With more sparkling, more super speed running, and of course more romance, “Twilight: New Moon” offers up piles of deliciously guilty pleasures for the teen and adult fan of monster movies and love stories alike. This second installment of the “Twilight” series includes the characters fans love from the first film and serves them up in a more sophisticated package; including better visual effects, and an expansion of the story of Edward and Bella. Although the “Twilight” films don’t go much deeper than Edward’s hair gel, they are fun and can be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan vampires, and young romance stories.
Introduced to teen Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) and teen vampire Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) in the first film of the” Twilight” series, we return again to these characters to see how the romance between a mortal and a vampire has been fairing. This time around there is a more seasoned director at the helm – Chris Weitz (“About a Boy,” “The Golden Compass”), and a significantly bigger budget to work with. There are also additions to the monster repertoire with the new moon bringing werewolves to join the “Twilight” pack of characters. The phenomenon that was “Twilight,” continues to grow with an overall better production, including special effects, and some improvement on the acting chops of Stewart and Pattinson.
The first film “Twilight” tells the story of a high school junior named Bella Swan relocating to the town of Forks, Washington to live with her father. When she falls for a mysterious guy in school, she realizes she is really entangled in a love affair with a vampire and his surrogate family. Thankfully, they are ‘vegetarian’ vampires who only consume animals, and pride themselves on protecting, instead of hurting humans. The love that grows between Bella and Edward is the real selling point of this movie, and what the audience craves to see the growth of. The story continues in “Twilight: New Moon” with Bella’s anxiety over her realization that if she stays with Edward, she will age and he will stay eternally 17, separating them forever. Her incessant nagging for Edward to change her into a vampire causes a rift in their relationship and he eventually leaves.
During the course of the separation between Bella and Edward, Jacob Black (played by Taylor Lautner), steps in and provides comfort and friendship to his life-long friend. In “Twilight” Jacob’s role is minor, but in this second film he has substantial screen time. Jacob is incredibly likeable as a character; probably the friendliest werewolf ever to appear on-screen, and will make the teen girls squeal, as he and his wolf pack buddies walk around shirtless for more than half of the film. Quite predictably, Bella’s bizarre habit of picking up all forms of mythological monsters as prom dates has caused some tension in her life as well as theirs. It does make for some fun scenes though; after all, most girls would kill to have vampires and werewolves fighting to the death for her affection.
Protecting and fighting for Bella’s affection leads to some of the craftier scenes of “Twilight: New Moon.” The fight scenes between the vampires and werewolves look quite good and the wolves were created with unique faces and bodies. Despite the commonality of these characters in other movies, here they are stand-out and memorable. The computer graphics are not disappointing or cheesy, and are used minimally enough to not be bothersome. As a whole, the effects flesh out the story of the werewolves and bring that part of the story to life for this film in an effective way.
In spite of this, some issues with the film are continued from the first installment, such as the use of music in a queued up and predictable way, as well as the choice of tone in music which is mismatched with the action in the scenes. For instance, playing a mellow indie rock song during an action scene is just awkward and ill-fitting to the visual. Also, the shift in story is a bit jarring, as one minute we are following the story of the werewolves and the next minute Bella is chasing down Edward in Italy. This could have been smoothed out a little more fluidly, but it doesn’t make the film difficult to watch or hard to follow. The end result is that despite the few technical qualms with the film, there couldn’t have been a better film adaptation for this story, and it will be an enjoyable watch for existing fans and surprising fun for new audiences.
Stephanie Meyers probably didn’t realize when she penned the Twilight series that it would become the theatrical phenomenon that it has, but her story really lends itself to a fun visual interpretation that combines the always loved monster with the forbidden romance story. Teens and adults with a sense of fun and connection to their younger years can thoroughly enjoy what the story dishes out in a light handed way. “Twilight: New Moon” may not be film as art, but it definitely brings the fun of Meyer’s world of glistening vampires to the big screen.