Re: I've Seen New Moon! (Spoiler Alert)
Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:44 am
After finally rereading the Book and seeing the film 5 times, here is my rather long review/analysis of New Moon. What do you think?
One of the things I was curious about was how accurate an adaption this movie would be.
Chapter by Chapter
Voice-over narration- by Kristen is right from the book (quoted from Romeo and Juliet)-so far so good.
Dream sequence- was altered for the movie in that it did not take place in the meadow in the Book. I thought having it here was very effective and improved on the Book. I think this scene was done very well; it was beautiful and eerie, just like a good dream should be. And how the old woman mimicked Bella was well done, just like described in the book. The musical score in this scene is also set the mood very well.
In Bella’s Room after Dream-When Bella wakes up, if you look closely you can see that the cover art on her copy of “Romeo and Juliet” shows the St. Marcus Day festival at Volterra. A nice “Easter egg” (the kind that made “Twilight” so fun to watch over and over) and example of foreshadowing. Also in this scene if you look closely are two pictures of Bella and Edward-one is inside the large framed flower above her bed on the left side, the other is on the wall 90o from the mirror we saw in the dream sequence. Loved the joke about Bella’s gray hair.
School Parking Lot Scene-Changed significantly from Book. In the Book, Alice invites Bella to the party in this scene, and Jacob doesn’t make appearance here. I liked this scene as done, however. We get a great kiss between Bella and Edward where Kristen shows how Bella reacts to Edwards kisses (i.e. she gets faint, loses breath). Also, it is evident that Mike and Jessica are still together since he has his arm around her (the Book starts out with them broken up already). The banter when Bella is going to take her school friends picture is the type that Melissa is very good at. Team Edward members will probably disagree, but I like the part of Jacob giving Bella the dream catcher, and framing Edward in the distance with the dream catcher was a nice touch I think (another example of foreshadowing). Also interesting is that in the Book, Mike is described as having lost weight, with a “thinner face”; unfortunately, actor Mike Welch appears to have actually gained weight since “Twilight”. Finally, we all know the lame reason Edward’s car is no longer silver, thank you corporate America!
School hallway scene-I actually like that Alice’s invitation was moved to this scene inside the school. We get to see her “dancer’s dexterity” leap frogging over the railing, and a funny line by Jasper. In the dialogue in this scene, we get the first example in this movie of Bella’s “inferiority complex” with respect to Edward-after he asks her why he doesn’t get to give her a gift, she replies “because I have nothing to give in return”. We also get mention of Jasper’s power (I wonder if this was included because it was neglected in “Twilight”?), and the fact that Bella is susceptible to it.
Classroom Romeo and Juliet scene-In the Book, Edward and Bella actually watch the movie at Charlie’s and the discussion of the Volturi takes place there. Another very funny moment with the classmates showing there reactions to R&J movie. Also, another instance of Bella’s “inferiority complex” when, after Edward says he envies Romeo, Bella says something to the effect “you would like that sort of thing, beauty, the perfect girl.”
Party scene at Cullens-Before the party starts, a very clever scene showing a painting of the Volturi coming to life as Edward explains who they are. There’s a nice bit of intimate dialogue between Edward and Bella here. During the gift giving, some changes from the Book; in the Book Rosalie doesn’t give Bella a necklace and Emmet goes off to install the truck stereo. When Bella gets thrown, she actually falls by the piano in the Book, in the movie, Jasper gets thrown into the piano. When Bella is shown to be bleeding, you can hear the vampires hissing. Also, it is actually Esme in the Book who apologizes prior to leaving, not Alice (who leaves quietly once Carlisle starts treating Bella).
Stitching scene- Rumor has that Melissa did not originally write this scene into the movie, but only did at Chris’s insistence-good call Chris. Really liked the whole discussion of whether vampires are damned, lost souls; thought this was important for understanding the Edward/Bella dynamic. Another “Easter egg” in this scene is that the burning, bloody bandages in the bowl are arranged to look like the New Moon book cover art.
