I saw New Moon last night with my two bffs in a theater packed with females. (Case in point: When Jacob first took off his shirt, the gasps and sighs were louder than the movie.) Reviews about the movie have been mixed. I was surprised to see Entertainment Weekly give it a B+, but other reviewers have said the movie was slow. It was a touch slow, but so was the book. However, the second book plays a very important role in the series. The werewolves have to be entered into the story somehow and there has to be set up for the love triangle between Jacob, Edward and Bella.
I thought the movie was very well done actually. You could instantly tell there was more money to work with this time around. When I first saw the previews, I wasn't sure about the werewolves - I couldn't tell how big they were. But watching the movie, I thought they were actually perfect. They were huge and they were scary, but you could also see the cuddliness of the humans on the inside. I'm glad they weren't depicted like the werewolves in Harry Potter, which are more based in fantasy and very creepy. All the main actors have wonderful chemistry with each other, and once again (as reviewed from last year), Bella's dad just makes the movie. Billy Burke was fabulous. One disappointment however is Victoria. I think Rachelle Lefevre does a fabulous and beautiful job as bad vampiress Victoria in both Twilight and New Moon (if I could only have hair like that!), and while I do enjoy Bryce Dallas Howard, I think it's a mistake to change the actress in the third movie.
The theme that really stuck out to me throughout the movie was male aggression. It makes me wonder about the men in Stephanie Meyer's life. Does she know many aggressive men? Maybe not. Maybe Edward and Jacob's anger and angst is based on pent up teenage emotions, but I don't think so. After all, Edward is far from a teenager. I found it interesting that several times during the movie, when the men become angry they turn into their worst part (and they warn people, too: "don't make me angry," "I might not be able to control myself"). Is this a message that all men have a monster (vampire) or an animal (werewolf) inside of them? A part of them that they always have to work to control so as not to maim or attack loved ones or potential competitors? And are females always supposed to put up with it, always supposed to be the caretakers who reassure the males that they're worthy and that everything is going to be OK?
This isn't a criticism of the book, but an observation of how the gender roles are portrayed. (I can only imagine the awesome Women Studies classes out there using these books as resources!) While I do believe the series of books is about Bella's journey...and self denial, and good and evil...I think it's just as much about the journey of Edward and Jacob becoming the men they're supposed to be. And as in real life, it usually takes a woman to help a man figure it out. :)