an imperfect but enjoyable film), and the story was treated with expert precision. Oh, and they got rid of that awful blue tint.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon explores Bella and Edward’s relationship by doing the only thing it can do, by having them break up. In doing so they learn just how necessary they are too each other as it literally pains them to be apart. Though Bella is devastated by her loss, she throws herself into the comfort of Jacob Black, a member of the local Indian tribe who is also not quite as he seems.  Unfortunately, Jacob has very strong feelings for Bella, but she can’t reciprocate as she is still very much in love with Edward and only views Jacob has a friend. 

In the end, a simple misunderstanding leads Edward to believe Bella dead and he feels he must end his own life. Bella, very much alive, has to travel half way around the world to try to save him before it’s too late.

Separating Bella and Edward is a necessary evil, as you can’t really understand how important their relationship is until they aren’t together anymore. Even though the story is entirely Bella-centric, visions of Edward still haunt her, especially whenever she does something that could involve her getting hurt (like riding motorcycles). Bella indulges her own daredevil self quite often just to get one of these visions.

Her relationship with Jacob is another strong point in the film and a major one for fans of the series.  Bella finds strong support in Jacob while dealing with the absence of Edward. Jacob, however, has such strong feelings for Bella, he is unable to keep them to himself. Jacob is certainly the Yin to Edwards Yang. He is literally hot (his body temp is 108 degrees), he doesn’t have much money, and he can turn into a very large werewolf. And while his tribe is at war with the vampires, they have an uneasy truce with the Cullens.

This time around, the translation from book to film is done with sculptor's hands. Changes were made to keep the film thematically interesting, but still staying true to the story and the characters. The actors are also given clearer direction, which makes for an overall much more enjoyable acting piece.

The book is a very tough read because it is all about Bella’s introspection and depression regarding Edward. This aspect weighed down the book heavily and thus it is the black sheep for the Twilight Series. Luckily, while the film does touch on this theme, it isn’t mired with the loathing and torture that the book is.

Also, while Jacob does have a big following among fans, he is very annoying in the books. He comes off as arrogant and whiny and just doesn’t know when to let go (an affliction all the characters share truthfully). The best thing about Taylor Lautner’s performance is that he imbued the role with such charm that he becomes a likable and sympathetic character whom you root for, regardless if you’re on “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.”

New Moon was adapted just about as perfectly as you can adapt that book into a film. If you’re one of the folks who have passed judgment on the series, the film will do little to change your mind.  And even though being familiar with the Twilight isn’t required, it’s necessary truly to understand the story.

If you’re a Twilight fan who is holding out until the throng of preening teenage girls have thinned before going to the theater, you do owe yourself a trip to the cinema as soon as you can. 

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