Outside Charlie’s after party-the kiss Bella asks for actually takes place in her room in the Book. The kiss is a pretty good one too. When I watched this scene the first time I noticed Edwards reaction was a little different. This was great acting on Robert’s part, as the book describes Bella as perceiving the kiss to be the same kind as in Twilight (the Book at least) when Edward said goodbye. That was the impression I got too watching Robert, that Edward knew already it was a goodbye kiss. This is one part where the movie made a change/omission I really didn’t like. In the Book, after returning from the party, Bella and Edward spend time in her room (indeed Edward spends the night) and Bella opens the rest of her presents. The movie did not show Bella receiving and playing the CD with her lullaby on it, I was very disappointed in that. At least Bella and Edward say “I love you” in this scene.
Photo album/school scene-We see Bella folding herself out of the picture with Edward which she puts on her photo album, another example of Bella’s “inferiority complex”, just like in the Book. The song from the Soundtrack that plays during this and the scene where Bella notices the Cullen’s missing from school is one of the best from the Soundtrack album (at least in so far as affecting the film), you just know something bad is going to happen.
Bella/Edward breakup scene-When Bella gets home in the Book, Charlie and Edward are actually watching ESPN together, and Bella actually takes pictures of Edward there and makes up her photo album, so the movie was slightly out of order. There are actually a couple of days time in the Book for Bella to stew about Edwards changed behavior. In the movie, I liked how Kristen played Bella when she saw Edward standing by the house, a little smile of hope/recognition and then a change to one of confusion/fear; it increased the impact of what Bella was feeling. The actual breakup scene in the forest didn’t disappoint, definitely a high point of the movie, very heart wrenching as it needed to be. Kristen and Rob were terrific, Kristen showing Bella’s desperation and sorrow, and Rob showing Edward fighting to lie to Bella. The musical score in this scene is one of the best in the movie. Interestingly, another example of Bella’s “inferiority complex” is here, as after Edward says “you’re just not good for me” Bella says “I’m not good enough for you?”, which is not the same thing. After Bella falls down chasing after Edward, loved how the camera circles in on her, and you can hear her crying. There are a few omissions in the movie I didn’t like. In the book, when Bella is found, she mutters “he’s gone”, and no mention is made in the movie of the forged note Edward left for Charlie explaining that Bella went hiking nearby. And of course we don’t get to see Bella finding that the CD is missing.
Oct-Dec Scene-Very effectively done in my opinion. Gives a good sense of Bella’s descent. Loved also the scenes out of the window, trick or treaters in Oct., Charlie hopelessly raking leaves in Nov. (and someone coming up the walk with a turkey), and the snow and ice in Dec. with Charlie emerging from the woods with a Christmas tree. One of the best songs from the Soundtrack plays during this scene. As the camera pans around, you can see that the picture of Edward and Bella that was in the left side of the large frame above her bed is now missing.
Movie/motorcycle scene-In the Book, the zombie movie is called “Dead End”not “Dead Rise Again”. Loved Anna Kendrick as Jessica here, joking about why she didn’t like the movie. But this is a change from the book, wherein Jessica really was scared by the movie. When Bella goes to approach the men at the bar, you can hear Jessica in the background saying something about how Mike “just wants to be friends”, indicating they have now broken up. In the Book, Bella does not get on the guy’s motorcycle. Loved Jessica’s line about “winding up in some FBI room like a lame TV show”.
Taking motorcycles to Jacob's- Book describes Black’s house as being red, movie got it right. In the Book, the whole dialogue about age takes place when Bella and Jacob go to find parts for the motorcycles, this was switched to when they were fixing the bikes in the movie.
Fixing motorcycles-Several stuff from Book omitted, no big deal- Jake and Bella going to dump for parts (but see below), dinner at the Blacks, emails from Renee. When Bella said she didn’t listen to music anymore, the significance is lost because we didn’t see CD scene in movie, or Bella explaining to Jacob why the stereo is missing from her truck.
