‘New Moon’ review: The movie misses Robert Pattinson … and Catherine Hardwicke

Nov. 19, 2009 | 2:23 p.m.


It’s almost here, Twi-hards. Today, in our ongoing daily countdown to “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” we bring you the review of the film by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, who believes the film suffers from the absence of Robert Pattinson and the mad-love sensibilities of Catherine Hardwicke.


“This is the last time you’ll ever see me,” Edward Cullen says to Bella Swan. As if.

Spoken early on in “New Moon,” that promise is one of the least likely to be kept in movie history. With most of that film still to unfold, and two more adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series in the works, the next due out as soon as next summer, the world is going to see as much of Kristen Stewart’s melancholy Bella and Robert Pattinson’s undead Edward as it can take. Maybe more.

In the short term, however, Edward is as good as his word, and “New Moon” suffers as a result. Constrained by the plot of the novel, the film keeps the two lovers apart for quite a spell, robbing the project of the crazy-in-love energy that made “Twilight,” the first entry in the series, such a guilty pleasure.

“New Moon,” which has been grandly titled “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” in honor of that first episode’s huge success, marks the franchise’s entrance into the self-protective, don’t-rock-the-boat phase of its existence, which is inevitable but a bit of a shame.

Twilight Bella and wolfie

In place of “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke, a filmmaker of intense, sometimes overwhelming and out-of-control emotionality who seemed to feel these teenage characters in her bones, “New Moon” has gone with the more polished Chris Weitz.

A smooth professional whose credits include such adaptations as “The Golden Compass” and “About a Boy,” Weitz makes the vampire trains of Melissa Rosenberg’s capable script run on time, but he almost seems too rational a director for this kind of project. This lack of animating madness combined with the novel’s demands give much of “New Moon” a marking time quality.

Yes, I know, “New Moon’s” emotional energy is supposed to come through Bella’s putative attachment to newly buff best friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). But though audiences gasp when Jacob uses his shirt to staunch Bella’s blood (don’t ask) and reveals a torso that would make Charles Atlas swoon, the connection between these two is so self-evidently non-romantic that it turns out not to be much of a diversion.

More interesting is Jacob’s discovery that as a member of the fierce Quileute tribe he is prone to turning into an exceptionally large wolf at a moment’s notice, a wolf whose main objective in life is to safeguard humans from vampires. In addition to pining for Edward, Bella suddenly finds herself in the middle of age-old and bitter enmities. This is one hard-luck young woman…



Twilight New Moon premiere

‘New Moon’ premiere shines in Westwood

‘Twilight’ producer: Lautner is going to blow people away with his acting

Robert Pattinson, object of obsession

“New Moon” and “Lawrence of Arabia”? Let Chris Weitz explain

‘Twilight’ screenwriter says second film is better

Stephenie Meyer breaks silence on ‘Oprah’

Stephenie Meyer and the future of ‘Midnight Sun’

Robert Pattinson talks about his career ‘backup plan’

Photos: Top, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in “New Moon” (Summit Entertainment); bottom Launter and Stewart arrive for the film’s Westwood (Matt Sayles /Associated Press).


41 Responses to ‘New Moon’ review: The movie misses Robert Pattinson … and Catherine Hardwicke

  1. chrissy ane says:

    I got my tickets for the midnight movie tonight and I am so excited I can’t wait to see how they brought this book to life. I’m totally Team Jacob though, I mean come on he is so hot in this one, check out these great pics I found

  2. MaKayla Talley says:

    I love new moon i am the main fan of them

  3. izzy<3 says:


  4. Maggie says:

    I think that Jacob or as should say Taylor Lautner is a very good actor and very, very good looking. Edward is a pretty good actor, Bella may need a little work though.

  5. Amber says:

    Is this guy for real? Does he even know the plot to the books? The Book NM is supposed to be a depressing time for Bella, losing her true love, how to cope over a loss and to build a friendhip with Jacob Black. If you are going to be a critic you might want to investigate before making comments like the peice you just wrote. People want to see the characters, WE ALL KNOW how it will end, that is not the point to these movies. From start to finish of every movie for the Twilight Saga will be a replay in our minds (just a little better done)while we read the book. That is what we want to see.

