Making the Grades
There may be nothing, save Christmas, that has had so many females (and movie theater owners) counting the sleeps until its arrival. Luckily for them, the opening of Twilight Saga - The New Moon is like an early peek under the tree.
In the year since the release of the original Twilight blockbuster (which, as of April 2009 has grossed $191,465,414, according to imdb.com), the media hubbub swirling around the movie’s stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart has hardly cooled. However, the next installment of this moneymaking machine promises to extend the hype to another cast member, Taylor Lautner, who portrays a muscular, alternative romantic interest in this story.
After moving to the cloudy Washington coast to live with her estranged father (Billy Burke), Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) fell in love with the reclusive Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), only to discover his secret. (For anyone who might have miraculously missed this revelation from the first film, the pale-faced boy who eschews the sunshine like the plague, is a vampire.) Within weeks of meeting him, Bella is throwing herself at Edward, trying to convince the bloodsucker to bite her neck so she can rid herself of the unhappy mortal existence she lives and become one of the undead with him. Fortunately, he appears to have more sense than the lovesick girl and manages to resist her insistent pleas.
As this film opens, their relationship has jeopardized the safety of Edward’s family, especially after a simple paper cut almost causes a feeding frenzy at Bella’s birthday party. In order to protect themselves and Bella, the Cullens pack up and move to an undisclosed location. Their sudden departure leaves Bella staring listlessly out the window during the day and screaming out in her sleep at night. Only after months of depressive behavior, which should have sent her father searching for some serious medical or psychological intervention, does Bella finally find comfort in the buff embrace of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Yet he too is hounded by a dark secret, which hardly makes him a better alternative.
Without extensive discourse, the dialogue-challenged film relies on lengthy pregnant pauses punctuated by stammering conversations and camera shots that repeatedly pan around the characters, to convey much of the emotional angst in this story. There’s that and the pining, wistful stares that pass between the individuals on screen. The action does pick up near the end of the film when Edward approaches the vampire’s ruling body, known as the Volturi, with a death wish. Their denial causes him to take more drastic action that will force the hand of the leaders. And unfortunately, he’s not the only one who considers suicide as an option to avoid heartache.
However, after watching Bella sulk her way through another script, completely incapable of dealing with the rocky nature of young love, I’m left to conclude that the film’s charm for most fans must lie with the guys and not the heroine. It appears that for the faithful followers, this wildly popular saga is harmless escapism, a chance to gush over the exposed pecs on screen. But for other audience members, those who struggle with obsessive tendencies, Bella’s fixation on something that threatens not only to harm, but also kill her, is troubling. (Substitute her infatuation for Edward with a fascination for the drug culture or a compulsive eating disorder or a passion for a boy who routinely drinks and drives, and suddenly the plot isn’t quiet so entertaining.)
While this storyline of star-crossed lovers isn’t new—Romeo and Juliet being a classic example—most parents likely wouldn’t want their own daughters involved in a relationship that includes a dagger, or in this case, the necessity for a death-inducing nibble on the neck.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Twilight Saga— New Moon.
How closely does this movie plot follow the book? Why do screenwriters often have to make changes for film adaptations? How does storytelling differ between novels and the big screen?
Which characters in this film do you find to be the most interesting? What traits do you appreciate about them? How do you think males and females might interpret this movie differently?
Do you think Bella is a young woman who demonstrates the ability to make her own choices, or is she too influenced by the men in her life? How are we able to know when we are making decisions for ourselves as opposed to making choices to simply please someone else?