Motorcycle riding with Jacob-The film makers shot this very cleverly. When the camera is on Kristen’s face, you never actually see the wheels on the ground, I doubt she was actually ever driving the bike for real. One big omission from the Book is that Bella drives over to the Cullen’s house before this scene happens. Also, “Brakes, brakes” in the book is uttered by Bella to herself, not by Jake like in the movie. Also omitted is Jake taking Bella to the hospital, the “you’re sort of beautiful” dialogue takes place here in the Book. Lastly, the next scene in the Book of Jake trying to help Bella find the meadow is not in the movie.
School cafeteria scene-the school cafeteria scene is hilarious, again showing that Melissa has a great sense of humor. Loved the line from Jessica about how Eric “is just trying to get lucky” by professing belief that Angela saw a large bear, and Mike saying “Maybe you saw an alien, lucky you didn’t get probed”. For some reason, the phony movie titles were changed from the Book. In the Book they are “Crosshairs” and “Tomorrow and Forever”, in the movie they are “Face Punch” and “Love spelled backward is Love”. Either way, they sound pretty bad! Thought is was quite insensitive for Mike to ask Bella to the movie in front of Jessica.
Movie scene-In Book, Mike, Jake and Bella all go to movie in his VW rabbit (which Jacob mentioned fixing in the movie school parking lot scene). In the movie, its implied that Bella came with Mike, and they met Jacob. Shameless plug in the movie goes to Burger King; while waiting for Bella to buy his ticket, Jake has a burger in his hand and a Burger King bag is sitting prominently next to him. The scene in the theater lobby, where Bella admits to Jacob that she is essentially using him, is one of my favorite little scenes. Kristen is terrific in this scene, showing deep pathos effortlessly. And the dialogue is improved from the Book in my opinion. Also, in the Book, the three leave together, Jacob does not leave by himself like in movie.
Bella/Jacob “break up” scene-Deleted from the movie is Bella picking up Quil along the way to the Black’s and her conversation with him. Team Edward fanatics will protest, but it is a testament to Kristen and Taylor’s performance that this “breakup” scene is almost as heart wrenching as the Bella/Edward breakup scene. Both are terrific, and Taylor really ups his game in this scene. This is one of only two scenes in the movie where we actually see tears in Bella’s eye’s (more on this later). Interestingly, the order of this scene and meadow scene in the story is reversed from the Book. One thing the movie changed from the Book is that in the Book Edward appears to Bella here, not in the movie though. I agree with the change, it would have watered down the impact (of course Team Edward fanatics will probably disagree).
Meadow Scene-This scene is almost verbatim from the book and is done very well. Kristen displays Bella’s grief like a punch in the gut. There is one significant change from the Book-the meadow is described in the Book as still beautiful, with tall green grass but no wildflowers. In the movie it is just short dead grass. I like the movie version though, as it is a reinforcing metaphor for what Bella is going through.
Jake at Bella’s-I like Taylor’s performance in this scene, especially when Jacob tells Bella that he would run away with her if he could. Taylor gives a good rendition of resignation and sadness.
The dream about wolves Bella has later is like in the Book.
Bella confronts Jacob/other Wolfpack-One omission from the Book that really bugged me was the reason Bella went to visit Jacob. When I saw the movie the first time, I thought, hey, Bella has told her father about the wolves and he is going to hunt them, then when she finds out they are werewolves she never tries to warn the wolfpack. But in the Book she does warn Jacob. That should have been made clear in the movie. A lot of the dialogue from the walk on the beach is omitted from the movie. Some of the dialogue was inserted elsewhere and given to other characters (e.g., in Book it is Jake who tells Bella wolves can read each others minds, and also he is the one who says “you’re good with weird”, not Sam). Also, the confrontation with the wolfpack takes place where Bella rode the motorcycle in the Book, in the movie it is outside the Black’s. When Jacob phases in midair, nice effect of his clothes tearing to shreds just like the Book describes. In the Book, Bella does not strike Paul. In the Book, the bet is $10 on who wins the fight, in movie it is $5. The scar on Emily’s face is more horrifically described in Book; it is deep red and has affected her mouth. The movie toned it down. The kiss between Sam and Emily is as described in the Book.
