The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Release Date: November 20, 2009

Look deep into my eyes. You are getting sleeeeeeepy. And wolfy.

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144/169 Max Braden This movie can't decide what it wants to be. With Pattison out of the way it gets better, though I did like the Michael Sheen scene. But it'll take more patience than most people have in order to

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How huge a phenomenon was Twilight over the past 18 months? Iron Man’s DVD sales reflect roughly 50% of its domestic box office performance of $318.4 million. The Dark Knight’s DVD sales represent 42% of its domestic box office performance of $533.3 million. Twilight’s DVD sales are a full 86% of its domestic box office total of $191.5 million. In calendar 2008 and 2009, only The Dark Knight has earned more through DVD sales than the vampire flick based on Stephenie Meyer's book. Given that Summit spent only $37 million making the movie, that number alone has a staggering wow factor to it. When we also consider that the worldwide box office tally for Twilight is $382.5 million, we are clearly talking about one of the most lucrative movie success stories of the 2000s. In point of fact, relative to scale, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Passion of the Christ are the only other two moderately budgeted titles to approach this one in terms of exponential financial earnings. And they did not have the accompanying book sales that this franchise claims nor was either situated for a sequel or two. Across the board, the news is glorious for Twilight and its fans.

Enter New Moon. Unlike its predecessor, this one won’t be sneaking up on anybody. The success of the first film led to some cataclysmic changes at the top, most notably the absence of Catherine Hardwicke in the director’s chair. Wagging tongues indicated studio dissatisfaction with some of her behavioral quirks, but whatever the reason, Chris Weitz has replaced her on this project. As the director of American Pie, he has experience in the over-sexed teen genre and, after The Golden Compass, he is in desperate need of a hit. Stating the obvious, New Moon is going to be a hit. A jump somewhat along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is not out of the question here. Twilight debuted to the shocking total of $69.6 million and the brand has been built to the point that a significantly larger tally is perfectly reasonable to expect for New Moon.

With regards to the story, I’m not going to be able to offer any new information here for any of you who have 35 Twilight fansites bookmarked. For those of you who are less…let’s say passionate, here are the pertinent details. Robert Pattinson’s broody demeanor (straight down to his eyebrows and poofy hair) is out…for the moment. In is Taylor Lautner, the new Daniel Radcliffe, as it were. Not yet 18 at the time of this writing, Lautner is on the cusp of becoming all the Jonas Brothers rolled up into one muscular package. The artist formerly known as Sharkboy (Robert Rodriguez fans, unite!) has matured into a leading man, partially through force of will. Lautner’s character in the film, Jacob Black, is a boy coming to terms with his nascent wolf-hood as a lycanthrope. Between Twilight and New Moon, he…burgeons into a much larger wolf. The transformation is so significant that the youthful Lautner almost lost his part in the sequels for fear that he was too small to pull off the demanding physical role.

Black finds himself falling for the recently single Bella Swan (these names are like Undead Gone with the Wind), who split up with Edward Cullen over a papercut. You’ve seen this in the trailer, so you know I’m not joking on the point, even if I wish I were. Oversexed and lonely, Swan starts noticing how bulgy Black has become. As they pass the time in the way that horny teens do, poor Edward has run into some sort of vampire royalty caste system. I’m not claiming to understand the political infrastructure of it, but I do know that this nonsense allows them to cast Michael Sheen as aristocratic Aro, a vampire who may or may not remind some of us of Viktor from Underworld, which I guess makes Lautner the Lucian in this scenario. Anyway, Bella finds out about Cullen’s problems with vampire blue blood and…well, most of you know the rest. I haven’t read the books, so I don’t. Envy me, dudes whose wives seduced you into reading all four books!

The central difference between Twilight and New Moon is seen in the casting. In addition to the previously mentioned Sheen and Weitz, Dakota Fanning is also onboard. None of the three of them would have seriously considered a part in what was originally a glorified MTV movie. Now that the franchise has evolved into something much more, the kind folks at Summit find themselves in the unusual position of being able to get anyone they want these days. The reason why is simple. Everyone knows that this film and its two sequels, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, are going to be $175-$250 million blockbusters domestically. (David Mumpower/BOP)


Vital statistics for The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Main Cast Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Supporting Cast Ashley Greene, Rachelle Lefevre, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning
Director Chris Weitz
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg
Distributor Summit Entertainment
Rating PG-13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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