Some really good concerns have been raised about the Twilight series. Most of them have at least some degree of validity—leads without personalities, a female character who doesn’t do anything but get rescued, stalking, and the general nationwide madness over a poorly-executed story (both in writing and in film) that suggests that something is simply not quite right, particularly in the minds of teen girls.
Is it still enjoyable? Sure. I love a good werewolf tale as much as the next person (the vampires in this series are pretty boring, however, as is the lead), and will concede that entertainment is just that—entertainment—and though it might not be the best influence on teens, it doesn’t have to be by definition. How many other crappy teen books and movies, after all, are out there that don’t provide anything but a sappy love story?
That said, a blogger who’s never read the books recently raised a few issues to my attention about the New Moon movie—issues that seem more serious in nature than whether or not Bella can do anything other than simply stand there.
First, there’s the issue of heroics. When you have a story with heroes—namely Edward, Bella, and Jacob in this one, I guess—they’re supposed to like, do good things and stuff. You know—protect people from harm, not condone murder, that sort of thing. And from Twilight, we know that Edward’s little clan don’t eat humans and dine on bears and deer and whatever other furry things they can find. That’s all well and good…
But what about the vampires that are eating humans? A few nomadic ones enter the scene and the Cullens don’t seem to give a damn until Bella ends up on the menu. In New Moon, when a gaggle of tourists become dinner for the Volturi—including a couple of children—Edward instructs Bella to simply turn away because there’s tragically nothing that can be done. Bella is so much more worth saving than all of these people, of course. In any other story, this blogger pointed out, the heroes would be vilified for such behavior—but since they’re in wuv, it’s just supposed to be ok then?
And then there’s the concept of domestic violence. Jacob warns Bella that he doesn’t want to hurt her—why? Because Sam’s girlfriend ended up with a slashed up face because he “got mad” and lost control. Isn’t that what an abusive angry spouse does? And what does a werewolf do to apologize for such behavior—bring a bunch of wild roses in his jowls prior to his monthly moonlight bath? I don’t buy it. It’s okay that Sam clawed Emily because he lost control—how is this any different from an angry partner?
These are great points which are, at least to me, much heavier and in need of discussion than the normal Twilight pratter. Yes, Bella might be teaching young girls to be a doormat (in fact, she does get more of a heroic role later in the series, though it’s constantly questionable)—but her companions are also teaching that it’s okay to let people die and be “accidentally” abused. Hopefully those aren’t the messages that young teen girls are taking home with them after the sixth midnight screamfest viewing of New Moon.