Fathers do not really understand their teenage daughters. It is, after all, a guy thing. Charlie Sawn (Bill Burke) is an idiot though. His daughter wakes up in the middle of the night screaming as if she was being murdered by an ice pick. She becomes totally isolated, sitting in her room for months on end, a scene that provides the one visually interesting shot in the entirety of New Moon.
At some point, parenting instincts kick in and you offer the girl some therapy, or maybe a lesson or two on how to deal with a tough break up. Sure, the fact that her previous boyfriend sparkled and was a vampire that can magically appear during tense situations may make for some awkward sessions, but it can be worked out.
Instead, Bell Swan pulls the exact same stunts as in the first movie. There is a guy, he’s a monster (werewolves this time), she is unsure if she should be with him, they do dangerous things (jump off cliffs instead of play baseball in lightning storms), and then the guy says she can’t be with him. It’s too dangerous of course.
The purpose of this retread? To develop the werewolves as characters, and instill in the audience there is a pact between the species of critters. This all could have been explained in a few lines of dialogue (and it is actually), but that would not allow for Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and friends to walk about with no shirts on. New Moon’s budget apparently allowed for painfully flat CG wolves, but not additional wardrobe designers.
Unlike the vampires, werewolves do not sparkle in human form (thankfully). They don’t need a full moon to transform either. You only have to get them angry, meaning their entire concept was pulled from a Marvel comic book series… shamefully.
As with the first Twilight, the writing is embarrassingly awful. The break-up sequence between Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) has the potential to become the stuff of YouTube legend. That whole scene also gives the non-tween audience in the crowd false hope that the entire thing is nearly over, but unfortunately there are 100-minutes to go.
Alice Cullen (Ashley Green) sums up this entire series in a single line of dialogue. She visits Bella after leaving town and having a vision of Bella’s death. She states, “I’ve never met anyone more prone to life threatening idiocy.” You know why that it is Alice? Because no one with a lick of common sense would ever put up with this level of high school drama. Movie audiences shouldn’t either.
New Moon’s hi-def encode is a small step down from the original. Chris Weitz’s direction is softer with the focus, eliminating the ability to produce those same razor sharp facial and environmental details of the original. They are still present, just not in the same manner. The majority of close-ups do produce some stunningly resolved textures, while others can appear marginally digital or smooth.
The same goes for the heavily utilized forest, which previously offered wonderful definition in terms of leaves or ground debris. There is a softer focus at work, eliminating that quality. That is not a knock on the encode, but a means of setting expectations.
As for this AVC effort, some marginal problems arise. Some banding is notable when Bella jumps into the water around 1:22:10, and ringing is apparent in a few scenes. The latter is quite apparent during the birthday celebration at the Cullen home. Colors are again intentionally subdued, although a few scenes allow for some lush, saturated hues. The festival run showcases some bright red robes, and the greens of the forest are nicely presented. Flesh tones, despite the pasty nature of the vampires, are accurate.
Much of New Moon takes place in low light, so credit is due for superb black levels that rarely lose their intensity. More importantly, the film keeps its intentional level of sharpness, providing texture or detail while avoiding a murky appearance. The grain structure is rarely noticed, and left intact with no noticeable artifacting problems.
A rather powerful LFE presence is apparent early for this DTS-HD presentation. Foreboding musical cues pound on the low end rather aggressively, setting an expectation for the eventual action. Thankfully, it holds up. The werewolves growl and slam their paws down with fantastic force, extending deep into low end. There it little doubt there is a sufficient subwoofer presence throughout.
Likewise, as they kick up dirt, grass and debris, the entire soundfield lights up with an enveloping quality. The effects are nicely prioritized amidst the music and dialogue (although some conversations sit low compared to the action). Bella’s jump into the water provides a spectacular display of home audio, with crashing waves hammering the LFE and splashing into all channels on the high.
Driven mostly by dialogue, ambiance dominates the majority of this track. School halls echo with random chatter, the forest offers various bird chirps, and some rain midway through offers a clean immersive effect. The musical selections are mostly downbeat, but clean. It not only fills the room with adequate surround bleed, it also provides a level of clarity that adds additional life.
A commentary features director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert, a decent chat that is followed by a six-part making-of titled The Journey Continues. This hour-long documentary never loses its glossy, promotional tone. Fans will likely eat up the behind-the-scenes footage, yet this is entirely generic.
Four music videos are followed by Summit’s usual BD-Live support.