Oh. My. God. The New Moon movie was simply outstanding. For those of you that read the book, this movie is perfect in following the spirit of the book. Where it deviates (as it must, for it is film), it is well done. It's almost better than the book in places. It certainly is a lot closer to the book than I had reason to dream, including certain things thta I couldn't imagine how they would be done in film.
If your only experience of the Twilight Saga is the original movie (Twilight), this one leaves that in the dust, like a Porche racing a plastic tricycle. It is so much better that I almost want them to remake Twilight with the same actors, but a different director. It really shows how much an actor's ability is helped and/or hindered by the director.
At this point I've seen it in theater twice. The first time was for the midnight premier and the second time was a matinee so I could take my five-year-old son. I want it to come out in DVD already so I can start watching it multiple times daily... it is just that good.
My exposure to the Twilight Saga began last Christmas when I got the series from my in-laws. I read each book (and they're not small books) in less than eight hours, and I wasn't able to dedicate all that time to just reading. I have re-read the series many times since then... I'm guesstimating about 20 times by now. Stephenie Meyer may not be the world's greatest author (or so say critics), but she does one thing VERY well. She is amazing at putting you in the character's shoes. Along with virtually everyone else who has read the series, I fell in love with Edward, sympathized with Bella, agonized over the love triangle decision, and generally felt a part of what was happening in her version of Forks, Washington.
***** Minor SPOILER ALERT for TWILIGHT and NEW MOON movies *****
When I first watched Twilight on DVD (I didn't see it in theaters, as I wasn't even aware of the series at that point), I was very dissapointed. The acting wasn't very good, the story was mangled, the characters weren't true to form. But it did one thing for me. It gave me a visual reference for my enjoyment of the books. (I am not very good at visualizing books, I feel them, I just don't see them.) After watching the special features on the DVD and understanding a bit of the reasoning behind the choices, I grew to enjoy Twilight as a movie. I still cringe at certain parts (both of the "monkey" lines and the forest "vampire" scene in particular) and feel that some changes were so out of character that they still grate (the existence of a book about the top secret Quileute legends and Edward's confusion at the police station when he can READ MINDS topping that list). But I can watch the movie and enjoy it. Plus, the soundtrack was amazing.
New Moon was my favorite book of the series. The heartbreak is SO well done. I went into the New Moon movie hoping it was better than Twilight, but not expecting much. I have found that the more I like a book, the less I generally like it's film adaptation. But then I got to see what was done in the New Moon movie. I can nitpick, sure. There are tiny things I'd try to change if I were director. But I can't find any real fault. Purists may complain about some of the changes. But there's not a single change that isn't true to the SPIRIT of the book (which was not true of the Twilight movie adaptation).
The "months" of the book were something that I couldn't begin to think how to duplicate in the movie. I was so impressed by the mechanism in the book that it didn't even occur to me to try to do it in the movie. But New Moon did and did it well. The actors proved that with the right director picking the right takes and encouraging them in the right direction, they DO know how to act. It wasn't bad casting and/or acting but bad directing that made the acting in Twilight as bad as it was.
***** END of SPOILER ALERT *****
The balance of action and romance makes this, in my mind, a perfect date movie. It is so well done that it doesn't require the parenthetical explanation that was required to make Twilight make sense. If you've seen Twilight and hated it, go see New Moon. If you loved the books but are leary of the movies, go see New Moon. If you haven't read the books, go see New Moon. It is JUST THAT GOOD.
Rich hasn't made it out to see New Moon yet (he's worked every day since the premiere), but plans to take Tre and I on his first day off. That will make my third (and probably, unfortunately, last) time seeing it in theater. I plan to buy it on DVD the day it's released, if I don't pre-order it. In case I'm not completely clear... I LOVE THIS MOVIE!