Director: Chris Weitz
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Rachelle Lefevre, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning
The second of the Twilight series brings Bella Swans’ (Stewart) eighteenth birthday and a party from her love, vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and his ‘family’. However, the celebration doesn’t last long as Bella accidently cuts herself on one of the presents wrapping paper and Edward’s ‘brother’ Jasper (Rathbourne) attacks her, unable to resist the blood. The thought that Bella could be hurt causes Edward to leave her and move away. “This is the last time you will ever see me” he tells her but she comes to find this isn’t true; every time she has an adrenaline rush she sees a kind of vision of him telling her to stop being reckless. And so Bella starts looking for more rushes which leads her to old friend Jacob Black (Lautner) as they fix up old motorbikes. Their friendship becomes intense with Jacob filling the hole that Edward left but things suddenly change when Jacob starts keeping secrets and avoiding her. But Bella soon finds out his secret; he is a werewolf … and werewolves hunt vampires. This comes in handy however as Bella is being hunted by vampire Victoria (Lefevre) who wants revenge for the death of her partner and so with the absence of the Cullens’ it is up to Jacob and the wolf pack to protect her.
However, none of this stops Bella from wanting to see her visions of Edward and so she tries the ultimate adrenaline rush – cliff jumping. Unfortunately Edward’s ‘sister’ Alice (Greene) who can see the future, sees this in a vision and assumes Bella has killed herself and is dead. Upon hearing this Edward decides to destroy himself (no easy feat for a vampire) and so goes to Italy to show himself to the humans so that the vampire law-keepers, the Volturi, will do it for him. Bella and Alice must now race to stop him before it’s too late…
It is often the case that a sequel is never quite as good as the first and unfortunately it is no different here. A change in director has left obvious changes to the film including style and costume. Weitz apparently edited the film whilst commuting in the back of a car and you can tell. The shots and angles just don’t capture the same magic as in Twilight and the script creates laughs and sighs rather than romance and love.
However, Weitz has focused on the love story rather than trying to create unnecessary action which is relieving. The imagery and colours he has captured are beautiful and certain scenes, such as the Italian festival, the Volturi encounter and the wolf cabins are perfect. The wolves themselves would perhaps have benefited more from an An American Werewolf in London style rather than CGI but they are nevertheless intimidating and lovable.
It is unfortunate that New Moon is unable to create the feelings of love, loss and friendship that it should but fans of the books will be happy that is sticks to the story. As a film on its own it is perfectly enjoyable with just the right amount of action and laughs but somehow it just doesn’t create the magic that made Twilight so successful.