Bella wakes from a nightmare clutching William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo & Juliet in the opening moments of New Moon, and we are instantly reminded that “this ain’t Shakespeare.” We are also reminded of the fact that no subtlety is allowed in a movie like this, so the next scene further explains this film’s connection to the iconic play.
What’s interesting is that the Romeo in this movie is not Edward, the dashing hundred year old man who loves a teenager, but Jacob, the muscle-bound superhero who is somehow an amalgamation of every single Native American stereotype in the world. The first, and perhaps most offensive, part of Jacob’s personality is that he is actually a savage beast who roams the woods. The second is that he calls dreamcatchers “ancient Native American relics” when they are, in fact, creations of the pan-Indian movement of the 1960s.
Jacob is young. Too young for Bella, who turns eighteen at the beginning of the film, and we start to realize what is happening in Stephenie Meyer’s “Saga.” It’s the same thing that was happening before, but now it’s even stranger. Now it’s more dangerous. Not just to Bella, who is a terrible excuse for a heroine, but for the young girls watching the movie. Let’s dissect Bella as a character. As a creation of Stephenie Meyer.
Bella is clumsy and weak and fickle. She can barely get a sentence out of her mouth without stammering or letting her anxiety cut her off. When she’s alone and single, her entire life disintegrates. She spends months and months wearing the same clothes, listening to the same song, and crying. She writes diary entries to an e-mail address that clearly no longer exists. She sits alone in the cafeteria. Without a man in her life, she is an empty shell. Just a body without meaning or direction.
And to fix this problem, she doesn’t find a hobby or a friend or a therapist. She finds a man who is clearly a rapist, gets on his bike because it’s a bad idea, and then waits for her ex-boyfriend, who is miles and miles away, to save her. And he does!
This gives Bella an idea. Maybe she should almost die more often. At least that way she’ll see her man some more. Because even though he dumped her and moved out of town, he’ll still be around to save her when serious injury is in store.
What the Hell kind of message is that for thirteen year old girls who are probably going through their first breakup right now? “Don’t worry fragile, insecure young girls who just experienced your first heartbreak. Just attempt to kill yourself. He’ll come back, then!”
As if that wasn’t enough bad advice from the most popular teen franchise this side of Harry Potter, Bella also uses a sixteen year old boy in a man’s body to get over her pain, with no real interest in loving him or staying with him. This is made clear from the very beginning, as she flirts with him and uses him so that he can build her a free motorcycle that she can kill herself on. The whole point of building the motorcycle is to get Edward back, but she knows that in the process this impressionable sixteen year old boy is falling in love with her.
How do I know she knows? Because in the world of The Twilight Saga, every boy in the universe wants to go out with Bella. Just ask Mike, who asks Bella out literally seconds after she speaks to him for the first time in a year.
The first Twilight might be an old-fashioned movie that seems to be about nineteen-fifties courting and the male gaze, but New Moon is actually dangerous to young girls looking for a way to react to their first heartbreaks. I wouldn’t be so offended if the demographic for these movies was twenty-somethings, but it’s not. The demographic is exactly the kind of person that will try this method out in the hopes of succeeding.
They may not jump off of a cliff, but they may cut themselves. Or take too many pills. Or go out with a boy they know is dangerous. I tried to play nice with the first movie, and give it the benefit of the doubt, but the message of this movie only solidifies what I suspected about the first film.
These movies are, like Mitt Romney, harping on the most progressive themes of the nineteen-forties. There is not a single strong, independent, believable, and intelligent woman in this movie. But there are plenty of thin women. In fact, not one woman has even one extra pound.
What is this movie? What is its purpose? Is it actively trying to make thirteen year old girls hate themselves? Is this Stephenie Meyer’s attempt to get back at the girls who had boyfriends during her awkward teenage years? Is she creating a world in her books that makes popular kids want to hurt themselves?
Actually…that sounds about right.
Like Frances Ford Coppola’s screenplay for Patton, he takes a beloved American general and uses a broad, patriotic movie to embed a viciously anti-war and anti-nationalistic message. What begins as a safe, American film ends as a scary, left-wing message of violence and pride and anger.
And, like New Moon, the wrong people liked it. New Moon seems to be a movie that showcases the idiocy of teenage girls and their terrible decisions. It seems to come from a female novelist who just happens to hate women. Or maybe it’s just beautiful women. And the young women that she’s trying to alienate and teach a lesson to are loving it.
Like Patton, a movie that right-wing World War II veterans cannot get enough of. Even though it’s a strong, hateful indictment of a man that they love.
However, despite all of the painful, strange, dangerous things in this movie, I can’t help but simultaneously respect it visually and musically. It’s a pretty gorgeously photographed movie in comparison to Hardwicke’s original, and the soundtrack is eerily perfect. Which just makes my job harder.
See you in the Eclipse tomorrow…