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The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Nothing will slow this thing down.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Sequel to "Twilight."
OPENING WEEKEND: $70,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $200,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

September 28th, 2009: In "New Moon," Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is devastated by the abrupt departure of her vampire love Edward (Robert Pattinson) but her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with the irresistible Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Suddenly she finds herself drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and she finds her loyalties tested.

What to Expect: Pop quiz, hotshot. Your studio, Summit Entertainment, won the Twilight Sweepstakes and secured rights to Stephanie Meyer's insanely popular teen-vampire series of books. The first film, despite being savaged by critics (and many moviegoers) recouped its budget by a factor of ten, grossing nearly $400 million dollars. The second book in the series is problematic, in that your tabloid-fodder teen heartthrob star's character isn't really in it much. Answer? You rush that sequel into production as fast as humanly possible and hope for the best.

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Oh, and you fire the director.

Okay, okay. Maybe "fire" is too strong a word, given that everyone's agreed on those pesky "scheduling conflicts" as the official reason for her exeunt. Now, the director in question, Catherine Hardwicke, was rumored to have had difficulties on the first film. Wait, let me clarify...difficulties with the studio. She and author Stephanie Meyer reportedly became BFFs during filming, and the cast got along well with her. Yet some (anonymous, naturally) studio sources says that she was hard to work with and incompetent...the look of the film was thanks to the DP and the editor had to "save the film" in post-production. Other sources imply that Hardwicke was too attached to the book, and gave the studio a hard time about making the film a faithful adaptation. When screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg delivered a draft of "New Moon" the week after "Twilight" opened, the studio was ready to go, full speed ahead, aiming for a one-year-later release date of November 2009...which would mean no time could be lost dithering about. Hardwicke wanted to work on the script more and spend more time in pre-production and they were not with the having. She wasn't willing to fast-track the project so she was out. Her wanting to work on the script may have been motivated by a desire to massage it to be more faithful to the book, that's unclear. Regardless, she's out and Chris Weitz is in.

Weitz is a respected filmmaker. "About a Boy" is one of my favorite films. "The Golden Compass" was a bit of a trainwreck, but it's no secret that Weitz wasn't happy with the final result and that the film we saw was largely the product of a studio hatchet job. All the Twihards were a bit dismayed at this, seeing as Hardwicke's well-documented devotion to the Cult of Stephanie Meyer had endeared her to them. The dismay continued when it was announced that Weitz would only direct "New Moon," and "Hard Candy" director David Slade would take over for the third film, "Eclipse." That's more a practical concern than anything else. To keep up the one-film-per-year release schedule without filming back-to-back, "New Moon's" post-production and "Eclipse's" principal photography would have to overlap.

Anyway. Weitz seems enthused about the project. It's his third book adaptation, his second young-adult book adaptation, so this ought to be familiar territory.

But who cares about the director, right? It's All About Robert Pattinson, or RPattz as he's known around the Intarwebz.

Pattinson, who enjoyed some moderate fame playing the doomed hunky Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," has since rocketed way past Daniel Radcliffe in the gossip-blog-mainstay horse race thanks to his moody, emo presence as tortured (but sparkly!) vampire Edward Cullen. While his casting oh those long years ago generated some degree of discontent among Twihards (I remember reading that Gaspard Ulliel was the favorite fan pick for the part), all of that seems forgotten given the ecstatic and slavish devotion now shown him by the target demographic. It's largely due to his devoted fan base that the "Twilight" film enjoyed such legs. But the second book is decidedly Edward-lite, since he very quickly leaves Bella, his human paramour, to protect her from evil forces. He spends most of the book playing Sir Not Appearing In This Film, only to turn up at the very end to kill himself dramatically after being tricked into believing Bella dead. But we just can't spend a whole film without looking upon his scintillating etherealness, right? So the filmmakers have cooked up a device. Instead of just hearing Edward's voice speaking to her, as in the book, Bella will see Edward as a kind of apparition. Pattinson has said that he thinks it'd be better not to see him until the end, when he emerges into the sunlight to take his own life, that it would be more dramatic that way. I think he just wanted a few weeks off shooting, personally.

