Where to begin???
Let's start simply: I think that New Moon is a good movie. Um, I don't think it's a great movie. I DO think it's a better overall movie than Twilight (although despite that I think I still love Twilight more, but I'll save that for some other time). This isn't going to be a diatribe on how the book was different from the movie; we expected that and hadn't reread New Moon in the weeks before the movie's release because neither one of wanted to got bat-shit crazy picking apart the "book vs. movie" details. Although there might be a few things we can't resist noting...
Things I really loved about the movie:
Charlie/Billy Burke and "the humans" in general were great in this movie. They had some of the best lines, provided comic relief in an otherwise pretty somber tale, and stole the show more than a few times. Jessica in particular was great in the scene where Bella goes for a motorcycle ride. In face, that entire scene is really well done.
Victoria/Rachelle Lafevre = Beautiful. Feral. Dangerous. Chilling. I LOVE her parts. Bryce Dallas Howard, you have some really fierce military-looking lace-up boots to fill. We'll give you a chance but don't let us down. We'll miss you, Rachelle. A lot. Your running-through-the-woods sequence is mesmerizing. (P.S. I saw a pic of "Eclipse Victoria" in those very same boots while searching for pics for this post, and...well...I r-e-a-l-l-y miss Rachelle.)
Kristen Stewart does a much better job in New Moon. She's less stuttery and blinky - but not SO much so that it changes the character entirely, which it would have if she'd lost ALL the stuttery-blinky-noddy-ness. You might still be able to squeak a drinking game out of this, but you won't end up in the hospital from alcohol poisoning. Plus she looks breathtakingly beautiful in a lot of the scenes. OK maybe she's supposed to look like "every girl" and she doesn't but fuck it, this is a Hollywood blockbuster and nobody looks normal. I'm over it. I like pretty.
The wolves and special effects. They came a long way since the very first "fursplode!" was revealed. Which is good, because at the time it was outright laughable. The final wolves that made it to the screen were pretty awesome - huge, like they're supposed to be! Love that this worked out, because I was a lil' nervous after "Rabid Lassie" busted onto the scene. So well done. The effects in general were a million times better; I don't think they had the budget they needed to make it right in Twilight.
Look out! A half-dressed Fisher-Price wolf is falling from the sky!
(SO glad they improved this! whew...)
(SO glad they improved this! whew...)
Robert Pattinson (natch!) also honed his acting chops and delivered a better performance than he did in Twilight. Plus he looked good doing it (but I like Twilight-Edwards hair better)! The clock tower scene (mipplegate, schmipplegate - it's hair or something - whatever - RPatts has normal man-nips! stop staring at them already! look...lower. you'll be fine.). I don't care if it took a makeup artist hours to airbrush on those abs - it works for me! When he fights with Felix and his entire torso is heaving, I don't even care a lick that vampires wouldn't get winded. Who cares? Keep breathing, baby. You do it do well. I was also happy that his accent wasn't distractingly bad. I wasn't reminded of Christopher Walken-meets-The-Sopranos (I am convinced that Twilight-era RPatts studied up for his American accent by watching The Godfather, gangster movies, and HBO). Granted, he wasn't on screen most of the time (a downer, I know...), but still. Better. I am distracted by the "Remember Me" trailer every time I see the movie and think it looks amazing and his accent is spot-on but I don't want to compare apples and oranges here. Let's just say that while I wasn't initially counting the days until that movie comes out, now I am...
Taylor Lautner did a great job (we already covered that!) and I thought that Dakota Fanning was an amazing Jane. Alec was well-cast, too. The Volturi in general = great casting.
Things I have mixed feelings on:
Makeup. It was mostly better in New Moon. Well, at least it was for Edward. The lines of demarcation in Twilight made me wonder how much they had budgeted for white pancake makeup (my final guess is somewhere between $9.99 and $29.99 - no more). There were still a few moments where they could have done better with the body makeup (Edward should be one color!). And for the love of all things holy, will whoever does Robert Pattinson's makeup please put away the fucking lipstick already?! Seriously people - have you SEEN his lips? They're fucking perfect. Stop gilding the lily, ok? Please? Give him a little lip balm and leave it. Thanks.
We saw a lot of things in the trailers that didn't make it to the final cut of the movie. For better or for worse. It makes me hopeful for a dvd that will be chock-full of extras/deleted/extended scenes. Fingers crossed!
While I liked the Volturi characters, I thought they looked a little too normal.
Things that I didn't like so much/hated/made me laugh when I wasn't supposed to:
The vampire contact lenses. I haven't really heard anyone else say much on this, but I absolutely hated the contact lenses in New Moon pretty much from the first time I saw them. They look reptilian or alien or something. And it seemed to prevent their eyes from looking sufficiently expressive - Edward had to rely too much on his eyebrows. And his eyes looked irritated and reddish. Fine, I wasn't distracted by actually SEEING the contacts themselves like I was in Twilight, but that's mostly because Chris Wietz didn't use close-ups the way Catherine Hardwicke did. When JJ and I took NM Full-Size Edward out of his box, I spent several minutes scooting around in front of him trying to figure out where he was looking/where his gaze fell. It's hard to tell. I felt the same way about Edward a lot of the time he was on screen. And it was annoying.
Bells chiming every time you saw vampy sparkles. I didn't pay too much attention to this until someone pointed it out to me and then I couldn't NOT notice it. Do the sparkles really have to be accompanied by wind-chimes? I don't get it. I don't like it. But the sparkle effect itself was an improvement.
The wigs. I am done for in Eclipse when they stick one on Bella. And for NM, it's bad enough... Jacob? Jasper? Alice? Rosalie? Ugh. If they keep hitting Rosalie and Jasper with the ugly stick, they'll be able to make small children cry by the time Breaking Dawn hits theaters. And these are attractive people! Stop giving Jasper poodle-hair! Rosalie shouldn't look like a madam at a high-end whorehouse! Did they stop even trying to make her look like the most beautiful woman on the planet? How about some nice extensions? Is that asking too much for a movie that's going to make a gazillion dollars?
Alice's vision. EVERYONE hated this. Without exception. And I hate it too. What the hell were they thinking?! Is there not ONE person on-set who could have told them this was even more of a fail than the wardrobe in the rest of the movie, which was kinds lame-ish and made Edward look like an old man - yes I get that he's 109 but never in the books did it say that he dressed in a way which would be considered old-fashioned or antiquated. Hey movie people - you need one of us: an obsessed fan to say "that's a terrible outfit and YES the Volvo needs to be silver!" We'll work cheap! But please - you need us. Alice would never allow Edward or Bella to dress like that. Never. Ever. I cringed. So did everyone else in the theater. Plus it kind of sucks that THAT was the first look we got at "Vampire Bella" - I think that reveal should have been saved for whoever directs Breaking Dawn. If the screenwriter put that in, shame on her. And if Chris Wietz ends up directing Breaking Dawn, he needs to do better there.
We'll probably talk about New Moon until you beg us to stop, so it we didn't cover something here, it's probably in the works (and by "the works" I mean our collectively addled little brains). Stay tuned!