New Moon: Edward or Jacob?

The second installment of the "Twilight Saga" hits theaters today. Its plot is simple enough. Normal teenage girl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is devastated when vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) leaves her after her disastrous 18th birthday party, and she finds solace in werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who, incidentally, loves her and wants more than friendship. There’s a whole lot of drama in the middle with sadistic vampires and snarling werewolves, but (spoiler alert!) in the end, Edward returns and gets back together with Bella, while poor Jacob is shunted off to the side. Like the first film, New Moon the movie stays loyal to Stephanie Meyer’s book, but there are differences. For example, at the beginning of the film, Jacob gives Bella a dream catcher as a birthday present, which was not in the book. And near the end, Edward and Alice have a massive fight with the Volturi, ancient vampires, the enforcers of vampire laws, over Bella. The head Volturi decided that Bella was an annoying human who knew too much and must be killed, which Edward and Alice weren’t going to allow. For the resolution… watch the movie for yourself! In addition, something to which members of Team Edward will be grateful, there’s a lot more of Edward in the movie than there should be. In the book, whenever Bella did something dangerous, she would have a hallucination and hear Edward’s voice. She didn’t have a vision of him until she jumped off a cliff and tried to drown herself. In the movie, though, Edward appears in Bella’s dreams and in all of her hallucinations. However, ask a fan why she (or perhaps he) is excited to go see New Moon, and the most likely answer will be “because Taylor Lautner is in it, and he’s soooo hot!!” Not only is Lautner one of the main characters of New Moon, but he, along with the other members of the wolf pack, also spends considerable screen time half-naked. Get ready, fangirls, to swoon, and get ready, Robert Pattinson, to lose girls en masse to Team Jacob (Taylor). There are so many reasons why girls should be in Team Jacob rather than Team Edward, the least of which being that Lautner is hotter than Pattinson. If this is your main reason, you are no real member. Compared with the stoic Edward who acts as if he were Bella’s father at times, Jacob is a much more human and believable character, with whom readers and viewers can readily empathize. He loves Bella so much and is such a good person that it’s heartbreaking to see him as the perpetual number two in her heart. The friendship between Jacob and Bella is moving, but pain is everywhere – Bella’s pain, Jacob’s pain. A love triangle is established and will endure through Eclipse and the first half of Breaking Dawn. New Moon also has a lot of action. Vampires fight vampires, vampires fight werewolves, and werewolves fight werewolves. The CGI (computer-generated image) werewolves are decent, as they have realistic eyes. The style of vampire fighting has been changed from that of Twilight; in New Moon, action is sometimes slowed down for dramatic effect, while at other times, the vampires turn into blurs with speed. This makes for some confusing fight sequences. Nevertheless, there are a lot of areas where New Moon could be better. Most importantly, the acting is mediocre. Pattinson still talks too slowly and still doesn’t come across as articulate and intelligent. (But we’ll cut him some slack because he’s British and can’t talk with a British accent.) Stewart still looks angry in half of her scenes, and her screams of pain are still not believable. A lot of exchanges between characters are still awkward. Lautner, through no fault of his own, still wears a ridiculous-looking wig as the pre-transformation Jacob, and the Cullens, especially the males, still wear too much make up. The Volturi’s bright-red contacts are more ludicrous than intimidating. Despite all of its shortcomings, New Moon is a better movie than Twilight, and you will like it more than you liked Twilight. So go watch it.