  6. Vanessa says:

    New Moon is not suppose to be over the top on the romance. Jacob and Bella are friends…Jacob sees Bella as more and that's why she tries not to lead him on. If you have read the books Edward is gone for almost the entire book, although he is still there in Bella's mind, which is why Bella becomes more of a "daredevil" to see him again. I am SO excited to see the movie! :D :D

  7. Jared says:

    Isn't the Los Angeles times supposed to be extremely well known, professional, and have levels of intelligence. Well, this review was horrible and your ability to review films is even worse. If you thought twilight was a better film just because there is more rob and kristen, then your so stupid. It's disgusting actually how lazy you critics can be. I'm studying to be a doctor in medical school right now and it's not like I can prescribe a drug just based on the way it looks in a commercial. I have to know everything about that drug and then make a logical decision. But, no you idiotic, lazy critics make reviews without ever reading the book. This movie is going to give us the book new moon in a visual form. It's true that new moon was the most boring book because well the dialogue between jacob and bella is completely boring. When I was reading the book, jacob was annoying me and boring me so much that I just knew Stephanie Meyer was going to have to bring back Edward somehow because Edward and Bella make the book much more exciting. You can't hate on a movie for following the book to a T pretty much. Twilight did not follow the book, the whole look of it was childish, the colors sucked, the feel of the film sucked, and Catherine Hardwicke is crazy. Do us all a favor and put a 110% of effort if you are going to write a review.

  8. Mike says:

    All you people attacking Ken's review probably haven't even seen New Moon so shut up!

  9. Janet says:

    Taylor Benbrook thinks you are hhhhhhhhooooooooooottttttttt
    To Taylor Lautner!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Taylor says:

    Janet thinks that Taylor Lautner is really hot
    Love you

  11. Lizbeth says:

    I plan on seeing movie Friday night with some girlfriends, so I was curious to see some reviews. The reason this appeals to girls and women is because it's about a love we all grew up believing in, finding a soul mate. The added fascination of the vampires makes it irresistible. (the same reason we all love Halloween) But I could never understand why on earth they would replace a formula (w/ Catherine Hardwicke) that worked beyond all expectations! They never learn, don't fix what ain't broken. The fans of this movie are not going crazy because of good special effects! I think films are overly dependent on them and unless you have a good story behind them, yawn!!! We liked the dark, intense feeling of Twilight!! Who thought we wanted it to look like every other overdone movie out there? My fear is that they are taking all the "real" magic out of this series and that's too bad. One last thing, girls- stop screeching in your comments, I don't care if you are 12 years old, articulate something or shut up. Because you love a good story doesn't mean you're brainless, it means your human. Something in this story touched millions, (and not just the teens) that is something to consider.

  12. Sheri says:

    Did you read the books?? If you would have you would know that Edward LEAVES in them, that is the whole book, it is a darker twist and NOT a romantic love story!! But then again, you think Catherine did good with Twilight, where as most of the world thinks she didn't do the book justice!! I guess that would make sense for your review!

  13. Geoff Boucher says:

    Sheri, did you read the review?

  14. Laine Denninger says:

    You really shouldn't write reviews when you have no idea what you're talking about. Read the books.

  15. India Andrews says:

    Stay strong Ken! The Twi-hards are only going to like reviewers who praise the movie. They're going to call everyone else all kinds of names.
    For the record, to all of the Twi-hards who are questioning whether or not he's seen the movie, reviewers like Mr. Turan have to see the movie. In fact, he probably saw it on Monday or at an advanced screening before Monday for reviewers and the industry.
    I'm not surprised to hear your review. I wanted them to hire Catherine Hardwicke again and take their time making the sequels to Twilight. Summit just seems more interested in making money as quickly as possible. I'm planning on seeing the movie at least once to give it a chance.

  16. Reba Knicely says:

    HAVE YOU READ THE BOOKS!!! Someone should read the books before writing a review as horribly done as yours. You did not grasp the concept of the book, Edward has to be gone in order for Bella to make the connection to Jacob. Here is how it is suppose to be done : Read the Books, Watch the movies, write the review!!! It is a simple as that.

