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The Twilight Saga: New Moon(2009)
The relationship between mortal Bella and vampire Edward is continuing to blossom and grow even though ancient secrets are in line to destroy them. When Edward leaves in order to keep the love of his life Bella safe; she takes it upon herself to test her life in many reckless ways. Things don't go as she planned though when her good friend Jacob ends up saving her which opens her eyes and mind to many more secrets that could threaten all their existence.
For more about The Twilight Saga: New Moon and the The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray release, see the The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 21, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Justin Chon
Director: Chris Weitz
» See full cast & crew
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray Review
Two down, two to go.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 21, 2010
I honestly don't know how to live without you.
It's not wizards and wands, but Author Stephenie Meyer's Vampire series Twilight is maybe the next biggest thing, her quartet of books surrounding the whirlwind relationship between young human girl Bella Swan and the cool-as-ice Vampire Edward Cullen are certainly the hot properties of the minute. The series may be complete (or at least those that grow weary of the hype certainly hope) but the movies are just getting started, with Twilight having sparkled at the box office and its sequel, New Moon, bleeding many a young girls' purses dry with a domestic theatrical run that raked in close to $300,000,000. Meyers' series has certainly been a cash cow for up-and-coming Summit Entertainment, the studio rolling in cash and also cleaning up at the Academy Awards with the newest Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker to its credit. While neither of the first two films in the Twilight series garnered any Academy Award nominations, the popular pictures -- now on their second director with a third fresh name behind the camera for the upcoming Eclipse -- nevertheless prove competently made and passably entertaining movies, even for casual viewers that know the series only through the first two films and by the reputation of the novels alone.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart, The Messengers) isn't too thrilled to be turning 18. For her, it's another sign that her relationship with the ageless teenage Vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) just isn't going to work unless she herself becomes a soulless bloodsucker. Edward's not all that keen on taking Bella's soul in exchange for her immortality and the future of their relationship, and when locals begin to take notice that Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) isn't aging, Edward uses it as an excuse for the Cullen clan to pack its bags and leave town -- and leave a grieving Bella behind for her own good. As the months pass, she comes to find solace in her old friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a suddenly buff young man that begins hanging out with the wrong crowd. Bella continues to long for Edward, seeing his ghostly figure wherever she goes, the image acting as something of a guardian angel warning her against pursuing her sudden interest in daring and adrenaline-charged endeavors. As her relationship with Jacob blossoms into something more than a friendship, Bella must choose her destiny and come to terms with the demons of her past, demons that she may never see again but for whom she continues to so desperately long.
Sequels -- even those that, like New Moon, directly continue a story rather than simply place its characters in a new location for a new and unrelated adventure -- don't often live up to the quality of their predecessors, and New Moon is no exception. This second installment in the Twilight series focuses more on story and character development than does even the first movie considering its introduction of a new romantic interest for Bella and the internal and, ultimately, external conflict for Edward, but it's nevertheless a crucial cog in the entirety of the Twilight story arc. New Moon is a far more chatty film than was Twilight; there's less action and urgency here, and perhaps most damaging to the picture as a standalone experience, it lacks the sense of wonder and novelty that accompanied its predecessor. These aren't exactly shocking developments in part two of a four-part series, but considered as a member of a franchise rather than as a self-contained movie-watching experience, New Moon holds up rather well. Still, it can come across as a bit scattered and sometimes far too slow as admittedly major developments take longer than seems necessary to develop and play out, not to mention the need to explore the subsequent consequences of several characters' actions in detail. Additionally, it's not hard to see New Moon's several surprise revelations and character arcs coming long before they're introduced into the film; even those without the foreknowledge of what happened in the novel will remain several steps ahead of the characters in most every scene. No matter, though; New Moon assumes familiarity with the first picture and, seemingly, familiarity with the books, too. That's not a bad assumption to make considering that the picture's fan base has probably seen the first film several times and has read the novels more than once.
New Moon, then, is something of a hit-or-miss proposition from both a thematic and entertainment frame of reference, and the picture is an equally haphazard entity when viewed from a more technical perspective. Although Twilight Director Catherine Hardwicke has been replaced by The Golden Compass helmsman Chris Weitz, there's little-to-no perceptible change in tone between the two movies, save for the sudden absence of the heavy blue filtering that dominated Twilight. Both films deliver some snazzy but not altogether seamless special effects; New Moon features several four-legged CGI beasties that aren't quite as convincing as audiences might have hoped, but there's never a particularly bad effects shot to be found in the film, either. There's also a solid but completely unremarkable accompanying score that hits all the right notes but never once stands out as anything but mid-level material that's good enough for a movie like this but not destined to become some long-remembered or major award-winning selection. There's also New Moon's pacing which suffers from what seems like a drawn-out series of events that are in the film solely because they were in the book and inserted into the film with little regard for cinematic flow or tighter storytelling. It's not that the story of New Moon isn't a coherent one. It's never hard to keep up with what's going on and, as mentioned earlier, predict the major developments, but there's little semblance of more than a cursory structure to the movie. Finally, the stilted acting from New Moon's collection of primaries makes for what is quite possibly the picture's most unbalanced element. There's nary a convincing effort from any of the film's trio of leads; Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Robert Pattinson all seem sleepy through the movie, more concerned with how they look (and who can blame Lautner, who's forced to go shirtless almost the entire time) rather than how they are playing characters that are -- and should appear -- deeper and more complex than the passive performances suggest.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray, Video Quality
