The Twilight Saga: New Moon
By John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service
There is something at once reassuring and sad in the
fervor with which its target audience of tween and teen girls will
undoubtedly greet the lovelorn Gothic romance sequel The Twilight
Saga: New Moon (Summit), at least to judge by the squealingly
delighted reaction of such viewers at a recent preview screening.
Their enthusiasm is reassuring because this latest chapter in
the love story of well-mannered vampire Edward Cullen (Robert
Pattinson) and mortal high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart)
is—like its 2008 predecessor Twilight—remarkable for the
innocence of their interaction. (Edward fears that temptations of the
flesh, if indulged beyond the occasional kiss, might give way to
temptations of the blood.)
What makes it sad is the thought of how rare the portrayal of
such a restrained relationship has become, even in entertainment aimed
at the young. And then, of course, there's the fact that it takes an
occult contrivance to compel and enforce the couple's chastity.
Though behaving themselves when together, in fact, Edward and
Bella spend most of their time apart in director Chris Weitz's
adaptation of the second book in Stephenie Meyer's best-selling series
of young-adult novels. That's because, early on, Bella has a slight
accident involving a bit of bleeding that sends the less controlled
members of the undead clan with which Edward lives, especially the
ever-predatory Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), into a dangerous frenzy.
Appalled, Edward feigns a change of heart, breaks off their
relationship, and disappears. Disconsolate Bella eventually turns to
her American Indian friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) for solace.
But, in addition to wanting to be more than mere pals, Jacob has a
supernatural secret of his own: He's inherited the gene that turns some
members of his tribe, when provoked, into werewolves.
And who are the werewolves' mortal enemies? Why, vampires,
naturally. So, as the picturesque proceeding sweep from the misty
Northwest of Bella's hometown of Forks, Wash., to the sunny hills of
Tuscany, the sighing, gazing and moping are interrupted by some
intermittent violence as outsized battles flare between superhuman
Along the way, Bella's pleas to be transformed into a
blood-sucker—thereby resolving her dilemma and allowing her to
remain with Edward forever—lead to a hazy discussion about the
possible loss of her soul. Edward, we learn, believes that all his
kind, no matter how courtly, are damned, though precisely what that
means Melissa Rosenberg's script never tarries long enough to explore
or explain. There's also a brief exchange about the origins of Jacob's
problem that echoes, presumably for humorous effect, the debate about
the origins of homosexual orientation.
The film contains considerable action violence, a vague sexual
reference and at least one mildly crass term. The USCCB Office for Film
& Broadcasting classification is A-II—adults and adolescents.
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents
strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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