Warning: I love to hate the Twilight saga.
Rob Pattinson still plays Edward as if he is constantly constipated. That furrowed brow and those pursed lips aren't doing you any favors in the Sexy Department, Rob.
Kristen Stewart still mumbled through many of her lines, but did show a wider emotional range this time around. Her screaming during Bella's nightmares even made me a bit worried about the character.
Taylor Lautner and the rest of the pack gave solid performances. They definitely had the close friends/wolf pack vibe going on since they could go from vicious in one scene to carefree in the next.
Ashley Greene as Alice was perky and cute in the first half, but lacked the emotion she should have felt when dealing with a life or death situation. She didn't seem liked she cared much about what was going on.
All of the Volturi were smooth operators with the exception of Dakota Fanning. They should have found an age appropriate actress for Jane because Dakota looked ridiculous in that short cloak and she delivered her lines with a blandness that did not hint at a the deeply disturbed and evil character Jane is.
The Special Effects
The werewolf scenes were amazing. I was worried the werewolves would be the size of normal wolves and look to much like anime drawings, but the special effects team did not disappoint. Wolves bigger than people and growls that shook the theater were met with many cheers from the crowd.
As for the floating head of Edward Cullen, a friend of mine put it best: People in the future are going to laugh at us for how dumb that looked.
The fights with the Volturi were somewhat of a let down after the wolf scenes. Pale people fighting at super speed (in slow motion) isn't anything new. At least the make-up department was skilled enough this time around to hide where the pale make-up ends and real skin color begins.
Staying true to the book
I read New Moon over a year ago, and from what I remember the movie is a decent interpretation. It does end at a different point than the book does, but the moment is so full of tension that the filmmakers really leave fans wanting more.
Sadly, they can't change too much about the book. Bella is still a young woman who can't live without a man to support her. Her biggest improvement was when she told Edward to shut up! I almost jumped out of my seat in delight.
Two things that were in the book, but blissfully absent from the movie:
1. Long hair = long fur. This never made sense to me because the wolves do not all have black fur, and the fur sprouts from all over their bodies, not just their heads.
2. Imprinting. I think this concept was introduced in New Moon. I'm just happy I didn't have to listen to it this time around because promising young girls to older men is disgusting.
I was with a very enthusiastic crowd of girls, and a few guys, who were all screaming when cute boys appeared on screen, and chanting "Team Edward!" "Team Jacob!" throughout the movie. Not to an annoying point, but to a point that had me laughing and enjoying the movie experience more.
On a final thought, I've been obsessed with Little Red Riding Hood (more than I usually am) for the past few months so all of the themes about being alone in the woods where wolves are roaming, and young women growing old left a haunting impression on me. I suggest keeping the tale in mind when you watch New Moon.