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Studies in Screenwriting: Twilight: New Moon

New Moon's midnight opening broke box office records
New Moon's midnight opening broke box office records

The phenomenon that is Twilight continued on November 20, with 'New Moon' opening in theaters across the country.  Once again, the franchise has succeeded in making a faithful adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's smash hit novels.  Let's take a moment to discuss what makes the screenplay work so well.

One thing the writer and film makers did well was their use of transitions.  In one scene, Bella sits in front of a window, heartbroken, and watches months go by as the camera spins around her and each time the window comes into view it's a different month and the scenery has changed.  It's a unique way to accomplish the task of passage of time in a script, keeping it visually interesting and showing you can always find a new way to do an old trick.

The story is a difficult one to adapt, because like other films in the middle of a series (Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers) it's kind of Act Two of a larger story.  But New Moon does a good job of providing a self contained storyline while still pursuing the arc of the overall series.  The development of the relationship triangle between Jacob, Bella, and Edward is well crafted, creating real depth in the connection between Bella and Jacob, and capturing the gratitude Edward feels for Jacob and the contempt Jacob feels for Edward.  It's a good example of characterization in film where there are no black and white side, each character has good and bad traits.  It's an important thing to remember and emulate when trying to construct people to populate your story that will connect with readers and moviegoers.

Another thing the film accomplishes is the main reason it's such a huge success.  The blend of romance and action adventure.  The Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle is perfectly executed, with the blend of music, performances and moving, realistic dialogue combining to create a hypnotic effect on moviegoers.  Add to this the action sequences of battle between werewolves and vampires, vampires and other vampires, and even a high speed race against time to save Edward, and the Twilight series satisfies a number of different types of fans.

I highly recommend the movie for it's entertainment value and also as an excellent study for writers who can  learn how to blend multiple genres and who want to see a complicated romance handled perfectly.