It's not only Pattinson's character that obsesses the fans, but his relationship with costar Kristen Stewart. The "are they or aren't they dating" of their off-screen relationship has kept gossip bloggers busy forever. On the one hand, they've been seen smooching and being generally couple-like, but are reportedly professional on set and other co-stars say they're just friends. Meanwhile, "Us" magazine says they're totally devoted and nearly engaged. God only knows what's really going on with them. Actually, God probably doesn't know, either. Either way I'm sure the studio is rubbing its hands together and giggling with delight, because speculation like this can fuel ticket sales, especially when your onscreen star-crossed lovers may be having a star-crossed romance when the lights go out.

There is a third vertex in this romantic triangle, and here's where we've had the most casting angst for this film. Bella's childhood friend, Jacob Black, is the most significant male presence in the second book as he learns that he and his Native American friends are...werewolves. Legendary enemies of vampires. Bella and Jacob get closer in Edward's absence, she feels torn, Jacob's in love...you get the idea. Jacob was played in "Twilight" by 16-year-old "Sharkboy and Lava Girl" star Taylor Lautner, but there was a lot of talk about the part being recast for "New Moon." Jacob is supposed to get bigger and snarlier as he gets in touch with his wolf heritage and Lautner wasn't exactly winning any Mr. Universe competitions. Lautner was not one to go gently into that good night. Despite rampant recasting rumors and some dude on Facebook claiming he'd gotten the part, Lautner hit the gym, hard, and put on some 30 pounds of muscle. It paid off, because Summit and Weitz retained him for the role. It really is pretty amazing, the guy looks really different and about five years older. I think his neck measurement has gone up five inches. Judging by the publicity stills and promo shots, Jacob's going to be spending a lot of this movie shirtless. Not that I have a problem with that. Although when I looked up his Wikipedia page, I immediately felt older than Methuselah when I saw that he was born in 1992. Ugh.

So we've got a new director, the same cast (although watch this space for the "Eclipse" preview a year from now, because a very important role has already been controversially recast for that film), same screenwriter, same release date. What's there to angst about?

The story, of course. What have they changed?

Well, apart from shoehorning Edward into more screentime despite the fact that he's thousands of miles away, there are a couple of known alterations to the storyline. One involves nomad vampire Laurent, who's supposed to be killed by werewolves but instead fights them off. Sounds good to me; Laurent has long dreadlocks and is generally cool. Another reported change is that in response to Edward leaving, Bella becomes some kind of adrenaline junkie. Now, I have not read these books (well, I read a little bit of the first one and that was all I could take), but I was under the impression that this happened in the books, too. According to the book's Wikipedia page I'm right, so I don't know why this is being reported as a change to the plot. The most significant omission may be that in the book, Edward tells Bella that he'll only turn her into a vampire if they get married (which, hello, that's a hell of a pre-nup). They're deleting all this icky marriage talk to be more teen-friendly, which makes no sense to me because yeah, teen girls NEVER think about marriage or weddings or getting hitched to their Dream Guy. Also, I know enough about the books to know that eventually Bella and Edward DO get married and it's pretty darn important, so why declare the subject out of bounds now?

Maybe they want to avoid all those square Mormon connotations that permeate the books. Whatever.

In Conclusion: Look, this is real simple. It really doesn't much matter what's gone on in filming or who's directing, unless a giant asteroid hits Earth and we have to flee to high ground with Elijah Wood, this movie is going to make money hand over fist. If anything it'll probably make more than the first because this Twilight thing shows no signs of slowing down, and RPattz fever may fuel the moviegoing habits of teen girls and their Twimoms.

Similar Titles: Twilight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
November 20th, 2009 (wide)
March 20th, 2010 (DVD)

Summit Entertainment

Chris Weitz

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Edi Gathegi, Rachelle Lafevre, Billy Burke, Charlie Bewley, Jamie Campbell Bower, Daniel Cudmore, Christopher Heyerdahl, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Noot Seer, Michael Sheen, Graham Greene, Tinsel Korey

Total: 182 vote(s).

Fantasy, Romance, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for some violence and action.

130 min





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