It was all I could do not to attend one of the crazy midnight showings for New Moon last night (or in reality early this morning), but I knew I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the movie if I was half asleep or with a bunch of screaming young girls. So I purchased an early-bird ticket for the 11 a.m. show today.
As it turns out, I barely slept last night anyway, waking up at 4:00 this morning and never returning back to bed. Figures as much.
I arrived at the Cinemark Theater at Coastal Grand Mall in Myrtle Beach at about 10:30. The theater was already about half full when I walked in. This was quite a contrast to the 8 or so people who I shared the theater with on Twilight's opening day a year ago.
Maybe it's the location being in a tourist town. Or maybe the Twilight phenomenon picked up more after I saw the first installment. Or it could have even been that the $4.50 ticket price was the draw, I don't know. The end result was a 75% full theater for the earliest show time. Yes, there were lots of women ages 20 to 60 in attendance, but the most surprising part to me were the few lone guys who were there too.
The movie opens a bit differently than the book, while still retaining the key story elements. I actually liked this change a lot. I tend to think portions of the Twilight books are extremely wordy and drawn out in such a way that they wouldn't represent well on the screen.
There are a few other places throughout the movie where it was adapted a bit differently than the book too, but unlike Twilight, key scenes were not skipped and replaced with entirely new ones. They also were not altered too much that they veared away from what is read in the book.
I don't plan on mentioning any real specifics in this review because I don't want to ruin the viewing experience for anyone. Let's just say that a much better job was done in this area in New Moon, and that those who have read the book should be very pleased with the result.
I liked the movie a lot. So much so that I will probably see it again next week some time. New Moon is much better than Twilight, as it should be with the huge budget they had this go around. There were a few things that could have been done a tad better, the lighting for instance, but I'm not in a frame of mind to be nit picky at this point.
The effects were really great. I love what Chris Wentz did in this area. Probably the one or two that stick out in my mind the most (because you don't see them in any of the trailers) occur during the fight scene with The Volturi. Once you've seen the movie, you'll have to let me know what you thought of the effects. I was sitting in my theater seat whispering this is so cool to myself while the action was unfolding on the screen.
The acting overall is improved in New Moon as well. While I still think Pattinson struggles a bit, I was really impressed with the improvement seen in Kristen Stewart the most. She was much much better in New Moon. Plus the dynamic between her and Taylor Lautner was really believable. They worked very well together and even caused me to get a tad misty-eyed in a few parts.
Lautner as Jacob lived up to the role. He was great. Originally I was one of the fans who thought he should be replaced in New Moon with someone older and more mature. However, I don't feel that way at all anymore. He really portrayed the character well.
The addition of the Wolf Pack was fun to see though they don't have a ton of screen time. Still, there's enough to give you a decent feel for them and they are an enjoyable bunch. It's a nice set up for their larger role later on in the books.
The wolf morphing scenes are really neat. There's one segment that still looks a bit too cartoony for me, but most of the parts with the wolves were good. I still wish the wolves were more life-like in their appearance.
My favorite new character hands down is Aro played by Michael Sheen. He was exactly how I thought the character should be and did a wonderful job with the mannerisms and even vocal tone one would think Aro should have. I enjoyed his performance a lot.
Oh, and I can't forget one of my favorite original characters, Charlie. I simply loved Billy Burke in Twlight and he doesn't disappoint in New Moon either. He's good for several chuckles throughout the 2.5 hour flick. I still think he's one of the best castings to date too. In fact I'm snickering to myself now just thinking about the performance.
About the only real disappointment for me doesn't even occur in New Moon at all. I'm disappointed that Rachelle Lafevre won't be returning for the larger role Victoria has in Eclipse. I'm still a little ticked that she was replaced regardless of the scheduling reason the media was fed.
As I mentioned, I really enjoyed New Moon. I'd give it a solid B+ and will definitely see it a few more times before it leaves the theater. I'm just glad I don't have to wait another twelve months to sink my teeth into the next one. Eclipse is due out in June or July 2010.
Twlight New Moon opened nationwide today, Novemeber 20. It's rated PG-13 for some violence and action sequences. It's 2 hours and 30 minutes long.