New Moon, psychological horror


New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, is an entertaining, if bizarre, movie.

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is turning eighteen and is deeply disturbed by the fact that her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) will remain seventeen for eternity. While most people can push fears about their mortality off into the distant future, she has a constant reminder of her own aging. After Bella gets a paper cut and sends one of the Cullen clan into a frenzy, Edward fears the danger she's in and finds the first excuse he can to skip town and avoid contact with her. While he's gone, Bella starts to grow closer to her friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). A vengeful vampire is also lurking about, apparently wanting to kill Bella while her protectors the Cullens are gone.

I was unmoved by the romance between Bella and Edward, finding the Cullens in general to be an odd mix of boring and creepy. However, as the psychological aspects of the film became more obvious I really started to get into it.

First of all, there's Edward. He starts the movie by talking about how he envies humans because it's so easy for them to kill themselves. He describes to Bella his plans on how he would commit suicide if he decided to do it and seems to relish the thought. His self-loathing disgust is evident in nearly every scene. In fact, now that he has known her love, his only reason for living is Bella. This is not a well-balanced man, even by vampiric standards.

Then, we have Bella. When Edward leaves, the film seems to imply that she spends three or four months sitting in a chair while slack-jawed staring out a window. She's also haunted by nightmares that make her wake up screaming. The kicker is when she starts to hallucinate visions of Edward whenever she's doing something dangerous and so begins actively seeking out dangerous situations so that she can see him again. With Stewart's almost painful lack of affect in every scene, I dared to hope that perhaps this wasn't bad acting but had been a deliberate and brilliant choice in portraying a paranoid schizophrenic.

The best is Jacob, though. You see, Jacob has been going through some changes since the first film and they mimic puberty in a most intriguing way. He's put on massive amounts of muscle, which is remarked on immediately by Bella. He's also becoming more aggressive. It could all simply be the hormonal fluctuations of adolescence, but it isn't. That strange moodiness and sudden buffness lead to him going out for a fashionable new hairstyle, getting a tattoo, and hanging out with a bunch of other guys while they're all shirtless and wearing tiny denim cutoffs. Oh, and they're also often wet and wrestling with one another and they disappear into the woods for mysterious activities.

It's so obvious, isn't it? Jacob's a werewolf.

At one point after Bella has discovered this fact, she asks Jacob what the other werewolves have "done" to him. He insists, "I was born this way!" She goes on to ask him if he could try not being a werewolf or something ham handed like that and he explains that this is simply how he is. And then, the mother of all anvils came crashing down on my skull in the theatre:

Bella: I don't care what you are. It's what you do.

If the Cullens are metaphorical Mormons, then the werewolves are their nemeses: the homosexuals.

It seems as though there was a major misfire in the making of this movie. While in a book it's easy to idealize Edward as Bella's beautiful one true love, after spending two hours staring at buff, half-naked Native American boys who are all quite happy, it was a disappointing shock to see Edward again. With his alabaster skin, pouting red lips, teased hair, and tiny frame he seemed effeminate and whiny instead of tragic.

There were a few major plot holes that had me wincing. The climactic scene hinges on the fact that Bella is special and is immune to vampiric powers, except that within the first ten minutes of the movie a vampire uses his powers to influence her emotions. Another problem is that the vampire that's out to get Bella never goes looking for her and instead just wanders around killing random people until by pure accident the vampire ends up in the same place as her. And finally, the strangest, is how can a vampire who goes into a frenzy over the blood from a paper cut manage to stay under control when he spends all day in a high school where paper cuts are very likely and there are no doubt dozens of girls menstruating at any moment?

The plotting could obviously use a lot of work, though I imagine those are flaws incorporated directly from the books. The moping of Edward and Bella's slack-jawed poker face don't at all appeal, but between the hot werewolves and the many unintentionally comedic moments it's plenty entertaining.

Comments

Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
If the Cullens are metaphorical Mormons, then the werewolves are their nemeses: the homosexuals.
I think that was mostly Rosenberg (who wrote the script). Meyer's werewolves were more metaphorical of just plain growing up. It's not until you have the visuals (half naked, wet, very physical with eachother) and the lines you quoted that you have the gay parallel.

Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
There were a few major plot holes that had me wincing. The climactic scene hinges on the fact that Bella is special and is immune to vampiric powers, except that within the first ten minutes of the movie a vampire uses his powers to influence her emotions. Another problem is that the vampire that's out to get Bella never goes looking for her and instead just wanders around killing random people until by pure accident the vampire ends up in the same place as her. And finally, the strangest, is how can a vampire who goes into a frenzy over the blood from a paper cut manage to stay under control when he spends all day in a high school where paper cuts are very likely and there are no doubt dozens of girls menstruating at any moment?
First, that bothered me when I was reading the books, as Meyer [I]never[I] addresses why Jasper's power works on Bella when none of the other direct effect powers (mind reading, psychic pain, cutting off of senses) work on her at all.

If I remember right, Alice's power (visions of the future) only work because she sees the effect of Bella's decisions. It doesn't work on the werewolves because they're "not stable." They're more instinctive, so they don't always go through the same decision making process as other people.

Second, before the Cullens left, Bella was under their protection, so Victoria (the vampire out to get Bella) was looking for a way around Alice and the first few werewolves. She sent Laurent, who'd endeared himself to the Cullens in the first book, to check things out for her, which is why she isn't actually seen until later in the movie.

As for the menstrual blood, that's also not in the books, but Meyer addressed it in an interview for one of the fan sites. Apparently, menstrual blood has a different quality (she calls it "dead blood," I think) so it's unappealing to vampires.

...yes, I know it's a little sad that I know this stuff.

Quote Originally posted by 0ut0fMyHead View post
I think that was mostly Rosenberg (who wrote the script). Meyer's werewolves were more metaphorical of just plain growing up. It's not until you have the visuals (half naked, wet, very physical with eachother) and the lines you quoted that you have the gay parallel.
Hey, I'm not complaining. I didn't mind watching those boys one little bit.

Thanks for the attempt at explaining those plot holes, at least. I'm dissatisfied with the blood one (people are accidentally bleeding small amounts all the time), but the bit about Victoria makes sense at least.

Jasper being able to influence Bella's emotions is a major problem, though, and it appears to show up throughout the books so this wasn't a one time goof. I know you're a fan, but frankly, I just don't think they're very good writing.

However, I must say this: true love be damned. Look at those abs.