Twilight New Moon
This is your audience on Twilight: New Moon.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/20/2009
Director: Chris Weitz
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Graham Greene

If you read my review for “Twilight“, then you know that I understand the futility of reviewing these films. For some reason, I do it anyway. I guess I am just a glutton for punishment.

If you don’t know the story (and really, why read the review if you aren’t a fan?), here’s the lowdown. The relationship between Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) hits a rough patch when, at Bella’s 18th birthday party, Edward is reminded of the risk he and his family pose to her safety. The entire vampire clan takes off, leaving Bella to wallow (I mean, seriously wallow) in self-pity and misery. In an attempt to alleviate her pain, she goes down to the local reservation to visit Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), her childhood friend. As her relationship with Jacob grows, she realizes that he has secrets, too. As she tries to put her life back together, Bella must come to grips with what Jacob is, and the choices she must make if Edward ever comes back…

So, I was not a fan of the first movie. I felt that they cut way too much of the character development from the book. The acting was bad, the effects were awful, and it was generally just a mess that could only be enjoyed by rabid fans of the book.

This one is a bit better. The acting is still bad- perhaps worse due to the fact that the lion’s share of the work is shouldered by Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner. I swear all of their acting talent combined make one decent actor. Maybe. Billy Burke and Graham Greene are really the veteran actors in the movie, and they aren’t given much to do. Michael Sheen is good, but his role is so quirky that it doesn’t carry much weight. Cameos by Dakota Fanning and Cameron Bright are dull, and perhaps the best vamp of them all- Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria- just runs around a lot. And they are replacing her in the next film.

Sigh.

The special effects are a little better. The ridiculous wirework is gone, replaced by a slightly less annoying blur effect when the vampires run. The werewolf CG isn’t great, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen, either. The locations are pretty, but the cinematography is only so-so.

The area that seems most improved is the storyline editing. A great many of the patrons I talked to after the screening were bored, and at two hours plus, it was a long movie. But the book was long-winded and boring too. It had less action than the other three, and a lot of whiny self-indulgence. As far as I’m concerned, the cuts they made for time were generally well-chosen, and made for a tighter film. The film also seemed a bit more cohesive and easier to follow for those that didn’t read the book this time. Although if you didn’t read the book, why would you be at this film?

All in all, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is a very middle of the road film, hence the 3 out of 5. It’s not the best movie of the year, but it’s not the worst, either. It reminds me of a time over the summer when I received a relatively sub-par massage. When asked how it went, I replied, “It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it was the best she could do.” That pretty much sums up this movie experience as well.

So if you love the books and already paid to see the first film, go ahead and see this one. You know you want to, and you could do worse.

I know it’s not a very encouraging review, but it’s the best I could do.