  17. yellow says:

    new moon the book hardly had edward in it. if fans dont already know this, then they didnt read the book. i am going to see nm, but im really not pumped up for it. the book was my least favorite out of the series. i am really pumped up for eclipse though.

  18. Sheryl Nash says:

    Dead wrong, Ken. I've seen New Moon (last night) AND saw Twilight 3 times AND have read all four books multiple times. New Moon the movie is 400% better than Twilight the movie. Unlike Hardwick's version of Twilight, Weitz pretty much stuck with the book in directing New Moon, which all Twilighters will appreciate. The special effects were significantly better, as well. My only disappointment was the soundtrack. Ugh! Twilight's soundtrack was much better.

  19. allison says:

    New Moon was made right for the book readers and book die hards. That is for sure. And so they have the right mindset to be satisfied by the New Moon movie. But there are OTHERS (and millions of them also) who really was into the Edward character (and Pattinson), and so they are disappointed. But I can tell you what the problem is . . . it is not the absence of Edward (Pattinson) in the New Moon movie, but the absence of "romantic chemistry" between Kristen and Taylor as Bella and Jacob. Hey, I love the kid (Taylor) BUT the two of them don't SPARK together. That is why Summit was TRYING TO HARD to keep the two together during New Moon red carpet moments. They are trying to get put people's mindset before they go to the theaters. There are lot of disappointments going out there, but there are also a lot of die hards. So the movie will make money.

  20. nola says:

    I myself was stuck on the "prom night dance" in Twilight. So I am with you the writer of this article. But I will see New Moon after all the Twi-die hard fans have done their 3-4 watching of the film. I want to see the movie in silence, with only the adults left to see the film out of curiosity. I kind of know already that the film will be just so-so, made to placate the Twilight diehards. But I am going in to see Pattinson once again as Edward.
    Personally, I was into the Twilight movies because of Pattinson first and just because of PROM NIGHT dance ! ! ! I didn't have that kind of dance in highschool, so it was a psychological thing ! LOL

  21. Angie says:

    Ken, did you read the book new moon? This book is not as romantic as the first and "Edward" was hardly a part of it. The movie twilight was a huge success because of how great the book was. Fans wanted to see these characters come to life. The movie was an interpretation of the book, but not nearly as intense. The fans are not looking for Twilight part two; they are looking for the book new moon to come to life. New moon fans are not going to compare this movie to Twilight.

    • Eli says:

      But Edward was in Bellas heart and mind. Always.

      The book was all about Bella and Edward, about their impossibility to live without each other. The movie…eh.

  22. christine says:

    I'm sick of reading the outraged comments, "Did you read the book?" by people who are upset over the opinions of a man whose job is to REVIEW THE MOVIE. If this man had to read every book before he saw every movie that they are based on, he'd have no time to eat, sleep or bathe.
    The point of movie-reviewing is to review the movie. The fact of the matter is, the Twilight movies can be summed up just as he puts it (and worse if you want to be brutally honest with yourself. Stewart can't act and everything is forced or painful).
    The series revolves around a girl whose only point of existence revolves around a man – does she want to climb a mountain? does she want to become a doctor? does she want to help homeless children and give back to the world and make a difference? No…Edward is her life and that's going to be her life for eternity and it's dull.
    I'm married happily but even my husband and I know there's more to life than staring at each other dreamily and kissing between one-liners. That gets very boring after enough time doing it and sounding like a still-in-her-20s-old-lady, all the girls swooning over this will eventually understand what I and others mean with time and experience. The latter of which, sadly, Bella will never have.

  23. Bonni says:

    all though Catherine Hardwicke did a great job on twilight, Chris Weitz did an even more amazing job on new moon, bringing it to life like no one else, including Catherine Hardwicke could!
    Great job Chris Weitz! =]

  24. Jon Smith says:

    If your argument to Ken is "Have you read the book?" then you should not be posting.
    Ken is a film critic, not a book critic. The work has been put to film for a reason.