Walk on Beach-Conspiratorial minded people may answer the question on whether some of the dialogue is a veiled reference to homosexuality, e.g., “It’s not a lifestyle choice Bella, I was born this way”, “Its not who you are, its what you do”. In the Book, in the aftermath of this scene, when Bella is back home, there is some thoughts of hers I wish could have been included in the movie (maybe voice over by Kristen)-that is that Bella pondered if she would stay with Edward if he was like other vampires (i.e. a killer), and she was forced to admit yes. I think this is a very significant aspect of Bella’s character that should have been revealed.
Hunt/Chase/Cliff diving scenes-Here a significant change from the Book and a good one. The Victoria chase scene is added by the movie, and the soundtrack song here is excellent. Loved how the chase scene is juxtaposed with Bella hiking to the cliffs. Cool how you can see Victoria in the distant background behind Harry. Having a crow flying above Victoria was a neat detail. Another addition to the movie is Bella seeing Victoria swim toward her; in the Book she doesn’t see Victoria (by her hair) until after being revived on the Beach.
At Charlie’s when Alice arrives-Big change from Book here. When Jake finds out Alice is back, he does not come back in the house like in the movie, he runs off. Also, Alice eyes are black in the Book because she needs to feed, in movie they are golden. This is also the only other scene where we actually see tears in Bella’s eyes. A lot in the Book was omitted here, like Alice going out to hunt for an hour, Charlie coming home and talking with Alice, Alice talking to Bella about her past, and Jacob actually calling to see if Bella is all right. In Book, Jacob actually comes over again much later. Also changed in the movie is that Jacob indicates that the phone call is from Edward, in the Book he tells Bella it was Carlisle. Another omission is that in the Book Bella writes a note to Charlie about going to Italy with Alice and that he can “ground her later”. In the movie we are left to wonder what the heck Charlie thought happened to her. Of course later in the movie Charlie delivers the line “you’re grounded for life”.
Plane ride to Italy-Totally omitted from the movie. In the Book, it is Alice who tells of the Volturi’s rules here, not Edward like early in the movie. Alice’s visions of Edward are on plane ride in Book, not in car driving to Volterra like in movie. One significant omission by not showing this scene is Bella asking Alice to change her on the plane, a sure disaster if it happened there.
Car Ride to Volterra-One interesting thing we see in this scene is that Alice can misinterpret her visions. After she sees Edward revealing himself, we also see a vision of Felix about to rip off Edward’s head, implying that he got the punishment he wanted. However, that scene is actually the scene after Edward was trying to save Bella.
Volterra-This scene met my expectations from the Book, suspenseful, well choreographed. The musical score is very good in this scene. The festival is portrayed in all its grandeur. When Bella runs up and grabs Edward, in the movie he says “heaven”. This is actually a change from the Book wherein Edward actually thinks he may be in hell because he can smell Bella even though he thinks he’s dead. Some of the dialogue after Bella and Edward step back through the doorway is actually in the subsequent scene in Bella’s room in the Book. The reunion here doesn’t disappoint, Kristen and Rob sizzle together here, and what a kiss. In this scene is another example of Bella’s “inferiority complex”, when she expresses shock at Edward wanting her because she is a human, a nothing. Edward’s eyes were supposed to be black in this scene, not gold.
