SPOILER ALERT!!!! Stop now if you don’t want to know!
I’ve had to remind myself more than once that this movie is a sequel. It felt so different from its predecessor that to call it a different animal isn’t going far enough. It’s an entirely different species (wink, wink). Not that there isn’t continuity, because there is.
Obviously Twilight’s overwhelming success allowed for a much bigger budget this time around. And while it wasn’t perfect, the bank wasn’t the only party to bring the A game.
There were things I loved about New Moon both in comparison to the book and as a movie standing alone. To say I was pleasantly surprised at Kristen’s portrayal of Bella in New Moon would be the understatement of the year. Almost all of the cringe inducing moments in Twilight were solely to do with her not quite getting it. So, considering how bad it could have been I was quite impressed. Especially through the torture she experiences when Edward leaves. Very well done.
The music editors also did an incredible job choosing just the right songs for the right moments. I did have some favorites though. Bella’s painful gut wrenching was beautifully enhanced with Satellite Heart by Anya Marina and Possibility by Lykke Li. And Thom Yorke’s Hearing Damage added just the right amount of escalated intensity to the hunt for Victoria and Bella’s walk to the cliffs. The big disappointment in the music department was the score. It lacked all of the desperation that should have accompanied Bella’s run through the square and the sweeping crescendo expected when she made it just in time.
Portions of the book that could have been very difficult to express on film were also handled with a care that I wasn’t expecting. The passing of time between Edward’s departure and her first hallucination of him was beautifully done with a swooping and spinning camera watching her stare vacantly out the window (though sitting in the 2nd row it did make me a bit dizzy). And I felt that using undeliverable emails to Alice as a way for Bella to vocalize her thoughts and feelings was pretty clever as most of those feeling needed to be expressed (the hole punched in her chest as an example). I was also surprised at how much more likable Jacob was in the movie as opposed to the book. And I SWEAR it had nothing to do with his rockin bod. Cross my heart!
If I was going to be really picky I would say that some conversations that should have been savored felt rushed while others that should have moved the story along seemed to drag a bit. My two biggest points of contention however, are with the way some of the Volturi sequences were handled. I find it hard to believe that a mind reader would allow himself to take such an ass beating regardless of his opponent’s considerable size advantage (Edward and Felix). And I absolutely could not stop my eyes from rolling at Edward and the vampire Bella running though the woods in Alice’s vision of the future. That could have been done with a lot less cheese.
Overall, it was a really great experience, hugely boosted by my movie companions! I can’t wait to see if I still feel the same about all of it after the second time around.