  25. Cynthia says:

    I saw the film last night, and i enjoyed it. I found it exponentially better than the first. The second book is about the emotional pit Bella finds herself in after Edward's departure and how Jacob rescues her from it. It's isnt supposed to be about Bella and Edward so much because you are suposed to see that Bella has other options but what pulls her toward Edward is something she has no control over. I think the film presented the book's theme very well and the acting was also much better, i found myself laughing at some of the scenes in Twilight, but not in New Moon, the tenderness between Bella's character and Jacob comes across as very sweet. I would say however that Robert's devillishness from the first film was missed in this one but it's most likely because it was missed in the book as well.

  26. holly says:

    NONONO!!! pleeease change this review. haha.
    Im a HUGE twilight-series-fan,
    and this movie was BILLION TIMES BETTER THAN CATHERINE HARDWICKE'S!!! it is WAY more in depth than the first film,
    WAY MORE DETAIL and passion shows!!!
    omg this movie makes me not even want to watch the first one ever again because its so much better!!
    ive seen it twice in past two days!!<3

  27. Liz Jakab says:

    I saw the movie last evening and I have to agree. I had a problem with the Director. I love the movie because I absolutely love the book series and the characters. But the directorship of the movie missed something. One scene was so unbelievably bad when Bella was in the water and Eward shows up upside down. I think it also missed between Bella's relationship with Jacob. Which was so important. There is a lot of information in New Moon and some important facts were left out. Maybe it needed to be longer to get the important info in.
    I am not sure why they changed directors but I think this one missed having it come alive on screen. Don't change if it's not broken. But all and all the characters are great. I also think the Kristen Stewart does a great job depicting Bella Swan. Keep up the good work.

  28. Margie says:

    The book new moon was my least favorite. It dragged and the conversations between Jacob and Bella were boring. I read the critics review before I saw the movie and what struck me immediately was that all the reviews were mentioning "Lack of Edward" and that the movie Twilight was better (which was horrible) so I quickly realized that the movie was filmed with the focus of the Twilight fans. If your not a fan then you will not appreciate this film. The first Twilight movie was on a budget and was filmed with mass audience intention so it has to be appealing to the non readers. New Moon did not do this, they stuck with the story so critics will not understand the plot. Actually, this movie was great. I left the theatre enjoying the movie version instead of the book. Enjoy it!

  29. maria says:

    This was a total dissapointment! I waited in line for 3 hours at the movie theatre to watch this movie and it sucked! I mean the parts the new actors were great and Taylor Lautner was amazing! He portraid the character of Jacob great. However, Kristen Steward was horrible! She really needs to take acting lessons!And her constant blinking and stuttering drive me nuts! Robert Pattison was also pretty bad in this movie. I know he could have done a lot better. This movie was kind of forgetable, I mean there were some really good parts and some horrible parts,however I am still a good fan. Overall, this movie was satesfactory but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAKE ECLIPSE BETTER!!

  30. Lil says:

    New Moon is a good movie – not a great one & not a "Twilight." Turan writes a fair and even review. I read the books on the recommendation of some of my younger undergrads a couple of years ago. Hardwickes direction is missed along with the quality script of Twilight. Bring Hardwicke back & give her the time to bring the movies to screen.

  31. Billy Loe says:

    New Moon i have to say was the worse movie i have ssen yet, it was slow boring and i am sorry but if you read the books you will find the film did not stay in time with events that happen in the books. My god the girl i took feel asleep in the movie that should tell you something, i would not tell anybody to spend money on this wait till it comes out on DVD then get drunk and watch it that way you can pass out……

  32. cat says:

    (apologize ahead of time for lengthy review) I think I might know where he is going with this, to a point. I don't think the movie suffers from Robert Pattinson' absence, Edward is supposed to be gone for most of the book. I don't think the movie would've been as good if Edward stuck to his promise, and critics would've trashed it for being too similar to Twilight. It was amazing because they stuck so close to the book, and I am very happy with how little they changed it, this is how New Moon is, it's not supposed to be Twilight and completely romantic, it's depressing! Catherine was good in a lot of ways for making the movie cool and a very visual adaptaion, I am not dissapointed in Chris Weitz, although I think maybe a few adjustments and it would've been better (same with Twilight). I think it was just a very strong transition to see the way Twilight was done to New Moon. I don't mind it, it was just so different because this really felt like a "movie" movie. Chris was amazing, I couldn't have been happier, (the wolves, WOW perfect!), I think the problem was it wasn't as emotional as it should've been, I found the music playing in the break up scene semi-distracting for being so loud, and I went into it expecting to cry, my eyes were watery, but I was actually more teary-eyed in the scene with the quieter "Roslyn" song by Bon Iver and St.Vincent. Good composer, but the scene is supposed to be depressing, that was very dramatic music, end of the world, it would've been way better silent, just the dialogue. Some of the movie didn't feel very emotionally-connected, I feel (reunion scene wasn't same feeling as book). I honestly have no problems besides those, I only felt like I had to comment after reading some reviews. I walked out of the theater one EXTREMELY happy camper, and not dissapointed at all:) Im excited to see it again:D (And they should've played "Slow Life" longer, perfect scene for it though)