Volturi scene-There are several interesting changes from the Book. First, Bella offers her life for Edward’s in the movie, I thought that was a nice addition, showing us Bella’s love for Edward. Second, the fight between Felix and Edward was not in the Book. I also liked this change, the quick movement effects were very good, and especially liked when Edward flipped Bella behind his back, showing protectiveness of her. One odd change from the Book is Jane’s appearance:
in the Book she is described as having pale brown hair and dark skin. This scene did cause some confusion for me though, and that is Edward’s attitude. When being led to the Volturi he tells Bella not to be afraid and that he isn’t. Then he makes this statement to Aro: “...Well, then get on with it”. Get on with what? What did he expect the Volturi to do about the situation. You would think if he thought they were about to harm Bella he would have tried anything to pre-empt it, Jane notwithstanding. The problem is that info in the Book is not conveyed by the movie, namely that it was not Aro’s intention to harm Bella, and Edward was surprised that Marcus said to kill her because no vampire law had been broken and other humans within their inner circle new of their nature. Lastly, that there were two small children amongst the tourist being led to slaughter made it even more horrifying.
Trip Back Home-In the Book there is a reunion scene at the airport with Bella and the Cullens. Rosalie’s apology takes place in the car ride back in the Book, not at the Vote like in the movie. Also, when they get Bella back to Charlie, he has it out with Edward; I wish they would have shown that.
In Bella’s Room-Scene from book was shortened considerably from the Book. Probably the greatest casualty in omission in my opinion. Two things to note: Melissa left out one of the iconic lines (thank you very much!) of Edward’s, namely, “When I told you that I didn’t want you, it was the very blackest kind of blasphemy”, just inexcusable. Also missing was revelation that Edward had indeed tried to track Victoria, the reason he was in South America.
The Vote scene-Again, this scene is much truncated from the Book version. Nikki Reed was good in delivering her lines voting down Bella.
Last confrontation scene-In the Book, the marriage proposal happens in Bella’s room before this scene happens, but then of course we wouldn’t of had a cliffhanger ending. Also, Jacob doesn’t change into a wolf in the Book here. I thought the image of Bella standing between a wolf Jake and Edward playing peacemaker was a bit silly looking. In the movie Bella and Edward are both wearing blue, just like they did in Twilight when their relationship became serious.
-Charlie (Billy Burke) continues to be a great character.
-There is much more physical intimacy between Edward and Bella in this movie than in Twilight; I think Rob and Kristen have great chemistry. I came to realize how intensely romantic this story is, much more so than most of the cookie cutter “romance” movies Hollywood dishes out (like the god awful looking “Dear John”, the preview which I was subject to every time I’ve seen Twilight-its tag line is “The greatest love story ever told is your own”, it should be “The most cliched love story is any one other than yours”). That Bella is literally ready to give up her soul to be with Edward, and that Edward would rather die than have Bella gone forever are more than just lip-service cliches.
-The discussions in the three scenes where Bella talks about Edward's soul were surprisingly poignant.
-I really like how Kristen expresses emotions non verbally, but ya know, even though the grief was convincing, she still can't seem to cry on camera. (One of Book Bella’s traits is the propensity to tears ) That being said, I thought Kristen was terrific in this movie and even critics of her from Twilight have to admit she stepped it up in New Moon.
-I hardly recognized Nikki Reed. It looked like they tried to glam her up for this film (probably in response to criticisms from Twilight that she was not “beautiful enough). It looks like she lost weight too.
-Having Bella have visual hallucinations of Edward, not just auditory-thought it was effective and didn’t dilute his being absent.
-Liked the whole tribe coming together as wolves evolution, but I have mixed feelings on the transformation effect-kinda looked good sometimes, a little too CGI at others, definitely room for improvement there.
-I thought the Cullens' eyes in this movie were too intensely golden colored, liked it more subdued like in Twilight-I don’t know that they could have passed for human.
-The pacing of this movie is more languid (maybe that's too harsh a word) than Twilight, probably the result of having a different director. But I kinda like how the story was allowed to unfold without artificially interjecting something to change the pace (like Catherine did in Twilight).
