| Two Reviews below, first by Keith Cohen and then by Jolene Mendez.
The sequel to the 2008 supernatural romantic fantasy will not disappoint the avid readers of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling four-book series or the rabid fan base of women, especially teenage girls, who turned last November's first movie into a box office phenomenon.
Kristen Stewart (aging mortal Bella Swan) and Robert Pattinson (forever young vampire Edward Cullen) have become major stars since becoming star-crossed lovers in "Twilight."
Chris Weitz ("The Golden Compass" "American Pie" and "About a Boy") takes over as director and brings more action, better special effects, a larger cast of supporting characters and werewolves.
Bella is entering her senior year in high school and celebrating her 18th birthday. Edward's sister Alice (Ashley Greene) invites her to a party at the house of the vampire family the Cullens. Bella accidentally cuts her finger opening a present. The sight and smell of her blood triggers an attack by Jasper Hale.
The Cullens, including Edward, decide to leave Forks, Wash., to protect Bella from further danger. Edward disappears from her life and leaves Bella depressed and broken-hearted. She turns her attention to her American Indian childhood friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). They get closer when he uses his mechanical skills to repair two motorcycles.
Bella becomes reckless and takes life-threatening risks. This causes Edward's image to appear in a hologram to warn her of danger.
The movie is full of pop culture references. Bella uses the word "cougar" in conversation with Jacob, who is two years younger. Bella notices that Jacob has a beautiful upper body when he rips off his shirt. His body temperature is so hot that she thinks he may have a fever. He turns into a monstrous werewolf whenever he gets agitated or upset. Bella discovers his secret and things get weirder.
An old nemesis comes back into the picture, placing Bella's life in danger. Alice, who can see the future, comes back to Forks and is surprised to find Bella alive.
The ruling royalty of the vampire world known as The Volturi are introduced. They are an old and powerful group that kill vampires who make spectacles of themselves and reveal the secret of their existence to mortals. The malevolent leader of this Italian faction is Aro (Michael Sheen from "Frost/Nixon" and "The Queen") and his menacing minion is Jane (a nearly unrecognizable Dakota Fanning from "The Secret Life of Bees" and "War of the Worlds").
Due to a misunderstanding regarding a funeral, Edward wants to expose himself as a vampire, which would mean death at the hands of The Volturi. Bella flies to Italy with Alice to save her true love.
The strong storytelling keeps you engaged even if you have not read the book. The parallels that can be drawn to "Romeo and Juliet" are more in evidence this time around. There is a lot of mythology only the book readers can understand. The second half of the film has more action sequences featuring werewolf attacks, cliff diving, an underwater struggle and an extended fight scene between vampires. The sparkling effect whenever Edward appears in sunlight is vastly improved.
Much of the movie takes place in the woods, but the scenes in Italy are very colorful with stellar production designs. The women will be drooling over the buff male chests exhibited. The guys who turn into werewolves wear very little clothing. They could give underwear models, beach volleyball players and even the Chippendales a run for their money in the looks department.
An Oscar pedigree is provided by actor Graham Greene ("Dances with Wolves") who has a small role as the sheriff's deputy, Harry Clearwater. Stewart shows more poise and greater maturity in her acting. Lautner has a winning personality and displays a sizzling screen charisma. He creates a romantic dilemma for both Bella and the viewers, who now must choose between Team Edward and Team Jacob. Sheen adds campy class to the proceedings with an unforgettable dramatic performance.
Another strength is a wonderful musical score by Alexandre Desplat ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), recently named film composer of the year. The icing on this delectable cake is that it features the best series of passionate kissing seen on screen for 2009. The movie ends with a cliffhanging question that has future implications and will have many audience members scrambling to purchase or reread the books.
This cinematic destination event will nourish the soul and provide escapist fun before and after your Thanksgiving feast.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"
TWILIGHT NEW MOON
Review Below By:
Jolene Mendez of JoReviews.com
2.5 out of 4 Stars
Girls everywhere will be cooing for "Twilight: New Moon" and they will have reason to. Following in the Twilight saga (Stephanie Meyer's TWILIGHT series), New Moon picks up where its predecessor left off. Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are in love and spending every moment together. When Bella's birthday arrives it is time to celebrate. Alice (Ashley Greene) invites Bella over to the Cullen's for gift giving. Unfortunately the night turns violent when Bella suffers a paper cut and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) can't control his reaction to her blood. As Edward protects Bella he only winds up hurting her more.
Realizing all he does is hurt Bella, Edward must choose to let her go. In the hopes that she will be better off without him Edward and the Cullen's leave Forks. Bella is heartbroken and turns to dangerous acts that cause her to have an adrenaline rush, as these are the only times she sees Edward. One of these dangerous hobbies she takes up is dirt bikes. She picks up a couple junkers and turns to her good friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to help her get them up and running. The pair continues to grow closer with each day. Despite Jacob's feelings for Bella she is still in love with Edward.
As Jacob disappears for an extended period of time Bella becomes concerned. She tracks Jacob down and he tells her to remember the story her told her about the Cullen's treaty with the wolf pack. Trying to get Bella to realize what has happened to him. Finally putting the pieces together Bella confronts the other wolves and after a heated argument, we see Jacob shed his clothes and attack to protect his love. Once Jacob's secret is revealed his job is to protect Bella from Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) who has returned to Forks to take Edward's love from him.
After many months Alice returns to Forks and is waiting for Bella at her home. She believes Bella has died due to a vision and returned to see if it was true before telling Edward. Sadly Alice is too late as Edward received word of the death and calls Bella's home only to have Jacob answer and tell him that Charlie (Billy Burke) is planning a funeral. This causes Edward to desire his own life be taken (much like Romeo & Juliet). Rushing to Edward, literally running into his arms, the two are reunited in one of the most intense scenes. The pair returns to Forks after a misfortune with Volturi where it is ordered that Bella be turned to a vampire soon, or they will come for her. Once home in Forks Bella and Edward are together as if they had never parted. Their time apart has only made their love stronger than ever which is proven when Bella insists Edward turn her which he agrees to do only if it is forever. Forever meaning a marriage for the two as he proposes.
"Twilight: New Moon" was not as intense at the first one. It also lost the romance factor. I did not enjoy it as much as the first, but it still had a good energy to it. The special effects of the wolves were superb, especially at making these massive creatures life-like. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson still had that strong chemistry that we all loved in Twilight. Not lacking in the heat department were Stewart and the very buff Taylor Lautner. Taylor proved that he deserved this role and his many months of work paid off. There was not as much action as the original and Victoria sadly was underused. A few minor disappointments can't spoil this film. "Twilight: New Moon" will be the excitement of fans everywhere, rightfully so. It has romance, action, excitement and a love that has only grown from time apart. Don't fret about seeing Bella's answer to Edward's proposal as "Eclipse" is only a mere six months away.