Summit The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Blu-ray)New Moon,the second in Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster teen-fiction saga adapted for film, is stronger than its predecessor, Twilight. Director Chris Weitz (TheGolden Compass), taking the helm from Catherine Hardwicke, brings a lighter, more assured touch to the sequel, which continues the star-crossed love story of mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). Incidentally, Edward is absent for most of the film; after an accident on Bella’s birthday reminds Edward that her life is always at risk when he’s around, he chooses to abandon her, sending her into a deep depression. The only person who helps her heal her broken heart is her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a member of the Quileute tribe who, as he grows taller, beefier, and more aggressive (with less clothing), comesto realize he’s not entirely human either. But even his love for Bella doesn’t prevent her from throwing herself in the path of danger, because that’s the only time she can see visions of Edward. Onesuch fateful misunderstanding sends Edward into the coven of the Volturi (a sort of vampire Mafia, if you will), where the most dangerous vampires hold both Edward and Bella’s fate in their cold, dark hands.

Studio: Summit Entertainment
Year: 2009
Release Date: March 20, 2010
Run time: 88 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Region: A

New Moon was a step down from Twilight. In part the shortcomings of the movie sequel stemmed from the shortcomings of the book sequel: it abruptly abandoned a compelling storyline of werewolves in Washington state for a storyline of vampires in Italy — a compelling storyline in itself, but one that just didn’t mesh well with the werewolf storyline. In the book Stephanie Meyers at least had space to develop both storylines; in the movie both felt rushed for lack of time.

Bella develops a deeper friendship with Jacob, and begins to come out of the shell she entered into when the Cullens left. It’s obvious early on that Jacob wants them to be more than friends, and while Bella seems to have at least some of the same feelings for him, she’s torn by her enduring loyalty to the departed Edward. She then realizes that Edward continues to watch over her from afar, appearing to her when she’s in danger, which prompts her to seek out increasingly more dangerous situations, making the already threatening status with Victoria and Laurent more deadly. The development of the relationship between Bella and Jacob is never forced or rushed and progresses naturally over time, although Bella still remains reluctant to get too close.

In the later stages of the movie the action increases and the scale of the tapestry does likewise with the introduction of the Volturi, the Italy-based vampire aristocracy that maintains an informal control over the vampire race worldwide, and whose own ruling elite wield incredible powers. The acting is excellent, and Kristen Stewart particularly impresses with an award-worthy performance. She captures Bella’s peculiar mix of shy awkwardness and feisty boldness, and her fierce capacity for total love, perfectly.

I also take exception to New Moon’s music, which went in unclear directions in contrast with Ms. Hardwicke’s choice of moody folk music as a background. Still, there were flashes of inspired acting, and the scenes in the depths of Washington’s gloomy, immemorial forests and in sun-drenched, decadent Volterra were beautifully filmed. Above all, the story of New Moon was told cleanly and fully, setting up the better plotted and action-packed sequels, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.
Movie Content: 8.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. I found the image to be much better looking with ‘New Moon’ over ‘Twilight’. I didn’t think that ‘New moon’ was as stylistic looking as ‘Twilight’ due to the change in directors. We do see the use of a muted color palette again here in ‘New Moon’ where whites and grays are very strong. Blacks are deep. Details are very well done in high definition on Blu-ray with facial details standing out very well. Also the details in the wolves fur stands out too. This is a very atmospheric film that makes you feel like you are a part of this fantasy world.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. This is a huge improvement over the audio mix in ‘Twilight’ as I found the audio to be well balanced throughout. The problem with the first film was that the mix was on the low end for the first half of the film. Dialogue through the center channel carried more of a punch sounding clearer. The depth that was lacking in the original was there with the dialogue. Sound effects come pouring into the soundfield provide a dynamic experience. I continue to reference to the first film on Blu-ray, but that one was much more front heavy of an experience. Things have changed here as the sound design did take advantage of the surrounds. Fans will not be upset in any way here with the audio.
Audio Quality: 9.5/5

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Director Chris Weitz and Editor Peter Lambert
  • 6-part documentary
  • Rehersal Footage with MUSE
  • Music Videos from Death Cab for Cutie, Anya Marina and Mutemath

Special Features: 7/10

Final Thoughts

“New Moon” is already a worldwide hit and the next installment “Eclipse” has already been made and will be released this summer. But that doesn’t mean the movie is great, only that it has tapped into a fan base willing and able to propel it to blockbuster status. If you are a fan of the ‘Twilight Saga’ you owe it to yourself to pickup this film on Blu-ray.
Overall Rating: 8/10