I left the theater smiling.
Last year, when Twilight hit theaters and I took a half-day from work and my mom drove 2 hours to meet me to see a late-afternoon showing, I was too excited for words. But 2 hours later, I wanted to enroll in film school so I could be a director and do a re-make. I couldn't understand how the main focus of the book (how Bella and Edward fell in love) could be nothing more than a few minutes of cut scenes and no dialogue. I could overlook the horrible special effects and the not-so-good acting if only I could believe that Bella and Edward were in love and not just infatuated with each other. In short, Twilight made me mad.
So why would I go through an almost-identical process exactly one year later? Why have my mom drive down and go see New Moon on opening weekend? Well, for one, I'm an optimist (actually, I'm more of a cynic, but I like to pretend I'm better than that). I also knew that a new director had been hired (Chris Weitz) and so I was hopeful that most of my previous issues would be dealt with. And finally, I really like the story, and I want to see it in living color.
I was not disappointed.
My hat goes off to Mr. Weitz. While I know the larger budget helped (especially in things like fixing the terrible special effects when it came to the sparkles and the running - the wolves and the fast movement still needs a bit of improvement, but overall it was much better), it was his directing that pulled this saga around. The characters were developed (and acted better!), the plot stayed true to the book, and it made sense. Like my cousin Sarah, I like the addition of Bella emailing Alice so the information you would normally only get from reading the book was translated into the movie. I also liked how they kept the passage of time after Edward left consistent with how it was in the book: the novel includes blank pages with only the name of the month written on it to indicate that Bella's life during this time was empty. The movie incorporated that by spinning around Bella looking out the window, so you could see the passage of time by seeing the world change around her, and the name of the month was printed on the screen. In fact, this movie kept so close to the story in the book, I think that sets some sort of record.
Of course there were some differences (there was more of a fight in Volterra, for instance), but it all flowed together so well that I really didn't notice. And that, my friends, is how you keep the diehard fans happy.