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“The Twilight Saga: New Moon”{Blu-ray} - (Devan)
Reviewer:
Devan Klein
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
3/23/10
Special Features:

Commentary track with director Chris Weitz and Peter Lambet, six part behind-the-scenes documentary, music videos, band-rehearsal footage

Review:

The Twilight Saga continues with “New Moon” and like our own “new moon”, it’s just the old moon seen in a slightly different light. Most teenage girls (and some adult women)find themselves either rooting for Edward (the brooding vampire that dominates this series) or Jacob (the werewolf)to end up with Bella Swan the girl caught in a love triangle. I find it a bit ironic that there are many people of a religious persuasion to fly to these films like a bat out of hell; you’d think that vampires and werewolves both continuing players in supernatural films often associated with the Prince of Darkness would put them off but writer Stephanie Meyer has emasculated these popular myths to such a degree that they could be put into a children’s book without fear of “corrupting” them. ***

Make no mistake I’m a fan of Meyer’s books (it’s for the bodice ripping romantic element as much as the supernatural element)but even I recognize the degree to which Meyer has neutered these popular myths in an attempt to appeal to the female “Harry Potter” fans that have grown beyond those books. ***

All of that said the principle sin of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is that it’s TOO faithful to the books. Fidelity can damage a film if it becomes too literal; the resulting film often seems like it’s a dry visual version of the book losing anything remotely cinematic and, thus, interesting in the process. I’ve been told that there was one film director who once stated the best way to adapt a book is to throw everything out but the themes and characters and that’s probably true because then the movie can find its own way. While I’m not in favor of going to that extreme, I am in favor of using cinematic shortcuts to tell the same story because we don’t need every sigh or line of dialogue in the film. For example, the first “Harry Potter” films directed by Chris Columbus were partially hobbled by their fidelity to the books and the same can also be said for the second film in the “Twilight Saga”. ***

The plot? Well there isn’t much here except in the last act of the film. Bella (Kristen Stewart) wants Edward (Robert Pattinson)to turn her into a vampire (metaphor for loss of virginity anyone?) so they can spend eternity together. Edward resists her temptation and his own blood lust. During Bella’s birthday she finds out that most vampires aren’t as nice as Edward and would kill her just for the sake of, well, blood lust (metaphor for rape anyone?). Jasper a fellow vampire who isn’t quite as nice and doesn’t have as much self control goes into a frenzy and almost “does her” when she accidently cuts her finger. After this incident Edward leaves her disappearing without a trace to “protect her”. ***

After wallowing in self pity for a while Bella discovers a strong bond with Jacob Black (Taylor Launter best remembered for “Lava Girl and Shark Boy”—man has he grown!:)). When a vampire comes a-callin’ she discovers that Jacob is far more than a nice boy with a killer bod—he’s a werewolf! ***

“New Moon” has its moments and the action packed first half (surprisingly not a lot really happens in that first half despite my description above)focuses much more on romance, rejection and brooding. Edward is conspicuous by his absence in a lot of the film. The director does the best with the material that he can—this is probably the least involving of the “Twilight” books and, quite honestly, my least favorite of the series. *** Don’t get me wrong fans of “New Moon” will enjoy the film as well it’s just that this is probably the most anemic book of the series in my opinion and the film doesn’t do itself any favors by remaining as faithful as possible to the source material. ---

Image & Sound:

“New Moon” looks marvelous with a sharp, colorful transfer that nicely captures all of the detail from the shimmery pale hairless body of Edward to the very hairy werewolf body of Jacob. It’s clear they were running up against budget issues because while the CGI looks quite nice, on the Blu-ray it’s even more noticeable that it is less than perfect CGI. ***

The lossless soundtrack sounds terrific as well. ---

Special Features:

We don’t get as much as I had hoped in terms of extras but fans of these films aren’t likely to really complain; women are less likely to spent time focusing on special features that’s more of an area that interests guys. ***

We get a commentary by director Chris Weitz (who fumbled another popular series—“The Golden Compass” which, sadly, is NEVER going to see the remaining books of the HIS DARK MATERIALS series adapted)which is quite informative. We also get a number of solid featuretes including “Life After Twilight” and the longest “A Look into the Production” running at 30 minutes. The remainder of the featurettes include: a six part behind-the-scenes documentary; band-rehearsal footage with Muse; music videos from Death Cab for Cutie, Anya Marina, and Mute Math. ---

Final Words:

“New Moon” is much like the new moon we get as part of the lunar cycle; it may look new but it’s nothing more than a repackaging of stuff we’ve seen and heard before. Fans will enjoy the film although I suspect we’ll see a double dip down the road because of the lack of additional special features.

 

 
 
 
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