  33. cat says:

    Plus, I just read a comment and agree, it probably has to be longer. Really, if they can make a movie like Lord of the Rings, or Troy 3+ hours long, why can't the twilight movies be longer? People WILL sit through it and it won't be slow. At least then we will walk out of the movie feeling fullfilled over, "Wow that seemed so fast". (I've had many conversations over how fast the movies seemed). Also, I've also hated "The Twilight saga: ___" titles. People know it's a Twilight movie, and Harry potter has those titles bcuz those are the actual book titles, "New Moon" is way better. Besides people call it New Moon anyways

  34. themothchase says:

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed Edward's absence in the movie, perhaps because I really loved Jacob's warm, somewhat cocky, sense of humor. Sure, it's not the stuff of true love (at least not true love as we are supposed to see it with Bella and Edward), but there is a whole different kind of chemistry between Bella and Jacob that is based on something like equality and humor. Jacob kind of annoyed me in the books – a bit possessive and grumpy – but I found myself a little let down when Edward stepped, paler than ever, from the shadows of the clock tower.
    I have more thoughts on the movie at http://themothchase.wordpress.com and I'd love your feedback!

  35. chrissy says:

    i dont care if robert pattinson was in it at all! he is so ugly & nasty, & atleast jacob's abs are real!!

  36. Tonikka says:

    I seen New Moon Friday and I thought it was great. I enjoyed this film alot better then the first movie that came out. I thought the Director did a very good job of recreating the book, and I hope he continues to do the other movies as well. The first movie was jumbled up, if you hadn't read the book you wouldn't have been able to follow the movie. With New Moon, you can follow whats going on, I enjoyed it very much and I can't wait til the next too see next one..

  37. Maya Smith says:

    i am a new moon fan and i loved it. I read the books and i felt that the movie followed the book exactly how a twilight fan like me would apprecitate the story. If Robert Pattinson was in it more than he appeared it would ruin the movie because edward didnt appear in the book throught the whole story. New moon is mainly about Bella and Jacob's relationship not Bella and Edward's like Twilight. So i felt that even thought there was a new director he made the movie the movie in a way that it was interesting to see the book come to life. New Moon was perfectly done and i will watch it again and again.

  38. DJ says:

    This review is spot on. I have read the books and this was such a drawn out book second only to Breaking Dawn. The books are by no means the best written books in the world. I did enjoy them though. The movie in my oppinion was far worse than Twilight, and not because Edward wasnt in it. The drawn out scenes of Bella screaming, Jacob Black taking his shirt off waaay too many times(all that did was make the tweens scream). I believe the director had way too much power in the movie, adding and removing plot as was seen fit. Anyways im going on and on… Books are always better than movies so dont get too dissapointed. The movie did what it was intended, Brought millions of dollars to Summit, and made tons of little girls scream…

  39. Annamarie Bosco says:

    I honestly have to say that this movie was actually WORSE than the first. The acting was HORRIBLE[example: Bella's dream? Was she posessed by a DEMON?]. Robert Patterson was voted "the best actor of 2009", and the only reason wy was because all the teenage girls are blinded by his "good looks". There was a pun about a dog/wolf every other sentenc(not even good ones). Victoria just vanishes, I am sorry, this was by far one of the WORST MOVIES I've EVER seen. And as I see, this is the only negative review. If you liked the books, I don't know how you can be happy with the movie.

  40. Madeline says:

    Robert for best actor of our time.

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