Science fiction and fantasy                                            

New Moon

directed by Chris Weitz

New Moon poster  
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is preoccupied by beauty. She's afraid her own will fade all too soon with age, and she's awestruck by Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his finely sculptured face and dazzling skin. New Moon has the same sort of tunnel vision as its main character, focusing on slow-motion shots of shirtless young men with rather a lot of enthusiasm. It's sure to please fans of its male stars' physiques, but anyone looking for more depth will struggle to find it.

Bella can't believe her luck in having Edward as her boyfriend, and the fact that he's a vampire doesn't trouble her all that much. On the other hand he is anxious about her safety and he believes that he and all his kind are damned. So he breaks up with Bella, leaving her a neurotic, quivering wreck who won't socialise and can't even summon the energy to smile.

When it seems as though all the joy has leached out of Bella's life she turns to her friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and gets him involved in her plan to restore a pair of motorbikes. She finds that acting recklessly brings her closer to her lost love, so she behaves unpredictably. However she finds Jacob's company soothing, and they grow close. But Jacob has a secret of his own to keep. Someone is stalking hikers in the woods near Forks, and the hunt is on to find out who is doing it. Bella is alone without any friendly vampires to protect her from whatever is out there.

This movie features a pared-down version of the story from the novel. It hasn't been cut so drastically that it doesn't make sense, but every scene is made to work hard to move the plot forward quickly. Often this means the story loses its intensity because we're not privy to as many of Bella's thoughts and feelings as in the novel.

One major omission is the subplot about Romeo and Juliet, which Bella is studying in class. Although we see her reading it and there's a brief class discussion about it, the movie doesn't explain its significance to Bella or why it affects her so deeply. The parallels she makes between her life and Shakespeare's tragedy vastly ramp up the novel's tension. This is missing in the film. Without this element the story limps home with a weak and lifeless final scene.

Unfortunately there are other instances where the suspense could have been heightened, but wasn't. Not enough is made of Bella's fear that her friend could be a killer. The Volturi are too posh and dandyish to be effectively menacing, like vampires who have stepped out of a costume drama. New Moon looks pretty, but it relies far too heavily on its appearance instead of delivering heartfelt drama. The pace is brisk and the three main characters are subtle and convincing, but they can't make up for the flaws in the script. As a result this is a soppy, wishy-washy movie with its fires damped down. It's nowhere near as potent or moving as the novel it's based on.

30th June 2010

Film Details

Year: 2009

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two cover    

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two by Bill Condon
Bella and Edward fight for their family against ancient vampires who will destroy those they declare to be abominations.

Breaking Dawn cover    

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Bella Swan is about to get married, but what kind of life can she expect if she weds a vampire? The fourth in the Twilight series.

Eclipse cover    

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Bella Swan is about to graduate, but with vampires out for her blood and werewolves after her heart, she has more than finals and college on her mind.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Chris Weitz