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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2010

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"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-april-2010-new-moon

Synopsis

The second book in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series picks up right where the first installment left off.  Bella Swan (Stewart) is celebrating her eighteenth birthday with Edward Cullen (Pattinson), the love of her life, and his family of vampires.  When she cuts herself opening a gift and is nearly eaten by Edward’s brother, they realize that the only way to keep Bella safe is to be apart.  The vampires leave Forks and Bella is devastated.  Her only lifeline is her friend Jacob Black (Lautner).  Unfortunately he is quickly falling for her as well.  Just then, he discovers he is a werewolf and the plot thickens further.  Bella, in her angst, engages in ever more dangerous activities as she struggles to live without Edward.  When she dives off a cliff, Jacob saves her from drowning in the nick of time.  Edward’s sister however sees a future where Bella is killed so Edward decides to end it all by revealing his existence to the humans and precipitate execution by the Volturi, an ancient order of vampires.  Bella learns of this and rushes to Italy to stop him setting up the film’s final act and creating the path to the inevitable third chapter, due out this summer.

 

Specifications

  • Summit Entertainment
  • 2009, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hrs 10 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
  • Directed by Chris Weitz
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Moderate
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Though this movie is clearly aimed at young women, I enjoyed watching it with my wife who is a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer’s books.  I saw it originally in the big theater but found it much more interesting in my home theater.  The high school kids never become too annoying and the story will appeal to a wide variety of ages and tastes.  If you want to watch it with your family, I’d say it’s appropriate for ages 12 and up.  There is no sex or foul language to speak of.  The violence is used sparingly and is never brutal.  Pattinson and Stewart are excellent in their roles and Tyler Lautner does a superb job as well.  The special effects are quite convincing; especially the werewolf sequences.  Watching these young boys suddenly change into impossibly large wolves was very impressive and blended seamlessly with the live actors.  My only complaint is the story could have been told in a shorter film.  Though it doesn’t really drag, the plot is a bit thin for a two-hour movie.

Technical

The image is quite good with a somewhat cool color palette.  This is better than the first film which was overlaid with strong green tones.  I’m glad to see a more natural rendering for New Moon.  Detail is quite sharp at all times though I did see a bit of edge enhancement.  The crystal effect when Edward stands in the sun is quite striking but you will need a good display to really see it as it’s somewhat subtle.  Fleshtones are very accurate for all the human characters.  Vampires have the pale, corpse-like faces you’d expect of the undead.  Black levels are uniformly deep in all dark scenes.  In fact, most of the film barely rises above medium brightness.  Detail is well-preserved though.  The bright scenes in Italy were a welcome change from the drabness that pervades the rest of the movie.

Audio was very consistent with a wide dynamic range.  Dialog was clear and accurate and placed well-forward in the soundstage.  Sound effects were impactful but a bit short of the best mixes I’ve heard.  Surrounds were used sparingly and the sub was asking for more to do.  It was a decent soundtrack overall though and it sounded much better in my home than at the cinema.

Extras

Bonus features include audio commentary with director Chris Weitz, a six-part behind the scenes documentary, music rehearsal footage and three music videos.