New Moon rises on Blu-ray with a good-looking 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. The first thing that fans are bound to notice is the drastic shift in visual tone between this and Twilight; gone is that picture's heavy blue tint, replaced here by something of a more neutral and natural look that's a touch dark and perhaps with a slight golden hue about it. As with the previous Twilight picture, flesh tones waver from character to character; Edward appears as a ghastly pale shade, Jacob features a decidedly orange tint, and Bella is usually seen with a more neutral tone, all of which are deliberate in presentation and not any fault of the transfer process. However, skin sometimes looks a bit overly smooth, and background details, too, sometimes appear as smudgy and smeared. Generally, however, fine detail in foreground shots impresses. The film exhibits wonderfully natural detailing and texturing on plenty of objects, including clothing; scrapes, dents, and dirt on vehicles; and building façades. Still, the image often cannot escape from what is a generally flat appearance, though again this seems more in-line with the intended look of the picture. Also sporting beautifully deep and inky blacks and retaining a fine layer of grain, New Moon isn't the prettiest image out there, but it delivers a capable 1080p experience that should satisfy both and fans and videophiles alike.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray, Audio Quality
New Moon bursts onto Blu-ray with a supercharged DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Although the track is defined by several loud, aggressive, and satisfying action sequences, it's comprised of plenty of subtle atmospherics that make this a truly complete listen. The many exterior shorts in the film's idyllic woodland settings come alive with the sounds of nature in every scene; a cacophony of chirping birds, rustling leaves, or blowing breezes positively immerse the listener in every environment. Additionally, the film's musical presentation is beautifully rendered; the score pours into the soundstage with a positive front-channel presentation and a noticeable but not overwhelming rear-channel support structure. The aforementioned action pieces, however, truly stand apart from the rest of the mix. Creature-on-creature combat sound effects spill into the listening area from all directions and traverse the soundstage with pinpoint precision, all accompanied by what is nothing short of a prodigious low-end that rattles the floorboards and reverberates through the chest cavity. The picture's action scenes translate into some of the most impressive listens available on the Blu-ray format; it's a shame that there aren't more of them to enjoy. Rounded out by perfectly-balanced and consistently stable and clear dialogue reproduction, Summit Entertainment has yielded yet another in what is a growing line of top-notch DTS-HD MA lossless soundtracks for their growing library of Blu-ray releases.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of New Moon yields several extras, chief among them an audio commentary track and a documentary. The commentary features Director Chris Weitz and Editor Peter Lambert. The duo -- with Weitz leading the charge -- covers a wide swath of information that's heavy on the technical aspects behind the making of the film, from small nuances that he points out to more sweeping and generalized insights into the construction of various parts of the movie. Topics include the special effects, working with author Stephenie Meyer, the various thematic elements and dramatic developments throughout the movie, shooting locations, and plenty of other information that fans will devour. The track is breezy and informative, easily digestible and a worthwhile listen for both fans and those interested in some nuts-and-bolts insight into the world of big-movie filmmaking. The other highlight of this package is a six-part documentary that explores the making of New Moon (1080p, 1:05:28). The piece looks at how the actors' lives have changed since starring in the Twilight films and moves on to an in-depth examination of the making of New Moon, intercutting interview snippets with the cast and crew with plenty of behind-the-scenes video clips. Topics include the work of Director Chris Weitz; the film's wardrobe and set design; the change in mood and slight alterations between the two Twilight films; the story of and themes explored in the film; the crafting of the picture's extensive special effects; and an exploration of post-production work, including editing the film together and crafting its score. Also included is a special behind-the-scenes rehearsal of the song "I Belong to You" by Muse (480p, 1:32); three full-length music videos: "Meet Me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie (480p, 3:48), "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina (480p, 3:47), and "Spotlight" by Mutemath (480p, 3:42); and BD-Live functionality.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
New Moon isn't a bad movie. It's got its share of problems as a standalone picture, but considering the change in director, the talk- and emotion-heavy nature of the story, and the incredible level of expectation surrounding the movie, it manages to keep an even keel and deliver a watchable 131-minute marathon of a Tweeny Vampire love story, at least when viewed as part of a growing series and not as a standalone entity. It's an almost impossible task to watch a movie like New Moon without some kind of expectation going in. For readers of the books, there's bound to be equal parts joy and sorrow as the story unfolds on the screen. For those choosing to enter the world of Bella, Edward, and Jacob through the movies alone, it's difficult to separate the hype from what the story and the accompanying movie really have to offer. Despite its issues and many challenges, New Moon plays as a confident-in-feel picture that does well to bridge the gap between the series' first entry and its final two, all the while delivering a movie that's well worth a watch, warts and all. Summit's high definition release of New Moon delivers a quality Blu-ray experience. Both the picture and sound presentations reside amongst the upper-echelons of the Blu-ray quality tiers, and fans shouldn't be too disappointed with the available supplements. New Moon fanatics and hardcore Blu-ray collectors shouldn't hesitate to make a purchase, but more casual viewers might want to hold out for some future boxed set of all four films or an expanded special edition of New Moon.
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The Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Wal-Mart Exclusive Ultimate Fan Edition of New Moon Blu-ray - February 11, 2010
Wal-Mart has announced that, on March 20, it will exclusively offer The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Ultimate Fan Edition). In addition to the content on the Special Edition Blu-ray of New Moon, the Ultimate Fan Edition will come with collectible lenticular packaging ...
• Target-Exclusive New Moon Deluxe Edition Blu-ray (Update) - February 5, 2010
Last month Summit Entertainment informed that The Twilight Saga: New Moon would be available at all retailers when it releases on March 20 (yes, a Saturday). However, individual retailers are offering exclusive Blu-ray editions, with additional disc content, collectibles ...
• No Retailer Exclusivity for Twilight New Moon Blu-ray - January 20, 2010
Summit Entertainment has confirmed that the Blu-ray edition of 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' will have a wide release to all retailers on Saturday, March 20. The first installment, 'Twilight', had been released on March 21, 2009, but initially was available in ...
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