-I'm amazed when I read all the negative reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes, most of these critics just don't get it. It seems they have contempt for the source material, and this carries over to their review. And some of the subtleties elude them altogether. (One reviewer was upset because there isn't any sex, and vampires should be sexier as a result!) And some thought the movie too long (I always cringe when I hear that criticism of a movie I like-some people just can't sit for a movie lasting longer than 2 hours-well that's their problem).
-I loved the little scene showing Alice's vision of Bella as a vampire romping through the woods with Edward, Kristen looked gorgeous, and they have never looked that happy in the two movies so far.
-Taylor Lautner did an excellent job, he obviously took this role very seriously and researched it well. Glad they didn’t recast him.
-Jacob was less of a jerk in the movie than in the Book. They toned down that aspect of him in the movie.
-An oddity is that sometimes Alice refers to her visions in the past tense and sometimes in the future tense.
Overall I think New Moon is a good adaption of the Book, I give this movie the thumbs up, definitely a worthy successor to Twilight.
OK, here’s a fun thing, comparing the two movies, which did I like better?--
Makeup, hair, etc.-New Moon got the basic vampire look better (skin tone, palor), but the Cullen’s eyes were too pronounced in New Moon. Ashley’s Alice wig was better in Twilight (spiky, like in Book). Jackson as Jasper looked even weirder to me in New Moon. Victoria’s hair was way better in New Moon though. I call this one a TIE.
Acting-Robert was equally good in both films, and while I liked Kristen in Twilight, I thought she was even better in New Moon, more confident and comfortable in the role. And Taylor nailed it as Jacob. The supporting cast was equally good, I really liked Anna Kendrick as Jessica, she’s hilarious. Advantage New Moon.
Soundtrack-In my opinion, New Moon’s soundtrack is markedly inferior to Twilight’s. There are only three songs from New Moon that made any impact for me: in the Oct-Nov-Dec scene, in the scenes leading up to the Bella/Edward breakup, and the Victoria chase scene. Conversely, every song in Twilight was good. Advantage Twilight.
Musical Score-Upon repeat viewing, I came to appreciate Alexandre Desplat’s score more favorably. It is at times mournful, sad, eerie, and stirring. However, I don’t think it reached the soaring heights that Carter Burwell score did. Slight advantage to Twilight
Special Effects-Fast motion of vampires was much better in New Moon. Sparkling diamond effect on Edward better too. Thought Sam’s dive off cliff looked too CGI. Wolf effects were pretty good but could be improved. We all know special defects of Twilight. Advantage New Moon.
Cinematography-While I appreciate the blue filter effect of Twilight, I preferred the natural hues of New Moon. The scenery was good in both films. Slight edge to New Moon.
Adaptation of Book-Although New Moon did omit and change some things, I never got the same impression of egregious omissions like in Twilight. Twilight took too many liberties. Advantage New Moon.
Story-Entirely subjective, but I like the story of Twilight better. Advantage Twilight. (I guess that’s more a preference for the source material, actually).
Direction-Chris trusted source material more than Catherine did. Catherine continually needed to up the action for effect, and didn’t stay with some scenes long enough. Advantage New Moon.
Screen writing-Although Melissa continues to show some idiocy, I felt she was truer to the Book in substance/style than Twilight. Advantage New Moon.
Intangibles-The sheer number of hidden references (“Easter eggs”) in Twilight was a constant source of fascination and discovery, there were far fewer in New Moon (I just read that Bella is carrying a golden compass on her hike to the meadow-get it, “Golden Compass”, but I haven’t verified that yet). Or all the little Alice/Jasper moments, or watching for all the times Bella was clumsy. Or discovering Edward mouths “I love you” in the garage scene when so many people didn’t think he ever said it. New Moon is a more transparent movie. Advantage Twilight.
So what’s my verdict? Well, for me, its kinda like Bella with Jacob and Edward. My heart says Twilight, but my mind says New Moon.